Last updated May 4, 2020
As we navigate this unprecedented time, people are turning to the arts for comfort, healing and ways to connect. Across the globe, artists and arts organizations are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak with innovation and creativity—providing ways for us to continue celebrating our shared humanity, even when we’re physically separated from one another. In the coming weeks, we’ll be shining the spotlight on the creative sector’s response to this crisis—and how it’s helping to make this uncertain time more manageable for us all. Today, we’re highlighting a sampling of arts organizations bringing you, your friends, family and neighbors a dose of culture to enjoy from the comfort of your home.
Experience museum collections from across the globe
As museums close their doors to the public, many are making their collections accessible online. From your couch you can take a trip around the globe, viewing world-class art from Paris to São Paulo via virtual museum tours from the likes of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. And in place of in-person public programming, many museums are giving audiences access to exclusive content online, like the GRAMMY Museum’s archived artist interviews and the American Museum of Natural History’s recorded tours. For those who simply need a calming moment to balance out their news intake, check out #museummomentofzen (trending on various social media platforms) for a curated collection of relaxing artwork from museums around the globe.
Streaming performances across music genres
From opera to country to hip-hop, the options for free online performances are abundant right now. After cancelling their upcoming operas, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera launched the Nightly Met Opera Streams to “provide grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. For a robust list of philharmonics, opera houses and orchestras providing free streamed performances (and other quarantine-friendly entertainment options) check out this recent AFAR article. And for a regularly updated list of livestreams and virtual concerts, check out this selection curated by Billboard. To find out which permanent Levitt venues and Levitt AMP grantees will be bringing at-home audiences an eclectic mix of live and pre-recorded concerts this month, look no further than May’s guide to virtual Levitt concerts.
Communal artmaking (from afar)
Beyond presenting art, cultural organizations strengthen the social fabric of communities by providing places for people to come together, connect and express their creativity. We love the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fibers’ communal quarantine quilt project (which invites people to create a 12” x 12” section of a community quilt from home), and there’s also a plethora of interactive online dance classes and workshops becoming available, including those offered by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and the Cleveland Ballet Conservatory. Cleveland Ballet Conservatory owner Kerry Skuderin is adapting to support students’ mental health, technique and sense of normalcy, explaining, “This is unknown territory, and we don’t know what is to come, but I have three children of my own and I know how much we need normalcy.” Online classes create a sense of structure for both students and teachers/teaching artists, many of whom are now out of regular work and pay. Countless visual artists and musicians are following suit, offering students of all ages and abilities online lessons. Many art centers are creating new ways for artists to engage with digital audiences—from Levitt AMP grantee the John Michael Kohler Art Center, which is offering virtual dance festivals, senior recitals and artist-in-residence-led creative workshops (like Vanessa Andrew’s “wacky” sustainable fashion DIY sewing project); to Levitt AMP grantee the Brewery Arts Center, which is streaming local artists’ painting and percussion classes; to our friends at ArtsQuest launching ‘ArtsQuest at Home,’ which features a wide and eclectic range of live stream concerts, films, and lessons on salsa, improv comedy, weaving and so much more! Several art schools/universities are offering free college-level online arts courses, as well.
We’re so grateful to all the arts and cultural workers here in the U.S. and around the world for their continued commitment to building our local, national and global communities during this difficult time. COVID-19 has already had a devastating impact on the nonprofit arts sector. These are trying times for us all, but if you’re in a position to do so, please consider supporting your favorite local arts organizations, to help ensure they can continue their valuable work throughout and long past the current crisis.