If you think art museums are only for snobby bespectacled critics, think again.
Erie Art Museum (EAM) offers something for everyone, from drag bingo and film screenings to renowned permanent and rotating exhibits.
The museum prides itself on its accessibility and deep connection to Erie; children, families, college students and older adults alike can all enjoy the welcoming atmosphere.
The museum can be a place of quietness and reflection, as well as a place bustling with conversation and laughter.
Last Sunday was a prime example of the latter as hundreds of children and their families flooded the galleries for trick-or-treating.
The main entrance on East Fifth Street was packed with ghosts and goblins galore, all bursting with excitement.
The spooky event featured crafts, a monster-themed scavenger hunt, prizes for the best art-inspired costumes and of course, plenty of candy. Admission was free and open to the entire community.
Trick-or-treaters and their accompaniers perused the galleries on their quest for sweets.
One of the currently featured exhibits is “The Lost World” by Brett Kern.
The display is an imaginative fusion of prehistoric beasts with colors, shapes and textures from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“So much of who I am and what I do is a product of [my childhood in the ‘80s and ‘90s],” Kern said on the Erie Art Museum website. “I think of my sculptures almost as fossils — remnants of a lost world that I so desperately want to hang on to and preserve.”
The sculptures of Chuck Johnson dominate the second floor, featuring stacks of such eclectic objects as endangered animals, genetically modified foods and gas-powered machines. Johnson’s sculptures express his growing concern for the state of the modern world.
Thought-provoking displays from both local and global artists inhabit the rest of the museum’s numerous galleries.
Zy’Anne Grady, a senior psychology student at Gannon University, has worked at EAM since her sophomore year.
“I enjoy working at the museum because it’s a laid-back environment and the staff is like a family,” said Grady. “And, of course, I love getting to see all of the artwork.
Grady’s position also allows her to get in touch with her creative side.
“I even made part of my Halloween costume out of clay this year,” she added.
Interested in visiting the museum? There are plenty of affordable options for college students.
On the second Sunday of every month, the museum offers pay-what-you-wish admission, as well as a craft.
The next event will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Nov. 10. The Chautauqua County Weavers’ Guild will be present to teach museum goers how to weave.
Additionally, the museum will be partnering up with Gannon’s Business Policy class to host two Paint and Pour nights. Meet, drink and paint from 7-9 p.m. on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. Registration is $12 for students and $25 for adults.
Painting supplies will be provided and an instructor will be on hand to guide participants.
Finally, yearlong memberships are also extremely affordable; a first-time student membership is only $10.
Members enjoy unlimited free admission, discounts on programs and merchandise and access to special member-only events.
To learn more about exhibits, register for events or sign up for a membership, visit erieartmuseum.org.