Philadelphia’s largest fine art venue has, over the past decade, become one of the city’s premiere performing arts presenters. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, it’s attracting audiences with its wide variety of presentations.
When the Philadelphia Museum of Art began presenting jazz and small ensemble classical concerts in the '90s, it was mostly to help create a more lively atmosphere for patrons to view the art on the walls when the museum stayed open late on Wednesday nights. In 2001, the museum expanded its evening hours to include Friday nights. And in 2004, the Art After 5 program officially launched, with weekly performances scheduled every Friday evening.
Art After 5 is now a local institution with a unique identity. It still fulfills its role in attracting new audiences, but it’s also become a source of new music, commissioning work related to special exhibitions and its permanent collections from nationally renowned composers and musicians such as Stanley Cowell and David Liebman.
With the gradual disappearance of smoky jazz clubs and neighborhood music bars, Art After 5 has taken on a more important role for musicians and fans alike, says Sara Moyn, producer of evening programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She’s been happy to use the artistic license the venue presents to test the boundaries of what audiences might want.