There is more to Longwood than medicine. How much more? A lot if you expand the boundaries a bit.
Gems at Dana-Farber’s Yawkey
Center for Cancer Care
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Art Collection has more than 1,400 pieces spread throughout its facilities. “Art humanizes the experience,” curator Elaine L. Tinetti says. Exam rooms, corridors, and waiting areas are graced with artwork, much of it donated, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Josef Albers, and Dale Chihuly. While the exhibit is only available to patients, family, and staff, the public can access a 27-piece audio tour online, narrated by Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers. 450 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-632-3000, http://www.dana-farber.org/About-Us/Yawkey-Center/Audio-Art-Tour-for-Dana-Farber-Patients-Families-and-Staff.aspx
The Jimmy Fund Gallery
Opened in 2005 at Dana-Farber, it now has a street-level space. The collection, which includes a jersey autographed by Ted Williams and cleats signed by Dustin Pedroia, hangs in an airy corridor where patients, family, and staff can eat and hang out. Suzanne Fountain, associate vice president of the Jimmy Fund, says, “It gives patients a nice break and the feeling of a Fenway Park home away from home.” 450 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-632-3000, dana-farber.org, http://www.crja.com/healthcare/stoneman.htm
A Venetian escape
In addition to immersing visitors in three stories of galleries in a 15th-century Venetian-style palace and courtyard, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a 10-minute walk from Longwood, provides a rich array of lectures and classical concerts. Monthly Third Thursdays attract young professionals and college students for wine, music, and sometimes hands-on art projects. For younger area students, the museum offers internships. 25 Evans Way, Boston, 617-566-1401, gardnermuseum.org
Healing sounds from Longwood Symphony
Two pillars of Boston — music and health care — come together with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra. Established more than 30 years ago, it is composed primarily of doctors, medical students, scientists, therapists, and nurses. They perform at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall (The next concert is Dec. 6.), raising money for local health-related nonprofits. The company also partners with organizations like Artists for Alzheimer’s and Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS to raise funds. LSO on Call brings music to the patients who can’t attend the concerts. 617-667-1527, longwoodsymphony.org
MassArt, where artists are made
Massachusetts College of Art and Design just added a 40,000-square-foot Design and Media Center featuring a three-story, sky-lit exhibition hall and a multitude of studios, labs, and classrooms. The school also offers over 100 youth and adult art classes in more than 20 disciplines, including fiber art, glassblowing, and digital design, as well as programs in furniture, fashion, graphic, and industrial design. 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, http://www.massart.edu
Art and healing from the MFA
In a confluence of medicine and art, educators at the Museum of Fine Arts have collaborated with neighboring hospitals to develop programs that help doctors improve visual observation and patient communication skills. Its Artful Healing program provides therapeutic art workshops at Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, http://www.mfa.org/programs/community-programs/artful-healing
Wearable art sale, Nov. 20-23
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s annual SMFA Art Sale, takes place Nov. 20-23, offering pieces by students, faculty, and alumni. The sale typically features standouts from the likes of Jim Dine, Ellsworth Kelly, and Richard Serra, but it’s easy to find great deals. 230 Fenway, Boston, 617-267-6100, smfa.edu
Have a kosher Christmas?
Temple Israel, just on the other side of Longwood across Brookline Avenue, fosters connections with the larger community, including hosting Trinity Church’s congregation following the Marathon bombings. On Sunday, Dec. 7, Rabbi Joshua Plaut will speak about his book “A Kosher Christmas.” 477 Longwood Ave., Boston, 617-566-3960, tisreael.org
Medical history lessons
Harvard Medical School’s Center for the History of Medicine presents a program of open public lectures on the history of medicine and public health. Upcoming topics include “Death and Discovery in Civil War Medicine” and “Sympathy and Surveillance in the American Asylum.” Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck St., Boston, 617-432-6196, https://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/exhibit.html
Ewww. Wow. Cool.
While not a full-size destination, the Warren Anatomical Museum has artifacts that are not for the squeamish. The free, permanent exhibition in the Countway Library of Medicine boasts arcane surgical tools, along with such curious specimens as fetal skeletons, Phineas Gage’s impaled skull, dried body parts. 10 Shattuck St., Boston, 617-432-6196, https://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/warren.html
Around the corner from Longwood is one of Boston’s true cultural gems. You still have a week to catch “Alice” at the Wheelock Family Theatre, before a 10-week wait until “Pinocchio” arrives. Saturday matinees offer post-show, behind-the-scenes talks, while kids are invited to come in their PJs for discounted Friday evening performances. December vacation week intensives include a folktales class for 7- and 8-year-olds and a special effects course for teens. Once they’ve got the hang of it, kids can audition to become cast members in Wheelock’s staged productions. 80 Riverway, Boston, 617-879-2300, wheelockfamilytheatre.org
Where to eat
The Food Court at The Longwood Galleria on has options, and there’s an Au Bon Pain inside Brigham & Women’s, and Bertucci’s, and burrito chain Boloco, but competition is growing fierce.
One of the Boston dining scene’s biggest crowd pleasers, Clover Food Lab, serves seasonal fare for breakfast and lunch out of a truck on Blackfan Street four days a week (menu updates via Twitter @cloverLMA). Founder Ayr Muir says the spot is so popular that Clover is considering opening a permanent restaurant. Muir finds the Longwood crowd, saturated with health experts, to be particularly engaged. The truck’s most popular item? The brussel sprout sandwich.
Lebanese food trailer Sami’s (107 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, 617-432-0402, samisboston.com) reopened in the spring under the stewardship of Jou-jou Saba, daughter of its founder, a cabdriver who set up the business in Longwood 35 years ago. While its foundation is in Lebanese dishes like falafel, couscous, hummus, grape leaves, and tabbouleh, the menu is multicultural and enormous.
Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrott.com.