It’s easy to think of art museum events as belonging to a certain class, but Art on the Rocks proves that isn’t so. In fact, the Birmingham Museum of Art has proved itself a hip destination and a place to connect with arts beyond the visual. The secret to their success? Making the museum stand in for a great night out, while offering the kind of ambience no mere venue can match.
The art museum’s grand, modernist facade is a statement piece befitting Birmingham’s downtown center. At the edge of Linn Park, it has a presence to rival the courthouse and a similar level of stature in the community. For a long time, though, the art museum was only a city-wide institution, not a neighborhood one. These days it’s becoming a strong example of both, and we’re convinced that’s where its future lies.
If you’ve never attended Art On The Rocks, the museum describes it thusly: “Featuring the best of Birmingham culture, Art On The Rocks collaborates with local artists, downtown businesses, and breakthrough musical guests to offer three Friday nights of art, performances, giveaways, food, and drinks.”
This year, though, they’re upping the ante. Besides their classic formula of after-hours art and live music, they’ve given us more reasons to attend this year: sneak peeks at a new exhibit, food truck eats, VIP access, and a next-generation photo booth. We’ve even partnered with them to keep the party going (#AfterRocks) and bring it back toward our craft cocktail end of the neighborhood.
Vibrant events like these need new draws of course, but they also need points of continuity. We talked about Dave’s as a timeless anchor in Five Points, and we think the museum is a great example of that effect downtown. The Birmingham natives among us grew up with this museum, but we’re also seeing it grow with us.
The BMA has managed the tightrope walk of adapting its methods without losing sight of its mission. And that is no small feat. We know we’ve already praised them for making art matter, but it bears repeating. We think art museums make great neighbors.