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Boston Cultural Calendar 2014 | Best Art Events In MA
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Boston Cultural Calendar 2014 | Best Art Events In MA

Picture of Lauren England
Updated: 9 February 2017
With a multitude of events happening all year round, Boston’s cultural calendar is extremely full, offering a diverse range of artistic and cultural activities. From free music festivals and theatre performances to art openings and community celebrations, these twelve events show a selection of the best cultural events happening in Boston every month in 2014.

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January | Wonderland by Gallim Dance Company

31 January 2014 – 1 February 2014

Presented by World Music/Crash Arts, the Boston premiere of Gallim Dance Company‘s ‘Wonderland’ is a stunning performance that explores the kinetic and intimate expressions of the self, choreographed by Andrea Miller, founder of this award-winning, New York-based contemporary dance company. ‘Wonderland’ showcases the quick wit, morphing physical qualities and the technical prowess of the troupe, which has captured the attention of fellow artists, presenters and audiences. The performance itself draws on war, sports and communication imagery to investigate the human pack mentality, its inherent nature and the potential danger it poses. The performance takes place at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, with a free post-performance Q&A session with the dancers on 31 January.

Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210, USA, +1 617-478-3100

February | Lion Dance Parade (Chinese New Year Festival)

9 February 2014

Boston is home to the largest Chinese community in the USA. It is therefore unsurprising that the Chinese New Year Festival is one of the biggest annual events in the city. Taking place on the second Sunday in February in China Town, Boston, the parade is a celebration of the Chinese custom dating back thousands of years, where troupes of dancers and Kung-Fu students operate Lion costumes and go from street to street performing ‘Cai Ching’ (‘plucking the greens’). In return for offerings of fruit and vegetables from local businesses, the Lion Dancers offer good tidings for the New Year. Traditional music and food are also a large part of the celebrations. The Chinese New Year Festival starts on 31 January 2014, with celebrations going on until 9 February 2014.

China Town Main Street

March | Dine Out Boston (Restaurant Week)

16 March 2014 – 28 March 2014

Rebranded as Dine Out Boston in 2014, Boston’s restaurant week is a hugely popular event organised in many of the city’s best restaurants. Twice a year (summer and winter), the people of Boston flock to their old favourites and the latest culinary hotspots across the city for fixed price menus between $15 and $38. The event is hosted by the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and American Express. As part of the event, a $100 certificate is donated by each participating restaurant and is then auctioned off to raise money for a Charitable Partner – in 2014 all proceeds will go to The Freedom Trail Foundation.

Various restaurants across Boston

April | Not by Bread Alone by Nalaga’at Theater Ensemble

1 April 2014 – 6 April 2014

Not by Bread Alone is the groundbreaking theatre performance by Israel’s Nalaga’at Theater Ensemble. In this uplifting and inspiring show, the audience is transported by eleven deaf-blind actors into their inner worlds of darkness and silence as they express their dreams and desires through stories told through sign, movement, and spoken word. The cast bakes bread in real-time on stage allowing the audience’s senses to be challenged whilst providing a sensitive insight into a different world. Organised at the Paramount Center in partnership with Arts Emerson, this once-in-a-lifetime experience has sold out in London, New York and the company’s home city, Tel Aviv.

Paramount Center Mainstage, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02135, USA

May | MayFair at Harvard Square

3 May 2014 -10 May 2014

MayFair in Boston is one of the liveliest places to be in May. Now celebrating its 31st year, this annual event features a huge array of crafts, food, street art, fairground attractions, music events and entertainment stages. The week-long, family-friendly event is opened by the Mayor of Boston. Last year MayFair was host to over 150 artisans, four entertainment stages – including a dance stage and a chalk-art celebration – and 40 food vendors serving international cuisine. This hugely popular event held in the historic Harvard Square, is attended by over 100,000 people each year.

MayFair at Harvard Square, JFK St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

June | Boston Pride

6 June 2014 – 15 June 2014

Raising the rainbow flag, Boston Pride is held in the first full week in June on City Hall Plaza. With tens of thousands of participants in costumes showing off gay pride, the week is filled with events and celebrations such as the Flag Raising, Pride Day, Queeraoke, the Pride Parade Festival and the Block Party. Special events have also been designed to include people of all ages such as the Boston Pride Youth Dance and the LGBT Senior Pride Tea Dance. However, Boston Pride is much more than a party. The event aims to achieve inclusivity, equality and respect, raise awareness and make an impact by debating important topics at their panel discussion (11 June). Their mission is to foster diversity, unity, visibility and dignity by educating, communicating and advocating community connections in Greater Boston and beyond.

Various locations across Boston

July | Outside The Box

July 2014

Outside The Box is a revolutionary, free, nine-day music and performing arts festival that turns public spaces like Boston Common and City Hall Plaza into performance spaces. Held for the first time in 2013 in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the festival was masterminded and completely funded by long-time philanthropist and civic activist Ted Cutler. Outside The Box helps make the arts accessible to everyone and encourages community spirit. The aim of the festival is to unite neighbourhoods, citizens and artistic communities throughout the city with over 200 free events. The extensive and eclectic line-up of music, dance, puppet and comedy shows, crafts and food events highlights the best of Boston and Massachusetts. Returning for its second year in July 2014, this festival is not to be missed.

Various locations across Boston

August | Boston Carnival

17 August 2014 – 23 August 2014

Boston Carnival is a vibrant, energetic celebration of Trinidad Style. It was founded by Ken Bonaparte Mitchell (Trinidadian), and Ivy Ponder (American) in 1973 and is held annually in August the weekend before Labor Day. The carnival kicks off on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Roxbury, MA and ends in Franklin Park in Dorchester, MA. The Carnival features several events: Jouvert, the King & Queen Show, the Kiddies Carnival and the Parade, along with food vendors serving Caribbean and American cuisine, arts and crafts stalls and much more. Jouvert, the largest part of the Carnival celebrations, is a large street party, starting before dawn – over 5,000 participants design and wear their own costumes. The larger costumes worn by participating bands are presented at the King & Queen Show at the Reggie Lewis Centre, Boston with entertainment from Steel bands and local and international artists. Kiddies Carnival is the family-orientated element of Boston Carnival.

Various locations across Boston

September | Jamaica Plain Open Studios

19 September 2014 – 20 September 2014

This year, Boston will host the 21st Jamaica Plain Open Studios (JPOS). The event is an annual celebration of the arts in Jamaica Plain organised by the non-profit organisation Jamaica Plain Arts Council, which gives artists and the public a time and place to connect, converse and deal in artworks. The event is driven by a team of volunteers and takes place in the homes and studios of participating artists, group sites and businesses throughout Jamaica Plain, reflecting this diverse and vibrant neighbourhood. It also provides an excellent opportunity for local artists to network and present their works to an enthusiastic audience. There is a free app available to download that provides information on participating venues and artists and will helps visitors plan their route.

Various locations across Jamaica Plain

October | Samba Spirit, Modern Afro-Brazilian Art at the MFA

18 January – 19 October 2014

The Samba Spirit exhibition held at the MFA offers a rare insight into the compelling and eclectic world of contemporary Afro-Brazilian art. Featuring a small, but carefully picked and curated selection of artworks, the exhibit shows a slice of touching, vibrant modernity, with sculptures, paintings and drawings created between 1930s and 1980s. Subject matter ranges from slavery to indigenous heritage and incorporate influences from Africa, religion and spirituality, offering a beautiful reflection upon the history of Brazil and its people. The exhibition is a must-see, as it is the first of its kind at Boston’s MFA and includes works by artists as engaging as Waldomiro de Deus and Heitor dos Prazeres.

Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts

Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Chuva Sobre Sao Paulo
Image courtesy of MFA and the artist

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November | Boston Christmas Festival and Gingerbread House Competition

7 November 2014 – 9 November 2014

The Boston Christmas Festival is the most exclusive crafts festival in Boston. There is something for everyone as the festival offers beautifully handcrafted holiday products, home accessories, designer fashions, and artisan jewellery from 350 exhibitors. In addition to numerous winter festivities, the Festival hosts a Gingerbread House Competition where top chefs create gingerbread masterpieces that are then judged by a celebrity panel and sold to raise money for Housing Families, a non-profit organisation dedicated to ending family homelessness. The Annual Boston Christmas Festival will be held at the Seaport World Trade Centre for the 28th time this year and hopes to continue their 21-year winning streak at the Sunshine Artist 200 Best Award.

Seaport World Trade Centre, 200 Seaport Blvd Boston, MA, USA, +1 617-385-5000

December | First Night Festival

31 December 2014

Launched in 1976, First Night Festival is the oldest and largest New Year’s Eve festival in the United States. The day of music, dance and art culminating in two spectacular fireworks shows provides ample entertainment for people of all ages. Tickets or ‘Buttons’ cost $10 (children under 4 go free) and grant holders entry to all First Night indoor venues. All outdoor events are free. Music highlights for the 2014 festival include Patti Smith and her band, and The Blind Boys of Alabama among others. Ice sculptures will be created around the city and fireworks will be set off over Boston Common at 7:00 p.m., and over Boston Harbour at midnight.

Various locations across Boston

First Night Festival Boston
© First Night Boston