Thursday, June 6, 2013

In the Mix

Strobe lights, loud music and plentiful mixed drinks transform the usually clean-cut atrium of the  Cleveland Museum of Art into a nightclub for one evening every month.

"It’s one of the only places you can go for a happy hour, to hear music, and be in this spectacular space," says Charity D'Amato, founder of the design studio Chartreuse. "It’s not just a bar you’re going to ... it is this large museum with very recognizable works of art that you can go and sort of hang out with."

The art museum hosts Mix events the first Friday of every month, each with a different theme ranging from masquerade balls to the apocalypse. All in one night, guests can cut loose on the disco-ball-adorned dance floor, unwind at the cocktail bar and peruse the galleries of centuries-old works as they please.

"It's about getting people into the galleries in a relaxed setting,"says Aaron Petersal, director of membership and visitor experience at the museum.

Since the museum started hosting the event last October, it has steadily been growing, now drawing more than 1,200 people each month.

The theme for the next event on June 7 is Mix: Connections, highlighting the relationship between the CMA and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. To show how modern artists are influenced by those of the past, you’ll get to see contemporary artist Kate Gilmore’s work compared to her inspiration, Jackson Pollock. Gilmore’s work is currently on display at MOCA, but there will also be a live rendering of her performance art piece Hold on Her at CMA.

Get the best of both museums with a free trolley that runs all night. Take in electronic artists Radio People at MOCA and check out other artworks on display as part of the museum's own WtF (Welcome to Friday) series. Keep the music going back over at CMA, where DJs Charles McGraw and Darrick Grant will spin funk and soul records until 9 p.m.

The connections theme trickles into the cocktail menu with custom blends such as Rusty Nails, a Scotch-based drink to pair with a piece on display at the museum by Damian Ortega titled Controller of the Universe, featuring carpentry and gardening tools suspended in mid-air.

D'Amato attended one of her first Mix events in November and has been back for a few times since then. "It was just a cool way of gathering young professionals who are interested in art on a Friday night and kicking off the weekend," she says.

Members to either museum can attend the happy hour for free.  Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Call 216-421-7350 or visit for tickets.

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