Arts & Culture in a time of Social Distance

I love visiting museums, watching theater, listening to symphonies, and seeing guest speakers discuss engaging topics. Now that we are ordered to stay home, my tickets for events scheduled these upcoming months have been rescheduled or cancelled. Despite these cancellations, closings, and rescheduling,  I will continue to engage in various arts and culture activities remotely.  If you are looking for more arts and culture to add to your daily listening and screenings, here are six websites that allow you to connect with these experiences.

  1. Google Arts & Culture is a great place to explore. My daughter and I spent a week exploring The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks in Utah, Alaska, Florida, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Each place allowed us to listen to interviews with park rangers, explore amazing places in the park with a 360 degree virtual tour, and see other magnificent videos of wildlife, flowing lava in Hawaii, and more. There are art collections and even space travel on this website arranged by themes, virtual tours, collections, and street views.

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2. In New York City the 92nd Street Y has offered so many wonderful programs, lectures, speakers, classical music, and readings. Unfortunately this center is currently closed, but you can still access some of their archived arts and culture events. This past week I listened to interviews with the cast of Schitt’s Creek and another interview with Lizzo. Check out the 92nd Street Y archives for lots more.

3. I miss Broadway theater so much and I have found that you can watch Broadway online. Some shows are streaming on Netflix like American Son, Sweeney Todd and Shrek the Musical,  others like SpongeBob Musical and Fiddler on the Roof on Amazon Prime, and a few classic productions are on BroadwayHD like the King and I, Cats, and Les Miserables. For a complete list and links, check out this article fromBroadway.com. If you just want to hear the music, BroadwayWorld partnered with Broadway performers to launch a series of “Living Room Concerts” to bring video performances direct to you from the living rooms of Broadway performers. The first video is from Jagged Little Pill’s Kathryn Gallagher, performing “You Learn.”

4. All of our museums are closed but that does not mean you cannot view current exhibitions. You can follow many of these museums on social media or visit museum websites. The Getty Museum in California wrote an article “How to Explore Art While the Getty Galleries Are Closed” for virtual visits and to keep people’s spirits up. There are podcasts, online exhibits, books, and resources that anyone can access to learn, view and interact with art, art history, and culture. In fact, if you haven’t seen or heard about the Getty’s art challenge for people at home, check it out on Twitter and get involved. Here is the challenge: Recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.

The images people have shared have been amazing.

5. Open Culture is another resource that provides free movies, audio books, online courses. You can even find book recommendations from all different people who are known as experts in their fields like Carl Sagan, Henry Miller, and feminist reading lists. For example, Neil DeGrasse Tyson lists “8 books Every Intelligent Person Should Read.”  I now have a few more books to add to my to-be-read list.

6. We Are Teachers has provided “The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities.” So many amazing authors, illustrators, and artists are sharing their work online. Some are reading aloud and others are offering writing prompts and drawing lessons. You can watch them all at once or take them in small bites. Those of you who grew up with Reading Rainbow, remember host and creator, LeVar Burton. Well, his podcast LeVar Burton Reads” is a collection of stories from all different authors and for all different ages. I cannot wait for him to read aloud Jason Reynolds’ Look Both Ways this spring.

Bottom line, there are so many amazing resources at our fingertips to keep us engaged with arts, culture, intellectual conversations, and rich experiences. Stay curious, be well, and be safe.

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