Educational programs at Rienzi seek to inspire all audiences to engage with the collection through a variety of events and activities. Adult learners have the opportunity to attend lectures and gallery talks given by MFAH curators and visiting academics. Docent-led tours and special themed tours provide a more in-depth understanding of the collection and encourage close study of the art objects on view.
Music lovers enjoy opera recitals and period music performed in Rienzi’s intimate galleries. Interactive family programs such as storytime, family days, and art workshops create an engaging learning experience for the youngest visitors. Art students and aspiring artists are invited to Rienzi for periodic sketching. Rienzi’s high-quality educational programs will enlighten and delight every visitor.
Yoga in the Gardens
Sunday, September 27, 2015, 9 a.m.
Celebrate fall in Rienzi’s gardens! Breakfast Yoga Club Houston aims to unite the community through free events at different locations, inviting a variety of teachers to lead fun, engaging yoga practices with live music. Yogis are encouraged to bring their mats, build friendships, and enjoy the energy of the outdoors. After yoga, guests are invited for refreshments and a tour of Rienzi's house and gardens. Admission is free! No reservations necessary. Rain date: October 4, 2015.
Annual Punch Party
Friday, October 23, 2015, 7 p.m.
Travel back to the mid-1700s! This fall celebration invites you to explore historic English punch: a blend of sugar, spirits, citrus, and spices. Also, sample original 18th-century cocktail recipes and modern versions while you socialize on the terrace. Plus, Smilebooth is on hand for photo ops—pompadours welcome! Tickets ($25 for MFAH members and $30 for nonmembers) include punch, light bites, and valet parking. Open to guests 21 and older. Space is limited; advance purchase is recommended. For more information, call 713.639.7800.
Lectures & Discussions
“At Home in the Indian Empire:
Colonial Subjects in 18th-Century British Painting”
Speaker: Betty Joseph, Rice University
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 6:30 p.m.
Treat yourself to an intellectual evening! Enjoy a tour of the Rienzi Collection, followed by a short lecture and group discussion. After the talk, guests are invited to a reception for social time over wine and light bites. Admission is $15 for MFAH members and $18 for nonmembers.
Enjoy great conversations about good books. The two MFAH house museums host a history-book discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The book club meets alternately at Rienzi and Bayou Bend. Admission is free. Info & Schedule
Special Topic Tours
La visita a Rienzi
Tours in Spanish take place on the second Sunday of the month, September through December, at 1:30 p.m.
Discover Rienzi's porcelain splendors. This tour focuses on the development of "white gold" in Europe during the 18th century. Explore the monarchs and vibrant commercial markets that fed the rise of the extraordinary porcelain creations at Meissen, Sèvres, and Worcester. Fueled by rivalry and scientific innovation, these masterpieces reveal the increasing standards of patrons, the diverse function of wares, and the exquisite skill of Europe's modelers, painters, and gilders.
Wednesdays, May 18 & 25, 2016, 6 p.m.
Music at Rienzi
Rienzi partners with Houston Grand Opera Studio (HGO Studio) to host a series of magnificent recitals reverent of 18th-century art and culture. Amidst the gorgeous surroundings of Rienzi's fine art gallery and ballroom, music patrons enjoy a vibrantly aesthetic acoustic experience. A docent-guided walkthrough tour and reception with wine and light hors d'oeuvres are included with admission.
Houston Grand Opera Studio
Audiences are invited to experience the exceptional talents of up-and-coming artists from Houston Grand Opera Studio. Developed thematically, each performance features a repertoire of works by renowned composers and surprise talents, selected for your enjoyment by HGO Studio members. Admission is $40. Tickets include valet parking and a wine reception. The house opens for tours 45 minutes before each recital. Season passes are available from Houston Grand Opera.
2015–2016 HGO Studio Performance Schedule
(more details and tickets at mfah.org/calendar)
• Thursday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, November 15, 5 p.m.
• Friday, March 18, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, March 20, 5 p.m.
• Thursday, May 5, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, May 8, 5 p.m.
The Houston Grand Opera Studio Series is underwritten by a generous grant from the Alkek and Williams Foundation.
Looking for writing inspiration? Rienzi joins together with the Museum and Bayou Bend to host a bimonthly writing group. Each session focuses on an artwork, artist, or theme in the art collections or exhibitions. The program begins with an introduction to an artwork, followed by a reading of poetry or prose. Participants then have "quiet time" to write and respond to the subject. The group concludes with an opportunity to share their written work and receive informal feedback. Admission: $10 MFAH members; $15 nonmembers, plus general admission at each location
• Sunday, September 27, 2015 | 3:30 p.m. | Rienzi
• Sunday, November 8, 2015 | 3:30 p.m. | Bayou Bend
• Sunday, January 24, 2016 | 3:30 p.m. | MFAH
More info and tickets at mfah.org/calendar
Sunday Garden Photography
On Sunday afternoons, you're invited to visit Rienzi's gardens and capture their oasis-in-the-city beauty from behind the lens. Snap photos of the colorful flowers, lush green spaces, interesting architectural details, and eclectic statues. Use #rienzigardens to share your pics on social media!
Admission is free. Call 713.639.7800. No professional photography or tripods, please. Check mfah.org/calendar for more information and occasional cancellations.
Sketching in the Galleries
On Wednesday afternoons, artists of all ages are welcome to draw from 18th- and 19th-century decorative-arts objects in the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles during Rienzi’s open sketching hours, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The galleries hold treasures for every artist: space and light, interior design, historical narrative, decorative motifs, reflective surfaces, intriguing shapes, and form inspired by function. Check mfah.org/calendar for occasional cancellations. Included with Rienzi admission.
Programs for Children & Families
Sunday, October 18, 2015, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 17, 2016, 1 p.m.
Enjoy performances and participate in art workshops, gallery games, and a garden scavenger hunt on the grounds of Rienzi. These family events, presented jointly with Bayou Bend, feature complimentary transportation between the two house museums. Admission is free—drop in!
Selected mornings: Monday holidays, Spring Break, June & July
Introduce children to the magic of art and literature in an intimate, house-museum setting. Storytime Tours are a fun and interactive activity featuring stories related to themes highlighted in the Rienzi Collection. Families are welcome to bring picnic lunches to enjoy in the gardens after the tour. Admission is free. Reservations are suggested, but drop-ins are welcome. Call 713.639.7800 for more information. Recommended ages: 3+
Summer Fine Arts Workshops
Selected Sunday afternoons: June & July
Families come together to create art, write stories and poems, and watch performances inspired by the Rienzi Collection. Admission is free. Space is limited. Call 713.639.7800 for reservations. Recommended ages: 4+
Rienzi has been a featured stop on the River Oaks Garden Club’s Azalea Trail since 1999. The house and 4.4 acres of beautiful gardens are open to all ages.
The annual Azalea Trail takes place in early March. For tickets and information, visit riveroaksgardenclub.org or call 713.523.2483.