Along with what seems like everything else from bars and restaurants to theaters and gyms in Los Angeles, just about every museum, large and small art center, and library is closed for the next few weeks. Many independent galleries, and even some bookstores, are open “by appointment,” but it’s not clear they actually want to see anyone in person right now, and besides, all of that could change abruptly if the city’s guidelines evolve in a Bay Area-style “shelter in place” direction.
Thus, it is with our artsy, staying-in friends in mind that for the near future, the Weekly’s arts coverage will focus on free and affordable options for beaming exciting arts content directly into your home. We’ll point toward arts-specific streaming platforms, to free opera and theater broadcasts, to IGTV virtual openings and studio visits, online film festivals, museums with fancy YouTube channels, audio and e-books and classic movies from the library, remote literature and poetry readings, social media platforms amplifying the voices of artists and authors currently missing their planned showcases this season, and so much more. Artists are out there helping keep us sane in these insane times, and we thank them for it.
Below is a list of some great free resources available right now, but/and please follow along on the Arts & Culture Twitter for all-day (and randomly late-night) updates on new and notable streaming art shows, archives, virtual meet-ups, broadcast interviews, and art-community services in Los Angeles — and beyond, because the internet.
Get started tonight!
The Los Angeles Public Library’s physical locations may be temporarily closed, but it offers literally thousands of book and movie titles free to borrow online with your (also free) library card.
Most all of L.A.’s — and actually pretty much the world’s — museums are now posting topical collection highlights and archival materials and video every day on Twitter. There’s even a globally trending #MuseumMomentofZen hashtag that a lot of them are using, where you can find and follow scores of institutional accounts guaranteed to break up your timeline with much needed beauty.
Some museums also offer their own longer-form video content and well-produced virtual tours on their websites, with first-person views that go beyond the collection highlights to engage the architecture and grounds as well as the exhibition rooms, and are often expanded with audio and augmented reality elements. We will tweet the best ones we find, but honestly, you could also just Google “virtual museum tour” and get ready for the artsiest rabbit hole ever.
- MOCA’s YouTube channel actually is pretty epic, with seven years of archived programs, artist and curator talks, video projects, and random surprises — all free online.
- The Getty Museum put together a “starter kit” for those wishing to dive into their considerable online resources during the closure.
- The Hammer has thoughtfully archived video of all their public programs since 2014, which includes artist and curator interviews, authors and performers.
- CAAM’s YouTube channel is full of beautiful short videos featuring their curators and exhibiting artists and other special projects.
- LA Plaza de Culturas y Artes has moved a lot of its talks and courses to the online sphere — including their guided walkthrough of their new Carlos Alamaraz exhibition happening on Thursday, March 19, 5-7 p.m., streaming on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @laplazala.
- For architecture aficionados, the SCI-Arc YouTube channel is a fantastic resource for insights into design.
- MOMA’s YouTube channel is one of the best online video resources for contemporary art content in the world; they also offer a remarkable slate of free online courses on Coursera.
- The Louvre also offers virtual tours on its website — or, as they say, “visites en ligne.”
- New York’s Metropolitan Opera will be offering free digital shows every night at 7:30 p.m. EST from March 16 through March 22.
Be well — and stay safe and artful, everyone.
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