Free First Thursday Nights invite the Montclair Art Museum’s (MAM’s) entire community to enjoy a night out at the Museum the first Thursday of the month (October–June) from 5 to 9 p.m. The programming includes a dynamic mix of free admission, a full-service bar, live music, and a variety of activities. Offerings change on a monthly basis, providing something new to see and do at every First Thursday Night. The November 5 Free First Thursday Night will feature a curator-led tour, a presentation by Uniform Justice: The Montclair Project, the announcement of the winners of the TD Bank Children’s Art Contest, and a new Kids’ Creativity Center drop-off children’s workshop. Free First Thursday Nights are made possible by TD Bank.
TD Bank sponsored a children’s art contest at MAM, inspired by the Museum’s current special exhibition Eric Carle: Animals and Friends, which invited children in grades K–5 to draw their friend. Submissions were collected from the opening of the exhibition on September 12 through the October 1 Free First Thursday Night. The winners are: for K–2, 1st place Lauren Chung (Paramus) and 2nd place Clara McCrum (Cranford); for 3–5, 1st place Nico McClendon (Montclair) and 2nd place Katie Chung (Paramus). The winning entries will be celebrated at the November Free First Thursday Night with an award ceremony and display and then exhibited at the Montclair branch of TD Bank. Winners will also receive a prize pack from TD Bank and the Montclair Art Museum.
The Montclair Art Museum will also host Uniform Justice: The Montclair Project at Free First Thursday Night. The presentation at 7 p.m. will include an introduction to the project created by Intersections International to improve relationships between police departments and the communities they serve, performances by the combined choirs of Union Congregational Church and Union Baptist Church and by Passing Notes, Montclair High School’s a cappella group, and community dialogue about future possibilities around Uniform Justice's Community Police Training and Enrichment Program in Montclair and its associated performance piece.
Free First Thursday Night tours are offered every hour on the half hour: 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. This month, each tour will have a different theme. The 5:30 p.m. tour will highlight the Museum’s current special exhibition Eric Carle: Animals and Friends. At 6:30 p.m. Chief Curator Gail Stavitsky will lead a focused look at a selection of the works in the Work and Leisure in American Art exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection. And finally, the 7:30 p.m. tour will honor Native American History Month with a look at the newest installations in Rand Gallery.
Free First Thursday Night staples include a full-service bar, live music, the Yard School of Art Draw Along Workshop, and food trucks. The Art Bar at MAM is now in partnership with Upstairs bar and restaurant and features signature cocktails, wine, and NJ Beer Co. beer at special Free First Thursday Night prices. Museum members receive a discount on all drinks at the bar. Live music that evening will include performances by the Silver Foxes Songs Quartet. The Yard School of Art Draw Along Workshop offers a free session with a clothed model every Free First Thursday Night. New this fall, guests can also relax with complimentary chair massages courtesy of Wolke Chiropractic. The featured food truck in November will be Empanada Guy.
New this November, MAM is offering a drop-off children’s workshop—Kids’ Creativity Center. Parents can appreciate the full experience of Free First Thursday Night while children engage in an age-appropriate art project in the Yard School of Art studios. During this drop-off workshop, kids will learn to use fine art materials while parents enjoy an enriching and relaxing evening in MAM's galleries. Led by MAM's experienced art educators, activities in the Kids' Creativity Center will be inspired, seasonal, whimsical, and fun! One hour time slots are available at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Advance registration is encouraged online at montclairartmuseum.org. Member price is $20 per child and nonmember price is $25 per child; limited discounted combo packages are available for multiple children.
Free First Thursday Nights run October through June. There will be no Free First Thursday Night in January due to construction. For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming Free First Thursday Nights, visit montclairartmuseum.org/free-first-thurs-nights.