Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
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Museum's indoor block party features events for all ages

  • 12-28-Aha-Indian-Dance-jpg

    The Aha! Indian Dance Company performs this week as a part of the Great Art Escape at the Toledo Museum of Art

  • 12-21-Rela-Percussion-jpg

    Detroit Percussion Rela performs this week as a part of the Toledo Museum of Art's "Great Art Escape."

  • 12-28-El-Corazon-de-Mexico-Dance-jpg

    El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico performs this week as a part of the Great Art Escape at the Toledo Museum of Art.


The name of the weeklong visual, performance, and hands-on programming at the Toledo Museum of Art during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, really says it all.

The Great Art Escape is six days of drawing and painting, exhibitions, live performances, and glass-blowing demos that people of any age can saturate themselves with during the holiday break.

“I think one of the interesting things about the Great Art Escape is it is for all ages, so we have all generations coming in to enjoy the galleries and celebrate the holiday season,” said Maria Iaferice, docent program manager for the museum. “Our goal is to show off the museum and to show visitors who might be in from out of town or home for the holidays, the breadth of programming and events at the museum, everything from the number of exhibitions, to rolling up their sleeves and participating in an activity, to catching a performance in the Peristyle.”

Events began Tuesday, and continue afternoons and some evenings through New Year’s Eve. Entry to the museum is free, as are most of the Great Art Escape activities, with the exception of painting and sculpting family workshops, which require advance registration, and sold-out flashlight tours.

About 700 people visited the museum daily during the event in 2015 and 2016, museum spokesman Emily Desmond said.

“We are really looking forward to high attendance again this year and celebrating our inside version of our summer block party,” Desmond said, referring to the large outdoor annual event held on the museum’s Monroe Street campus.

Museum staff has been inviting the public to fill their off-work-and-school days with museum activities since 2003, but gave the weeklong event its name in 2010 and streamlined its programming.

Much of the programming is consistent throughout the week — if you can’t stop by Thursday, stop Friday and catch similar performances. Every day at 1 p.m., visitors can listen to different musicians perform the sounds of the season on the museum’s restored Dutch cabinet organ.

At 2 p.m., live performers take the stage in the Peristyle, including Jp Dynasty on Wednesday; the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance on Thursday; El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico on Friday, and the dancers of Aha! Indian Dance on Saturday.

Several times daily there are glass-blowing demos in the Glass Pavilion. Guests can try their hand at drawing some of the museum’s collection in the Great Gallery every day from 1 to 3 p.m.,

New this year is a yoga session at 10 a.m. Thursday in the GlasSalon. It’s free and open to children and adults.

Also joining the lineup for the first time this year is the Greater Toledo Youth Orchestra, which will perform at 2 p.m. New Year’s Eve, in the Great Gallery.

The museum’s chef, Joe Felix, will offer a pop-up cafe with a new menu in the Peristyle lobby, and the Family Center, which offers family activities throughout the week, has extended hours.

The Great Art Escape is supported by sponsorship from Taylor Cadillac and with funds received in the memory of Dr. Edward and Mrs. Rita Barbour Kern. The museum declined to reveal the cost of the event.

For a complete Great Art Escape schedule, go to

Contact Roberta Gedert at, 419-724-6075, or on Twitter @RoGedert.

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