Exploring arts and culture is a great way to combat the winter blahs. You might be surprised to learn that it’s also good for your health – especially as you age.
More good news: This region is bursting with musical performances and other cultural opportunities that won’t cost you a dime. You just need to know where to go. We’ve made it easy, with a roundup of free events throughout February near you. Which ones will you put on your calendar?
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath
Admission is free for the month of February, making this the perfect time to explore some of the special exhibits that celebrate Maine’s 200th birthday. Check out The Frozen Kingdom: Commerce & Pleasure in the Maine Winter, to learn about ice boating and the rise of local harvesters known as Ice Kings.
>Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick
With its smaller scale, this museum is miles easier to navigate than its big-city cousins. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find some gems to admire here. The permanent collection includes an 1893 Winslow Homer painting, a 1912 Picasso etching, and a William Wegman work from 1991.
>Open Tues-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. , ‘til 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays; Sundays noon to 5 p.m.
Portland Conservatory of Music, Noonday Concert Series, Portland
Lunchtime is a great time for a musical adventure. Get your toes tapping to the father-son team of fiddler Ed Pearlman and pianist Neil. They’ll treat you to sounds from Scottish and Cape Breton, influenced by other global styles. Later in the month, enjoy a viola performance by Brianna Fischler and Elizabeth Moore. These accomplished artists have extensive musical resumes, and both now live in Maine.
>Feb 20: Fischler and Moore, Feb. 20, 12:15-12:50 p.m.
Screening of The Iron Horse, Brunswick
Go behind the scenes with a Bowdoin film professor to learn about Maine-born, Academy-award winning director John Ford, noted for his Westerns. Then watch his 1924 silent film, which traces the construction of U.S. transcontinental railway and was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. This event is part of the town’s Longfellow Days 2020 celebration.
>Feb. 15, 10 a.m to 12:30 p.m., Eveningstar Cinema (207) 729-5486; www.eveningstarcinema.com/)
University of New Hampshire Department of Music Faculty Concert Series, Durham
Let music melt winter’s chill with a four concert series performed by various members of the UNH Music faculty. The series features a range of instruments from bassoon to guitar, and includes classical and jazz performances, plus a chance to hear original compositions by UNH’s own.
>Feb. 20; times and locations vary, all performances are on the Durham campus.
Drop in Art, Portsmouth Senior Citizens Center, Portsmouth
Seniors, let your creative energy flow, any Wednesday in February. If you’ve been working on a project at home, bring it along. Or just start from scratch as you meet new friends. Supplies provided.
>Feb. 19, 26, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Thursdays in the Café, Strawberry Bank Museum, Portsmouth
Cap off your Thursday with a live acoustic performance at the museum café. February artists include the alternative folk band Young Frontier, jazz players CJ Duo, and the traditional Celtic group, Penhallow. As you listen, you can follow skaters outside on the Puddle Dock Pond. Free parking in the Museum’s 14 Hancock Street lot.
>Feb. 20, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Maine Arts Commission, Creative Aging
Cheever T, Taylor A, Finkelstein R, et al. NIH/Kennedy Center workshop on music and the brain: Finding harmony. Neuron 2018;97(6):1214–1218.
Dunford CM, Yoshizaki-Gibbons HM, Morhardt D. The Memory Ensemble: Improvising connections among performance, disability, and ageing. Research in Drama Education 2017;22(3):420-426.
Johnson JK, Stewart AL, Acree M, et al. A community choir intervention to promote well-being among diverse older adults: Results from the Community of Voices trial. Journals of Gerontology: Series B. Published Nov. 9, 2018.
National Endowment for the Arts. The arts and aging: Building the science. (PDF, 2.3M) Summary of a National Academies workshop, “Research gaps and opportunities for exploring the relationship of the arts to health and well-being in older adults.” February 2013.