NEW BRITAIN - The first week of the new year brings the New Britain Museum of American Artâ€™s initial First Friday, an event the museum calls â€śthe cityâ€™s best happy hour.â€ť
Held on the first Friday of nearly every month, the event has been a staple of New Britainâ€™s cultural landscape, offering visitors a chance to experience the museumâ€™s exhibits and collections in a social setting with live entertainment and other activities.
â€śItâ€™s the longest running social event since the mid-1990s,â€ť said Jeffrey Mainville, the museumâ€™s senior manager of visitor experience programs.
This monthâ€™s First Friday, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the museum at 56 Lexington St., will feature dancing to the music of Times Square, a band that performs swing, Top 40, rock and Motown favorites.
Food is included with the cost of admission - $7 for members, $12 for nonmembers - which also includes access to all galleries and exhibits. A cash bar is also available.
Guests can also participate in sketching and other art activities and specialty tours.
Although snow is expected today, the museum will be open Friday night, Mainville said.
As part of a renewed effort to make people aware of all that First Fridays at NBMAA have to offer, a Groupon â€śbuy one, get one freeâ€ť admission discount for nonmuseum members is available from February through April at .
Friday night will be the last opportunity for many people to see the World War I illustrations of Harrv Everett Townsend, a combat artist who spent a year in France observing the war and the advent of industrial combat. The exhibit closes this weekend.
Other exhibits include Ghana Paints Hollywood, featuring the vibrant works of Ghanaian artists who hand-painted movie posters to advertise screenings throughout the country. That exhibit closes in February.
The art of Francisca Benitez, â€śNew/Now,â€ť is on exhibit as well. It offers works on video and paper that explore sign languages in the context of the arts, including poetry and dance.
â€śI consider First Friday a sophisticated setting for folks to meet people,â€ť Mainville said.
In the coming months, the program will feature craft beers from the Alvarium Beer Company and other cultural activities, Mainville said.
â€śI consider it to be our most important social event,â€ť he said â€śWeâ€™re experimenting with different art activities. We want people to come and experience the event.â€ť
Tickets are available at the door or by visiting the Groupon website.
For more information, call the museum at 860-229-0257.