Fenway Arts Today

By Chava Taske

Fenway is most well known for Fenway Park, but it’s also a very arts oriented neighborhood. Two well known art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Gardner) are located in the heart of the Fenway neighborhood. Fenway also has a live music scene at the House of Blues restaurant and club. And if you are looking for classical music, the New England Conservatory of Music is also located nearby.

As for the local art community, Fenway is not the best neighborhood to find it; but if you are looking for art from around the world, than Fenway is a great neighborhood. For college students, the Fenway neighborhood has several art schools that might be just right for you.

For photos of the Fenway Neighborhood check out our photo tour Click Here.

Here is a list of highlights of the museums and local arts scene located in the Fenway area. The two major museums here are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

MFA

The MFA is located right down the street from Northeast on the Green E line.  The museum is solely an exhibition of fine arts. It houses a wide variety of art from different periods of time; ancient Egyptian, to Roman, to contemporary art. The size and scope of the museum invites you to to spend hours at the different exhibits.  

They have special events each Wednesday, and students can enter for free if they attend college in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

For more information, visit their website http://www.mfa.org/

Gardner

The Gardner was established in 1903, and was formerly known as Fenway Court. The Gardner is located a few blocks away from the MFA.

Have you ever wanted to visit a museum that was involved in an art heist? The Gardner is the place to go. In 1990, thirteen pieces of work were stolen and have never been found. The investigation is still ongoing and the museum is offering millions to locate and return the stolen art.

Besides the uniqueness of the theft, the Gardner has a lot to offer; everything from contemporary art, to music and guitars, to gardens and landscapes, and especially the works of art from Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

For Emerson students, or any other students with a valid ID, admission to visit the Gardner is just $5.  

House of Blues

The House of Blues is located right next to Fenway Park. It’s a great place to stop by for Southern dishes or to catch a live music act. They have shows nearly every night, though you have to buy a ticket specifically for the concert that is separate from dinner. Prices vary depending on the kind of event you go to and the performers and bands.

http://www.houseofblues.com/boston/concert-events

Fenway Park

In addition to the House of Blues, Fenway park will host concerts for top artists like Lady Gaga and Foo Fighters. There are not many concerts here, but they do get the big name acts as it the biggest venue in the Fenway neighborhood. Fenway Park is an historic beauty, and the oldest professional baseball stadium that is still in use today.  

For more information check out Fenway events page: https://www.mlb.com/redsox/tickets/events

If you are looking for classical music, try Symphony Hall.

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall is located near Berklee College of Music located on the Northern end of the Fenway neighbor. It’s a Boston historical landmark. One of the main attractions of the Fenway neighborhood, it presents a wide variety of concerts throughout the year. For more information visit their website https://www.bso.org/

Local Art

Fenway is not that well known for its local art with only a few organizations holding a couple of events each year. Local residents of Fenway can get involved with The Fenway Alliance and Fenway Studios.

Fenway Alliance

The Fenway Alliance is a 40 year old organization that promotes art in the Fenway district by working with other institutions to bring almost 4 million people to view art each year. The Fenway Alliance is located right up the street from the MFA and Gardner, and right next to Northeastern University.

For more information on the The Fenway Alliance, visit their website at http://fenwayculture.org/

Fenway Studios

Fenway Studios is located on 30 Ipswich Street in Boston and was built in 1905. It’s considered an historic landmark and is the first building to be built solely for art purposes, according to their website.

It’s an exclusive place. Artists have to apply to get a studio there, then pay for the studio space. There is a waiting list too. And if you want to view the art, it’s a challenge. They only have one event each year for a single weekend. It is not really accessible to the public.  

Fenway Studios is not a gallery or place to view local art. It’s purpose is for the artist who is looking for their own studio and are willing to pay, and wait, for a spot to open up.

For more information, visit their website at http://fenwaystudios.org/index.php

Colleges

For the lack of community and local art, Fenway actually has a surprising amount of art schools and colleges with well respected art programs.  

Tufts at the MFA

Tufts University has an art school for undergraduates and graduates. It’s located right across the street from the MFA. It’s not open to the public, but the students’ art is shown at Tufts main campus in Medford, MA; right outside of Northern Boston.

New England School of Photography

This school is a specialty school that offers degrees in photography. It’s a small school located in Kenmore Square.

Berklee School of Music.

Berklee School of Music is located just east of Fenway Park. If you play an instrument, they probably offer classes on that instrument. They have majors in 27 specific musical studies.There are many events going on at their campus all year, and they are mostly free.

Check for events on their website: https://www.berklee.edu/events

Those are three local schools that are somewhat known outside of the Boston area. For lesser known programs, consider checking out Northeastern and Mass Art.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Fenway neighborhood has a lot to offer if you are going to college and are wanting to study art.There are several different schools to choose from and two major art museums located here too. If you are looking for music, Fenway also offers up choices. It has a fair amount of venues to hear different kinds of artists. If you are an aspiring musician, the sizes of the venues demands that you already be well known to get booked there. Fenway is not an area with small music clubs hosting musicians just starting out. The same can be said for the local art scene. Fenway doesn’t offer much to the aspiring artist. You really only have the two art organizations and both of them are exclusive and are not focused on public art displays.

However, I do think that in the next couple of decades this will change because the demographics of the Fenway area have been changing over the past couple of years. As you can see from this report, there are several art schools in Fenway as well as colleges. The Fenway neighborhood has been dominated by college students living near the schools. But with the gentrification of cities, and the rise of rent, more families and young professionals are moving into the area. According to the 2010 census, only 0.8% percent of the residents were of school age compared to the difference in the 2015 census. It stated that the percentage of school-aged children had doubled to 1.6%. So it’s not a large amount, and the neighborhood is still dominated by college age students, but the demographics appear to be slowly changing.

For more information check out these two census.

https://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Fenway-Kenmore_Planning_District_Profile%20_tcm3-12990.pdf

http://www.bostonplans.org/getattachment/bc26cca1-fabb-4d99-b53c-2a33a68f8543
 

With an increase of families and young professionals into the are, I think there could also be a boom in the local art scene in Fenway. So today in 2017, it is mostly large, art institutions that make up the arts scene. In the coming years, I think it could grow more vibrant as a local, community art scene that serves new residents, young and old.