With venues and arts institutions rapidly closing around the world, you might be feeling the sting of missing out on those gallery trips, gigs, and museum visits that keep spirits high in normal times.
However, just because you’re staying at home for the foreseeable, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy great culture. Many venues and artists are turning their work online to reach a whole new audience in the era of social distancing.
Here are five great ways to get your cultural fix, from the comfort of your own home.
Explore an art gallery
Thanks to Google’s arts and culture initiative, many of the world’s best galleries have their collections up to peruse from your computer (as well as on their own websites).
- The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has almost 300 masterworks free to explore.
- Washington’s National Gallery of Art can be explored here.
- Florence’s legendary Uffizi Gallery – including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus – can be found online here.
- You can wander through the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
- The British Museum in London has its own timeline of the world.
Watch a concert
Even as venues shut, musicians and venues have started livestreaming performances to stay connected to fans.
- The Metropolitan Opera in New York is streaming nightly performances, only available until the next day.
- The Vienesse State Opera is offering livestreams of its latest shows.
- London’s perenially esoteric Cafe Oto has put streams of its most recent performances up to watch for free.
- Musicians are turning to Facebook to perform even without venues. Here’s an example of a new online independent musical collective you can check out.
- Meanwhile, pop stars have been using Instagram to perform to fans directly.
Enjoy some comedy
Being able to laugh is crucial to lifting the blues. Fortunately, the comedy world is carrying on, even in the face of venue closures.
- American comic Ian Abramson has committed himself to performing his own version of Saturday Night Live every week until the famous sketch show comes back on the air.
- The Magnet Theatre in New York is streaming its comedy gigs online.
- Comedians have also been using Instagram Live – New York comic Ana McCasland is hosting regular Saturday Night open mics on her channel.
- Podcasts are booming like never before. We recommend the Judge John Hodgman podcast, where the American humorist tackles petty domestic disputes between family and friends.
- Comedians Josie Long and Robin Ince have started hosting their own ‘Stay at Home Festival’ morning show on Youtube.
Get stuck into arthouse movies and documentaries
Always wanted to improve your cine-literacy, but never had the time? There are many places online to watch independent and experimental film, if you know where to look.
- Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film Festival, one of the world’s leading documentary events, have made their archive free to watch.
- YouTube is a treasure trove of great documentaries and films. Here’s a playlist of electronic music documentaries to start with.
- We also recommend John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and Glen Gould’s The Idea of North.
- The BFI has an extensive collection of archive films available to watch for free on their website.
- UbuWeb is a vast resource of experimental video and audio, all available for free.
Take a cultural course
FutureLearn have a selection of free online courses on culture and media that can help to keep your brain active and engaged, even when stuck at home all day.
- Butoh is a form of dance theatre unique to Japan. Keio University’s course Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance examines butoh and how it engages with Western culture.
- The University of Wollongong’s The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling is a two-week course that can give you the skills you need to start your own hit podcast.
- If you love children’s culture, or are a parent who wants to know more about how to keep your child entertained, the University of York have a month-long course for you: Pictures of Youth: An Introduction to Children’s Visual Culture.
- Maybe you’ve been suddenly struck by a great idea for a movie? Or you’ve been watching your favourite flicks, and want to know why their stories work so well? UEA’s An Introduction to Screenwriting course will help you channel your inner Billy Wilder.
- Making music can be a great way to stay positive and boost your mental wellbeing. The University of Wollongong have a short course designed to help you Write Your First Song.