Enjoy a night out at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) with free general admission, live music, art activities and tours, dynamic seasonal programming, and a full-service bar at Free First Thursday Night, May 4, 5–9 p.m.! The Museum is grateful to TD Bank for making another year of Free First Thursday Nights possible.

The May event spotlights Matisse and American Art, the Montclair Art Museum’s highly acclaimed special exhibition on the relationship between French master Henri Matisse and American artists. A special exhibition fee of $6 applies for this exhibition; members and children see it free! The first 50 people at the May and June Free First Thursday Nights will receive complimentary special exhibition admission courtesy of TD Bank. Arrive early to beat the crowd—to ensure the best viewing experience, capacity is limited within the exhibition space.

Free First Thursday Night features several ways to take a deeper dive into the exhibition, including roaming docents available to provide more information on the art on view, and a 6:30 p.m. tour of the complementary exhibition Janet Taylor Pickett: The Matisse Series.

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Free First Thursday Night also celebrates all the arts, from books and poetry and music. Don’t miss MAM’s May special features:

  • Every Story Matters, Buzz Aldrin Middle School’s 2nd Annual Poetry Slam at 6 p.m.
  • Empowered Design book signing with Blanche Garcia, interior designer and entrepreneur
  • Art Talk with watercolorist and Yard School of Art instructor Sharon Pitts at 7 p.m.
  • Montclair State University MFA Student K. Anthony Lawler will present an interactive installation, From Silence. Visitors will get a glimpse inside their own brains by working with an EEG machine to convert brainwaves into a soundscape.
  • Live contemporary jazz music in the galleries provided by guitarist, composer, and teacher Nat Janoff
  • Yard School of Art Draw Along Workshop, a free session with a clothed model and guided art instruction with Julian Tejera

This month, MAM is also collecting handbags for Jersey Battered Women’s Services, a full-service domestic violence and domestic abuse prevention agency in Morristown. Handbags will be given to residents and used in the upcoming Old Bags Luncheon in support of JBWS.

The Art Bar at MAM, a cornerstone of Free First Thursday Night, is presented in partnership with Krug Catering at Orange Lawn Tennis Club. Try new signature cocktails, or sip wine while taking in the art in Lehman Court. The exclusive beer of Free First Thursday Night is NJ Beer Co. and Museum members receive an exclusive discount at the bar. Grab a bite from May’s featured food truck Empanada Guy!

Kids’ Creativity Center at Free First Thursday Night is a drop-off workshop for children (ages 5+). Students will learn to use fine art materials in an age-appropriate project led by experienced art educators, while parents enjoy all the fun of Free First Thursday Night. Class fee of $25 per child includes themed project, small-group art instruction, and all materials. One-hour time slots can be reserved in advance at montclairartmuseum.org; advance tickets also receive a $5 discount on additional children.

Free First Thursday Nights take place the first Thursday of the month (October–June) from 5 to 9 p.m. For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming Free First Thursday Nights, visit montclairartmuseum.org/free-first-thurs-nights. The special exhibition fee for Matisse and American Art will apply for visitors who want to see that exhibition during March–June First Thursday Nights. General admission to the evening and wide variety of activities will remain free.