When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, and nourish our souls.

Music at the Museum

The CSO string quartet performs chamber music at the Gibbes.

The Gibbes Museum is open until 8pm on Wednesday nights and offers activities for a variety of ages and interests. From art classes to gallery tours, lectures to concerts, there’s something for everyone. One of the partnerships we have developed is with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and together we are offering several short- and long-format chamber music concerts at the Gibbes throughout the year.

Our Rush Hour concerts are thirty- to forty-minute performances that begin at 5:30pm, and are free with Museum admission. The theory behind the series, as suggested by CSO executive director Michael Smith, is to provide a reprieve from sitting in traffic during the evening commute. We all know how the slow crawl over the Ashley and Cooper Rivers can make blood pressures rise. The soothing power of music is well documented, and these concerts provide a great alternative to afternoon road rage. Invite a friend—and add in a glass of wine or beer from our cafe if you are so inclined—and enjoy a delightful end to hump day.

After our first Rush Hour concert in September, we received very positive feedback including an email from one of the participants that read:

I attended the rush hour concert on yesterday 9/21 and I just wanted to say it was awesome. I work in downtown Charleston and normally when I get off at 5pm I am sitting in traffic for about an hour to get home. With the rush hour concert I can avoid traffic, and listen to music, which allows me to de-stress from my busy work day. I was advised the next concert would be in March, I would love to see if we could get another date before then as I would like to attend and bring several of my coworkers. This was such a great idea, Kudos to whoever came up with this one!

The next Rush Hour concerts are March 22 and April 5, so go ahead and mark your calendars!

The longer-format concerts are specifically designed to complement exhibitions on view at the Museum. They are ticketed, and include a complimentary glass of wine during the performance. This week, the CSO’s string quartet played for an hour in the Campbell Rotunda Gallery with music that was inspired by Solomon R. Guggenheim’s collection on view in Realm of the Spirit. The concert included works by Mozart, Debussy, and Prokofiev and was the perfect way to soothe our psyches at the end of an intense election cycle.

As the director of public programs at the Museum, I am thrilled to see these types of collaborations taking place and the positive response we have received. We are working hard to establish the Gibbes as a place for creative expression and engagement, and want to include all the arts – performance, literary, culinary, and media in addition to visual. We appreciate our partners at the CSO and other organizations who are working with us on this front. We are also grateful to the sponsors who help make this programming possible. The Chamber Music series is supported by Ilsa Calcagno, Cindy and George Hartley, Andrea Volpe, and the Vreede family in memory of Anton Vreede. Our first floor education center and Wednesday evening programs provide a great platform for these collaborations, and we hope to see you here sometime soon!

Lasley Steever, director of programs and digital engagement, Gibbes Museum of Art


Published November 11, 2016

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