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Creative Ways To Meet!

Hoping to meet someone who is a cut (or ten) above average? Check out these artsy—and fun—ways to make a love connection

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

e honest: When you go to an art museum, you’re not just checking out the paintings are you? Good! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with mixing a little culture and cruising. Start looking for love in some of these creative places, and you just might paint yourself a more interesting romantic picture.

Be a drama queen (or king)
Sitting in the dark with total strangers may not sound like a great way to mingle, but imagine if you could stick around for an exclusive private party after the show? More and
“Art is an excellent conversation-starter.”
more theater companies are offering “incentive” parties for their regulars to mix with other theater fans. The Roundabout Theatre in New York City (www.roundabouttheatre.org) now offers a special “Social Series” where anyone who buys a 3-, 5- or 8-show season pass is invited to post-performance cocktail parties with the cast and other subscribers. “It’s a low-pressure way to talk about theater with people who share your interests,” says Stefanie Schussel, marketing assistant for the Roundabout Theatre Company.

The Roundabout also has a gay/lesbian series, a wine-tasting series and a young adult program called Hiptix where 18- to 35-year-olds can enjoy a DJ dance party afterwards. “There have been two marriages that came out of the Social Series and countless relationships,” says Schussel, who notes that other performing-arts groups around the country—including the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, IL and the Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle, WA—now feature similar programs. Check with your local arts groups, because you never know who you’ll meet across a crowded lobby some enchanted evening.

Go on a scavenger hunt
Get to know your city in the most fun way possible: by racing through it trying to decipher clues and complete a scavenger hunt. “Before every hunt we ask people if they’d like to meet others and then we form teams with kindred spirits,” says Bret Watson, founder of Watson Adventures (www.watsonadventures.com), which runs these grown-up hunts in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and other cities. You can narrow the field by choosing a tour that matches your interests (offerings range from The Gangsters’ New York Scavenger Hunt to The Wild, Wild Life Scavenger Hunt at the San Francisco Zoo). And hey, if you do make a love connection, you two just might be back for another night to remember, notes Watson: “One guy booked a private hunt for a group of his friends so that he could propose to his girlfriend at the end.”

Make something
When was the last time you created your own masterpiece? If your answer is: “Age 10 in elementary art,” it’s high time you return to your creative roots. Joining a class to learn painting, photo-editing, etc. is a hands-on way of connecting with others. “People come together with a desire to create something,” says Bob Gereke, owner of Mud, Sweat & Tears, a pottery studio in
Word-play can be quite the turn-on.
New York City, “but what often happens in the process is that they create relationships and friendships as well.” But before signing on, strategize: If you’re looking to meet guys, consider joining a photography, filmmaking, or landscape-design class rather than a knitting circle. And guys: You’ll probably meet more ladies studying watercolor or pottery than woodworking. At the very least you’ll come out of the experience with something cool you made yourself.

Share your story
Love to read? Or to write? Or to rap? Storytelling events (including poetry jams and book readings) are a fresh way to connect with like-minded souls. At The Moth (www.themoth.org), bi-monthly storytelling forums called StorySLAMS — currently happening regularly in NY and LA in addition to storytelling tours nationwide — ten randomly selected people per night each get five minutes on stage to share their story on a pre-selected topic. At the end of the night, a StorySLAM winner is selected to compete in a future StorySLAM final. “These events are very rowdy, fun and all-inclusive,” says Sarah Jenness, a senior producer at The Moth. “You’ll often end up sitting at a table with someone you didn’t know before the night started but people always end up talking and sharing stories before or after the show and during intermission… it’s just a very open environment.” Nowhere near a Moth event? Check your local area bookstore for readings and discussion groups, because word-play can be quite the turn-on.

Pull an “art-nighter”
Ever been to an art museum after dark? More and more art museums keep their doors open late to encourage mingling while admiring master works. The Art Institute of Chicago has a “Target Summer Hours” program (free admission on Thursday and Friday nights from 5-9 p.m. after Memorial Day), which is usually jam-packed with single professionals. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles offers “Fridays Off the 405” and “College Night,” social events which often include themed evenings tied to current exhibits. And the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) hosts an annual late-night party running from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. that includes live performances, DJ sets and free admission to the museum. “If two people are viewing the same piece of art on the wall, it’s an excellent conversation-starter and a non-invasive way to break the ice and meet someone,” says Heidi Simonian, media relations manager for LACMA.

Shake your groove thing
Suddenly ballroom dance is all the rage again. And social dancing will definitely bring you into close proximity with other “eligible” dance partners. “When you ballroom dance you automatically get to have fun and interact with someone of the opposite sex,” says Jonathon Roberts, a Dancing with the Stars professional and United States Ballroom Dance Champion. Roberts suggests that singles attend a group class or go out dancing (think swing, country-western line dancing or salsa at a local club). “Guys are always afraid to look like idiots on the dance floor but for single men, there is no better place to pick up women,” says Roberts. One place to start? Check out the United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association (www.usabda.org) for social dances and classes in your area.

Act like a starving artist
If you’re lacking the funds to become an arts supporter, check out www.goldstarevents.com, which offers cheap tickets to performing arts events nationwide (including many reduced-price artistic adventures for singles). Recent bargain offerings included photography trips, art tours, and theater tickets. “These events have a tendency to bring people together to connect and share—key ingredients in a budding romance,” says Goldstar Events CEO Jim McCarthy. “And, because we offer tickets at half-price, people can experience a great night out inexpensively and often.” Who says you have to suffer for your art? Or for your social life?


Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook, Quick & Simple, and frequently online for Match.com and msn.com. She is also an artist who has performed on Broadway and in numerous national tours.
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