By Mack Hogan, news correspondent
Lined up in front of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM), a crowd of sharply-dressed young Bostonians stands. The millennial crowd isn’t waiting for a big name band or a DJ – it’s the third Thursday of the month, and they’ve come to the Gardner for wine, jazz and art.
Started in 2007, Third Thursdays take place on the third Thursday of every month at the ISGM. Live music, local art and an activity to keep patrons occupied, like the scavenger hunt on Sept. 17, bring new vibrancy and new audiences to the museum.
The ISGM courtyard, which houses the cash wine bar, featured jazz musicians and oil painters displaying their art.
“It’s nice to be around people who appreciate art, who appreciate my work. It’s a great way to get my work out there,” Percy Fortini-Wright, a freelance painter hired for the occasion, said as he splashed paint on a massive canvas on the ISGM lawn.
Visitors traversed cultures as they walked through the gardens outside of the museum. One garden was themed in an Italian style, whereas another emphasized Japanese design.
The Gardner museum houses over 2,500 objects across its threefloor expanse. One can find original paintings, sculptures, furniture and more preserved from past civilizations including ancient Rome, medieval Europe and Renaissance Italy.
A curator for the museum discussed the history of Roxbury in the Gardner’s gardens, and directly outside the 21st Century reading room, a glass tunnel connects the administrative building to the 102-year-old museum.
“You really need to experience the transition, this entrance into the magical kingdom that Mrs. Gardner created.” Milda Richardson, lecturer for Northeastern University’s College of Art, Media and Design and museum teacher at the Gardner, said about the glass structure.
Originally created to educate Boston’s college students on other cultures, the museum is largely unchanged from the original vision of its founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner.
According to Richardson, Gardner wanted to give the less fortunate a way to learn about things they could never experience,
“Julie Crites… started this program as a way to engage young professionals who have limited time but a great interest in the arts,” Jessie Smith, director of public programs at the Gardner, said.
The museum used the evening to educate students on unique experiences, just as Gardner did.
Inside the reading room, Stacy Sutherland, a Roxbury youth worker, told her story. Born into an interracial family, she bore witness to the desegregation of Boston and the pains that came with it. She told of public ridicule, oppressive violence and never-ending fear.
“My parents were outcasts, hated by both halves of the segregated community. We lived in fear of more beatings, more hate, more division,” Sutherland said.
Though far different than the experiences Garner sought to convey, this story continued the mission of exposing people to a new world view.
“This is what happens at the Gardner,” said Richardson. “People interact in a very personal, almost spiritual way.”
Photo Courtesy Liza Voll Photography