Staff editor Isabelle Molinari shares her recommendations for how to expand your art knowledge and tap into your creative side - all from the comfort of your laptop.
In the era of COVID-19, so much is inaccessible. Coffee with friends, sporting events and even a simple trip to the grocery store have been replaced with some mediocre, online version. This is such a strange time in the world, where we are all cut off from ‘normal’ and have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. We have so much time, we should be able to do anything we want but nothing seems to be available. However, in the midst of this global conversion to an internet-based life, some things are now more accessible than ever. There are more online courses and tutorials available than ever before. Certifications from companies like Coursera and Alison are available from the comfort of your bed and you can sit on your couch while RuPaul teaches you about self-expression with MasterClass. For the first time, maybe ever, the Met Opera costs the same as local theatre productions and some artists are streaming free concerts so you can enjoy them from home. Consider this as an opportunity to explore and grow, especially in the world of art. Below you can find some of our recommendations for how to stay involved in the arts during this time and tap into your creative side.
Go Global or Nowhere at All
The benefit of living in an online world is that there are many fewer limitations on where our entertainment has to come from. Google Arts & Culture opens doors to museum exhibitions, famous places, and famous artwork worldwide, and there is something for everyone. You can stand on top of some of the most famous icons, like the Taj Mahal and the Effiel Tower. Through collaborations with groups like the Met and KCI, Google has gathered a whole exhibit on how culture affects what we wear with videos on fashion trends and connections with paintings and other art forms. Yet another collection explores the theme of Space Exploration with photographs from over 5 different museums across the globe. There are also exhibitions that do not have a physical space at all such as @platformprodco and @guts_gallery. Platform, an online festival with work specifically for online production, is still available on YouTube, and Guts Gallery is a space for underrepresented contemporary artists to be showcased. In this time of total isolation, there is an opportunity to branch out and see things that otherwise might just be bucket list items. The world is coming to us through the computer screen at a fraction of the cost and on our schedule.
Many artists and creatives have not been able to do their usual projects. Luckily, there are various online collaborations available for all types of creatives. The Open Online Theatre is based on the concept of co-creation, allowing the audience to be actively involved in the production and how it flows. Facebook has also become a place for artists to share their work with projects like The Quarantine Art Exhibition. Take advantage of this chance to become part of a global art community and work alongside artists of all kinds.
Find your Creative Side
If there ever was a time to try your hand at something, it is now. Read a play and allow your creative side to run wild - set the stage, imagine who you would cast, and put on the show in your mind. Even better, dabble in the visual arts you usually shy away from and draw the scenery. Get in touch with your inner child and order some kid’s clay for a few pounds at Ryman and build your set or create a sculpture. As students, there is so little extra time, so this is a prime chance to discover a talent you didn’t know you had or an activity that brings you joy.
Learn a Little
While we make time in our busy lives for seeing a show or listening to a concert, we don’t often make time to learn about it. Take a free course on music theory or do some research on your favourite shows that you actually don’t know that much about. Watch YouTube videos of your favourite artists talking about their inspirations or how they created their first piece of music or study up on a period of art you’ve never heard of. Information is low-cost and accessible, so why not read, watch, and listen!
Even with virtual theatre and museums, the biggest missing factor is fellow audience members, cast members, and creators. To fill this gap, consider social media groups that allow you to engage with others, screen share with your friends on a Zoom call and watch a show, or start a book club for plays or any book that makes you happy. You may not be able to travel to Italy or Brazil right now, but the internet brings The Uffizi and Christ the Redeemer closer, even if they are not the same. Consider FaceTiming a friend and plan a day of trips through famous museums of the world.
Art is an incredible source of connectivity and in a world so starved for connection, it only makes sense that art provides a solution for that. When this pandemic has passed, we will all walk out as different people. Every person has experienced this in a different way. Some have had the chance to learn and grow, while others have had to take on more responsibility for their family’s well being. Art is a way to express all of this, all of the sadness, joy, and anger. If we have learned anything over the last few months, it is that physical connection is a luxury, but also that so much more is possible online then we ever thought. Even after COVID-19 has passed, there will be a place for online arts, for those who cannot leave their homes or cannot travel. There can no longer be the argument that art can only be enjoyed in-person, even though it is a different experience, because artists have come together in ways that were never before possible. The world of art is rapidly growing and changing and there is no better time to get on board!