Boston art lovers will have a wide variety of options this summer, so there’s no excuse for skimping on the culture. From fine art in the city’s best museums to waterfront concerts and weekend-long photography festivals, there’s an art event for you. Forget seeking solace from the heat in a movie theater. Check out some of our summertime recommendations, and get your art on.

Around the World in Watercolor at the MFA (credit: Museum of Fine Arts)

Around the World in Watercolor, 1860-1920

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
July 16, 2011 – March 4, 2012
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Adults: $20; Seniors and Students: $18; Members: FREE

Even if you can’t take a vacation this summer, this exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts can take you to colorful places, no passport required. “Around the World in Watercolor, 1860-1920” features works by brilliant American watercolorists such as John La Farge, Thomas Moran, Henry Roderick Newman, Joseph Lindon Smith, all of whom sought adventure and inspiration for their art by traveling to places such as Greece, Egypt, Samoa and Japan. These pieces, each one practically sparkling with color, demonstrate why many consider works in this medium America’s most original artistic contribution.

Charlie Chaplin, The Kid (credit: MASS MoCA)

Charlie Chaplin The Kid with Live Score by Marc Ribot

Saturday, 9:00pm, July 9, 2011
87 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA
Advance: $15; Day of show: $19, Students: $10

Avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot, who has collaborated with music legends Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and John Zorn, now collaborates with another legend — Charlie Chaplin. Ribot breathes new life into the Chaplin classic with a hypnotizing solo guitar score. And what else is there to say about The Kid? One of Chaplin’s best works, the timeless film will surely tug at the heartstrings (and make you laugh out loud), even if you’ve seen it several times before.

Cambridge River Festival (credit: Cambridge Arts Council)

Cambridge River Festival

Noon – 6:00pm, Saturday, June 4, 2011
Charles River, between John F. Kennedy Street and Western Avenue

A one-day celebration of the arts, the Cambridge River Festival has become an institution, with more than 200,000 flocking to the banks of the Charles River every year for their cultural fix of jazz, folk, Latin and world music, dance and theater performances. This year, the festival features the New World Jazz Composers Octet, who will present music from their latest project, Transitions; Big Nazo, an audience-interactive troupe that employs puppetry and sculpture to create fantastic alien figures; and the African dance company Benkadi, whose energy and spirit will surely keep the party going — rain or shine.

Flash Forward Festival (credit:

Flash Forward Festival Boston

Fairmont Battery Wharf
Noon – 7:00pm, June 2-5, 2011

Get your DSLRs charged and ready. The Flash Forward Festival comes to Boston, showcasing the best contemporary photography from Canada, the UK and the US. Taking place across four days at the Fairmont Battery Wharf, the festival features free programs such as public art installations lectures, panel discussions, and networking opportunities with industry professionals, gallerists, and other fellow photography buffs. And have we mentioned that it’s free to the public?

Berklee Summer in the City, Julia Easterlin (credit:

Berklee Summer in the City: 2011 Summer Concert Series

June 5 – August 20, 2011
Admission prices vary

Whether you’re into jazz, pop country, or Latin music, you’re sure to find a Berklee concert to enjoy this summer. From Kendall Square in Cambridge and Derby Square in Salem, to Georges Island and the ICA, Berklee musicians (alumni, faculty and students) will be at various venues all over Boston (and other cities) to do what they do best. Performers include award-winning singer/songwriter Julia Easterlin (who will also be playing at Lollapalooza in Chicago this summer), saxophonist Grace Kelly, and Berklee faculty member Livingston Taylor. Check out the website for a complete schedule of performances and venues.

Want more art for the summer? Also check out: Beacon Hill Art Walk (June 5), ParkARTS Artists in Residence Craft Workshops (July 7, 14, 21, 28), Films at the Gate, Boston Street Lab (August 25-28), Boston Harbor Islands: Plays in the Park (July 1 – August 12), City Hall Galleries: Streets of Boston Photographs of Everyday Bostonians (July 5 – August 20)