Everything is looking completely different than it did two days ago, let alone a week ago. Most of us are facing a daunting few weeks at home, and are wondering how we'll stay busy and not get cabin fever. There are plenty of articles out there currently with ideas for staying occupied — whether it's just you, you and a pet, you and the kids — it's all there online.
But I've been wondering how we can bring the arts home with us.
Here are a few things that I've thought up to keep our cultural adventures alive from home:
1. Architecture Walk
If you aren't under a restrictive quarantine, take the opportunity you have now to walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the architectural styles around you. Stop by your local coffee shop or make a to-go cup at home and walk around one of the interesting neighborhoods nearby. It will get you out of the house, give you some fresh air, and is a great way to remember how much art is in your own backyard! I've actually been meaning to do a full blog on this, and now seems like the perfect time to write it.
2. Become an artist
My artistic capabilities lie more in reading and playing music than in drawing or painting — but now is just as good a time as any to learn how to draw. Try to replicate one of your favorite artworks or look up videos to learn how to draw in a certain style. There are incredibly talented artists out there who have shared their abilities with the world online and can teach you with step-by-step methods. Stick figure cartoons are totally acceptable too 🙂
3. Listen to an art podcast
The podcast world has exploded in the past few years, and I can definitely say that I've learned a lot by listening to a variety of them. NPR created the "Last Seen" podcast which details the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist. I actually haven't even listened to it yet, but it's going on the list for this week! Listen here or search for it on your favorite podcast app. From Art History Babes to Museums in Strange Places to History on Fire — search for art related podcasts and you'll learn about some amazing artworks and artists. Any other podcasts you'd recommend? Share in the comments below!
4. Hit the Books
Whether you have several books that have been piling up unread over the past few years on your bookshelf, or a new one you just ordered — go for it, bookworm! I use the OverDrive App on my phone and iPad to connect to my local library and download books. You will need a library card from your local branch, so if you're willing to make one errand outside, I suggest going to your library. Check your local area's public library website to see 1) where the closest branch is to you that offers library cards and 2) what kind of ID you'll need to get the card (it's usually incredibly easy). Once you have that, settle in at home with your own online portal to the library!
5. Upcoming Exhibits
Now, I know we aren't sure when our favorite places will reopen or when we'll be able to reschedule a trip for quite yet. But, we have the chance now to plan that perfect trip and to look into what a day at a new museum could look like. Sometimes, I find the planning piece the most difficult part of actually getting to a museum that isn't in Boston, but once I decide and make a plan for how the day will look like, it becomes so much easier to actually do it. Plan away and then when we're able to move a bit more freely you'll have a wonderful day (or trip) already planned!
6. Support Small + Local
Smaller museums and institutions will certainly be hurting, and likely more than the better-known "big brand" galleries. Think about purchasing a membership — and yes, I know you won't be able to reap the physical benefits of visiting immediately, but it'll be waiting for you when you can. Join a mailing list so you don't miss out on that next exhibit you want to see and share their posts on social media! Most museums have incredible digital collections and all of them are working hard to share those collections with us for FREE online right now. Learn online, marvel at the amazing objects in these collections, and share your favorites.
7. Be Social
...with social media. It's how we're all feeling connected right now. Have a favorite photo from a recent trip? An artwork you just saw recently? Share with your friends and me on Instagram with hashtag #muselife and we'll all feel a bit more together.
I realize that it's much easier said than done to not get stressed and focus on learning new skills, reading, etc. It's undeniable that everyone will be impacted in some way by this virus but it isn't a reason to go into a full blown panic. Be smart, take this seriously, and figure out how you can help others who are less fortunate. And in between washing your hands and trying to not be too nervous about the outcome (I fully recommend just taking this day by day), I hope the list above offers some positive, creative outlets.