The Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts in Jamaica Plain is throwing itself a 340th birthday yard party this Friday, July 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The family-friendly evening will include a live musical performance by the Funky Bubblers, cake and ice cream from JP’s own FoMu Alternative Ice Cream and Monumental Cupcakes, an appearance by the Jamaica Mi Hungry food truck, and activities for kids including making T-shirts and party hats.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, picnic blankets and cash for activities and refreshments. The party is sponsored by FoMu and Jamaica Plain Porchfest.
The Eliot School, which is located at 24 Eliot St. in Jamaica Plain, offers crafts and fine arts classes for all ages. In tandem with its 340th birthday, a traveling exhibition is documenting the long history of the school through the fall. For a full schedule, visit the Eliot School’s website. Here’s a sampling of what you might learn:
In 1676, a group of local residents donated corn and land to support a school in Jamaica Plain. That year marked the end of King Philip’s War. In 1689, Rev. John Eliot, known as Minister to the Indians, endowed the school with an additional 75 acres, with the provision that it educate Native Americans and Africans as well as colonial children. For the next two centuries, it was a grammar school, adapting to the times.
Beginning in the late 19th century, the Eliot School turned increasingly to the arts. In 1874, it left the public school system and by the late 1880s had added sewing and carpentry classes. Wood carving flourished. Plumbing, basketry and millinery also had their day. The school offered manual training for schoolteachers, instruction for adults, and classes for children both after school and during school time. Throughout the 20th century, students attended the Eliot School “to satisfy that instinctive desire of human beings to create,” and as “relaxation from their sedentary vocations.”
Today, we continue to offer classes to people of all ages in fine and applied arts. We maintain an active relationship with Boston Public Schools, and still provide an outlet for people to relax from sedentary vocations and satisfy their need for creative expression.