Hopping with art and rhythm, a stretch of Monroe Street in Toledo’s Old West End drew throngs Saturday night in search of visual, aural, and gustatory delights.
Holly Pero of Toledo holds her son Mason Pero, 5, as he enjoys massive bubbles during the Toledo Museum of Art's annual Block Party.
The fifth edition of the Toledo Museum of Art Block Party had a getting-to-know-you dimension as well.
“It gives the people the opportunity to mingle together, and for people to see what the museum has to offer,” said Venus Chapman, 63, of West Toledo, a Block Party veteran and museum supporter. She and friends, including Barbara Nash, 70, who lives downtown and was a first-time attendee, sat at a table on the Glass Pavilion lawn, enjoying a bite in the summer breeze.
Mingling and eating and drinking were well under way when the festivities officially began with the nine-member Whitmer High School Drumline taking the stage on the main terrace. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder and stock still, only arms and hands in motion, for several numbers. Performing others, the ensemble swayed in time.
“Bravo! Give the drummer some,” a man in the audience shouted.
Brian Kennedy, the museum director, welcomed the crowd.
“Do you want us to keep doing this?” he asked and received a roar of approval.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said: “What a night. What a museum. What a city.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Museum of Art Block Party
He said the Block Party “keeps getting bigger and bigger and better, and the city keeps getting bigger and bigger and better. We’re making progress.”
He said that the people make a city great and described Toledoans as “kind, wonderful people who don’t have a phony bone in their body.”
'Crazy" Craig Wise juggles for spectators during the Toledo Museum of Art's Block Party.
Cody Beck, 19, and Megan Burgy, 18, both of South Toledo and his niece Elzie John, 5, and nephew, Rowan John, 1, came to take in the atmosphere and a chance to play in the bubbles created by performance group, the Bubble Sharks.
“I’m interested in the food trucks,” said Mr. Beck, who recalled how devoted his late great-grandmother Betty Jane Farmer was to the museum.
Open to block partiers who ventured into the museum was Community, by Rebecca Louise Law, a British artist. Visitors to the Canaday Gallery experienced the more than half-million plants and flora hanging from the ceiling that are the essence of Mrs. Law’s work.
The exhibition, which opened last month, combines flowers native to northwest Ohio with plant matter from Mrs. Law’s previous installations around the world. Community required about 1,000 hours of volunteer help to string flowers on copper wire.
Community will be displayed in the museum through Jan. 13.
Children’s activities on the Glass Pavilion lawn had a theme that tied in with Community. One table held supplies for making flower mobiles. Others invited children to make tissue paper flowers, coffee filter flowers, egg carton flowers, or flower headbands.
For Natasha Allen, 39, and daughter Solana Allen, 9, of West Toledo, this year’s Block Party was their third, and they brought along Ms. Allen’s niece, Camora Allen, 9. The girls, who both do hip-hop dance, looked forward to watching performers and eating snow cones. Camora’s frozen treat was a uniform purple. Solana went for variety — “raspberry, cotton candy, and pineapple something,” she said.
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