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October 23, 2017
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How to Do Friday Nights with Nature's Gift

Six ways to chill inside and around the large, glowing sculpture

By OMCA Staff

Inside OMCA’s new exhibition Nature’s Gift: Humans, Friends & the Unknown, you have unbridled permission to play. You’re also encouraged to lie down when you get tired! Inside this Astroturf-lined room, you’ll find a row of silky hammocks, full-size bean bags and seating cushions, and, of course, an enormous inflatable sculpture—not quite plant or animal, but definitely not human—that stretches up to the ceiling and emits a rainbow of light. Go ahead, lay down in the “grass” and look up!

During Friday Nights @ OMCA (5–9 pm Fridays), Nature’s Gift gets a little something extra, too: enter a Cash Bar and Pop-Up Store to level up your vibe. Here are our top six ways to do Nature’s Gift during Friday Nights @ OMCA—or anytime, really!

1. Relax.
After you explore the sculpture and the whole space, settle in! Pull up a bean bag to your favorite spot, wherever it might be. All of the colorful nooks and crannies of the exhibit hall are fair game. Need some Zen? You can definitely meditate here. Or pick a hammock and choose if you want to swing gently or curl up in a cocoon-like wrap that reminds you of the comforts of the womb—it’s literally that comfortable. Curl up, or kick back and let your feet dangle as you bask in the glowing light...we promise it will be the best decision you’ve made all day.

2. Play.
Let your inner kid out. Or let your real kid run wild with wonder and bliss! We love seeing the look of delight fall on the faces of kids of all ages when they realize they can touch the sculpture (touch? In a museum? Yes!), flop onto a cushion, and just let loose and get those wiggles out. Spark your playful side with light-up merch from the Pop-Up Store on Friday Nights, or at the OMCA Store anytime, like LED-activated hula hoops, novelty glasses that create cool visual-effects (think: wearable kaleidoscopes), blinking LED earrings, and glowing yo-yos.

3. Linger.
This is not a fly-by exhibition—the more you linger, the more you get out of it. Nature’s Gift is a literal gift—a moment given to you by the artists FriendsWithYou who created it, to pause, to breathe, and to remember that the purpose of life is really joy. So we hope that you’ll take a break from life’s hurried rush and never-ending inbox alerts, and take a moment to smile, and tap into your joy. Besides cultivating a space for relaxation in a hectic world, there’s another benefit to finding stillness in Nature’s Gift: you get to watch the sculpture’s colors ebb and flow, an experience that falls somewhere between lava lamps of the 1970s and a neon sunset from futuristic outer space (on loop).

4. Gather.
When we say “joy is best when shared,” we mean it! This is a space for everyone, and for the act of gathering together to experience joy and delight. Bring a friend with you and take time to feel what it’s like to be part of this experience with other people—including those you haven’t met. Across the room, you’ll find adults reclining on beanbags and talking quietly, children exploring with gleeful abandon, and folks testing out blinking merch—all centered around Nature’s Gift. There’s space for all kinds of experiences here, and we welcome your approach to the space.

5. Return.
We love to hear that visitors are coming back inside Nature’s Gift multiple times during their visit. (We also hear that OMCA Staff are escaping there to claim some personal relaxation time.) It’s a great space to calm and collect yourself, especially after seeing other exhibitions on view or taking in sights and sounds of Friday Nights @ OMCA. On Fridays, you can recharge after dinner before heading back out to the 10th Street Amphitheater for a dance lesson, or stay put in your colorful Zen bubble until you’re ready to party with the 7 pm band.

6. Share!
Spread the love and the joy using #JoyIsBestWhenShared on social media. At OMCA, we know the world needs a little extra dose of joy right now. Help be that light, and have fun while you do.

Nature’s Gift: Humans, Friends & the Unknown is on view at the Oakland Museum of California through January 21, 2018. Buy tickets today!