Arts and Culture Recommendations

WETA Arts is a half-hour magazine-style arts and culture series showcasing local arts and artists. And now, the WETA Arts Team spotlights arts you can access right from your computer at home.

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Upcoming Episode of WETA Arts

WETA Arts September 2021: An Artful Return

Explore the architectural wonders of DC's revitalized public libraries with special guests like Washington Post critic Philip Kennicott and former DC Mayor Anthony Williams. The Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial is back, and GALA Hispanic Theatre’s executive director talks with host Felicia Curry about how, and why, GALA was among the first to reopen during the pandemic.

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Featured on WETA Arts Special Edition

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Julia Dzikiewicz

Visual Arts: You can now check out more of Julia’s works online. And don’t forget to stay tuned to her Instagram and Facebook for more news on art exhibits and close-ups of her projects. 

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Olney Theatre

Share Stories: Quarantine has been a strange experience for many, and that’s why Olney Theatre is inviting everyone to share their story: You can submit your own 3-minute story about life under quarantine, or listen to other contributor’s submissions on their blog.

Online Classes: Olney Theatre Center (OTC) is offering a wide variety of online classes for all ages over Zoom! Topics include theatre games, crafting, Shakespeare, audition tips, and more. Classes are free—all you need to do is pre-register on OTC’s website.

Video Performances: If you’re missing the Olney Theatre’s stage, head over to their Facebook page to find a selection of musical numbers from past Olney productions like OnceSinging in the Rain, and Cabaret!

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The Phillips Collection

Artwork Meditation: If you’re looking for a brief moment of relaxation in these stressful times, check out the Phillips Collection’s Contemplation Audio Guide. These short, 10-minute audio guides led by meditation instructor Elizabeth Cantor will allow you to take time for yourself and connect with some of the collection’s most celebrated artwork. For more art-based contemplation, follow the hashtag #MuseumMomentofZen on Instagram and Twitter!

Online Exhibits: Just because the Phillips Collection is temporarily closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still experience their impressive collection of art. The Phillips Collection’s YouTube channel features in-depth explorations of previous and current exhibits, such as Riffs and Relations: African Artists and the European Modernist Tradition and Moira Dyer: Back in Business. You can also check out these exhibits and others on their Google Arts & Culture page. 

Stay Connected: For more information on the Phillips Collection, head over to their Stay Connected webpage, where you can find links to social media, art challenges, blog posts, and more!  

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Mosaic Theater Company of DC

Theatre Conversations: On Fridays, don’t miss Mosaic Theater’s creative conversations!

Reading Discussions: Check out Peace Cafes for in-depth discussions analyzing play excerpts and how real-life conflicts shape theater. You can also sign up for Mosaic Theater’s Book Club, where you can read and engage with a first-person perspective novel related to Mosaic Theater’s Season 6. Don’t forget to RSVP for both of these events!

Virtual Series: To register for these events and more, head over to the Mosaic Alive’s website, dedicated to featuring all of Mosaic Theater’s virtual opportunities. You can also head over to their Facebook page to check out more of their content, including their incredible Encountering Emmett series. 

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Elena Lacayo

Streaming Music: You can listen to more of Elena’s music from her band, Elena & Los Fulanos, through Spotify. And keep up with announcements of future projects—as well as ways to show support for the band—by checking out their website

Virtual Events: Don’t miss any virtual concerts! For information on her and her band’s virtual involvement, check out FacebookInstagram, and YouTube for more news on upcoming events.

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Ford’s Theatre

Distance Learning: Learn about Lincoln’s assassination, the Ford’s Theatre’s history, and more through Ford’s expanded Digital Learning programs! Not only can you explore articles and exhibits through the website, but you can now register for one of the many weekly open workshops offered.

Virtual Tours: You can now tour the Ford’s Theatre from your own home! Check out their collaboration with Google Arts and Culture to have a virtual tour of the Ford’s Theatre, the Petersen House, and the museum exhibits. The Petersen House tour includes a virtual reality experience, where you can listen to first-person accounts from the witnesses of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Oratory Project: Ford’s Theatre keeps Lincoln’s words alive through their oratory project, where students learn more, analyze, and perform some of Lincoln’s speeches. If you’re interested in participating, keep an eye out for future registration opportunities on their website! In the meantime, check some empowering showcases from previous projects on Ford’s YouTube channel.

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The King’s Singers

Stay at Home Choir: British acapella vocal ensemble The King’s Singers participated in the Stay at Home Choir, an initiative working to keep the choir community alive during lockdown! You can check out one of their past performances on Twitter

Digital Tour: Join the King's Singers on their first ever #DigitalTour, IDAGIO, ongoing through December 31st. Visit their website to reserve your ticket!

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Adventure Theatre

Virtual Classes: ATMTC Academy’s Elementary Programs are now offering classes online! For kids Grades K-2, check out PLAYlabs, where kids can explore stories two times a week. For Grades 3-5, check out Acting Up, where kids can experiment with creative drama techniques with a professional teaching artist. You can find more information on how to register for classes on the Adventure Theatre’s website, as well as more details on how to audition for the Academy.

Phantom Gala: This year, Adventure Theatre’s annual fundraiser happened online, which means that you can still find outstanding performances from that night! Head over to the Phantom Gala page to check out student stories, concerts, and interviews with members from the Adventure Theatre community!

Performances and Talks: Head over to Adventure Theatre’s Facebook for incredible online performances like On the Wings of a Mariposa, as well as weekly live panels with some of the DMV’s artistic directors. You can also find outstanding submissions from the #WashYourHandsMusical, where performers wash their hands for 20 seconds while singing.

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Round House Theatre

Virtual Events: Join the Round House Theatre for their upcoming Adrienne Kennedy Festival celebrating the work of the African American playwright. In the four-part series beginning November 14th through December 12th, the Round House Theatre will spotlight four of Kennedy’s deeply personal stories. 

For Kids: Round House Theatre is offering virtual programming in acting, movement, design, and play creation for students of all ages.

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Dance Place

Virtual Programming: Dance Place is committed to connecting with the community as safely as possible, hence their upcoming virtual events, including lectures, panels, and performances. You can also catch their Fall 2020 season, FORTITUDE, celebrating 40 years of Dance Place. 

Dance Classes: Dance Place is still offering virtual classes for children and adults with sliding-scale payment options. Adult classes are broadcast live on Zoom almost every day of the week, and their children’s programming offers free classes every other “Fun Friday” and free workshops for the whole family every third Thursday.

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Arena Stage

Gifts of Art: Artists create art no matter what, and Arena Stage is sharing some of their content through their social media pages! Check out actor Nicholas Rodriguez’s singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma!, playwright Craig Lucas reading an excerpt from his play Change Agent, designer Ken MacDonald shares animated set designs from Newsies, and more!

Online Classes: As part of the Gifts of Art, members of the Arena Stage team have started teaching short classes online. Don’t miss music director Laura Bergquist teaching how to sing “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof. And you can also learn the choreography to dance along to it with choreographer Parker Esse!

Community Engagement: Arena Stage’s Costume Shop is also giving back to the community by making masks for Children’s Hospital—they have donated more than 600 masks already! If you are a fan of Arena Stage and would like to contribute back, make sure to check out their Roaring Back fund, where you can donate and find more art resources as well.

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Strathmore

Visual Art Galleries: Just because you can’t come to Strathmore doesn’t mean you can’t visit their visual arts exhibits. Virtual tours for both adults and kids are available on a weekly basis—all you need is a free RSVP!

Creative Writing: For all the bookworms out there, Strathmore offers opportunities like virtual book club meetings and creative writing workshops, all of which you can sign up for on their website.

WETA Arts

Shakespeare Theatre Company

Stay Engaged: If you’re looking for something to do, why not try performing Shakespeare monologues? Check out the #ShakespeareChallenge for some incredible performances! If you’re looking for summer classes, check course offerings and registration dates on their website.

Stay Connected: You can find more information on news and online events from the STC on their webpage, Shakespeare Everywhere

Featured on Around Town: Streaming Edition

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Must-Watch Films

Ken Burns Documentaries:  Ken Burns’ 1994 Emmy-winning documentary series Baseball tells the story of how the sport became an iconic part of America’s popular culture and history. Now, all nine episodes of this epic saga are available for free on PBS.org.

Now On-Demand: You don’t need to leave your house to watch some of this year’s biggest releases! A number of movies are skipping the theaters and premiering online for your quarantine viewing pleasure. On Netflix, check out Residue, a film about gentrification in D.C., and Over the Moon, the latest American-Chinese animated film. You can catch I Am Greta, a film all about the young climate activist Greta Thunberg, and Bad Hair, a crime-comedy-horror film, on Hulu. And don’t miss The Nest, a thriller about a family that relocates from American to England, streaming on VOD platforms beginning November 17th.

Opera Stage

Theater Opportunities

National Theatre at Home: The National Theatre has launched “NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME,” making one of their professionally-recorded shows available to the public on their YouTube page. A new show live streamed and made available for on-demand for 7 days every Thursday.

Art Experiences

Virtual Museums: Virtual tours through museum websites have made it possible for you to explore both the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in D.C. and the Louvre in France on the same day! You can also tour the world of art through the many museum galleries in Google Arts & Culture, such as the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in Brazil, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, and more. Alternatively, turn your living room into a famous gallery with the Art Projector from the Google Arts and Culture App! By simply pointing your smartphone camera at a blank wall, the app will digitally impose your choice of famous artwork in its true-to-life dimensions. 

Online Galleries: Many galleries are making their artwork available for you to access at home. Check out SLAYSIAN, a free digital exhibit showcasing Asian American artists from Chicago and the Midwest. Also head to the NYC’s El Museo del Barrio’s website for EL MUSEO EN TU CASA, a project highlighting past artist interviews and permanent collections. If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, don’t miss mesmerizing virtual reality exhibits like Artland and the Kremer Museum! DC-based artist Mark Kelner has created the Virtual Art Project, in which graphic designers and artists can submit posters that respond directly to challenges set by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Street Art: Being indoors doesn’t mean you can’t access the wonders of street art. If you’re in search of some of Banksy’s murals, check out this list of how to find some of them through Google Street View. And if you’re looking for some DC street art, check out Murals DC, a project featuring over 80 artworks located around the city.

Art Activities: If you’re looking for inspiration, try downloading an Artist Activity Pack from Firstsite’s “Art is where the home is” initiative, featuring contributions from prominent UK artists. These packs require no special materials, and are free to download.

Coloring Sheets: If you’re looking for a new hobby, why not try coloring? Local DC artist Carlos Carmonamedina has released a series of free coloring pages for the DC Is My City project, featuring scenes from Columbia Heights, Takoma Park, Washington Circle, and more.

Music Online

Artist Performances: Even without packed stadiums, major artists are finding creative ways to perform for their fans during quarantine. For even more virtual performances, NPR’s Tiny Desk, the Kennedy Center’s Couch Concerts, or 92nd Street Y’s online concerts. And if you’re still searching for your favorite artists’ live performances, check out Billboard’s website for an ongoing list of artists performing on their own social media accounts. 

Local Performances: In 2020, DC’s own 9:30 Club celebrated its fortieth anniversary. NPR has put together a comprehensive list of past live-streamed concerts dating back to 2005. These audio—and in later years, video— recordings include performances by Bright EyesWilcoBon IverThe National, and more!

Open Mic Nights: Busboys and Poets is carrying on with their open mic nights through their Instagram page! Tune to Busboys on Live! (or sign up yourself!) for poetry slams, music performances, and much more every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday around 8 PM EDT. 

Concerts: Have a few hours to spare? Opera fans can now watch dozens of full-length performances with OperaVision. The platform offers a diverse array of productions from 17 different countries, all free for streaming. The Metropolitan Opera is launching “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” making one of their best performances of the past fourteen years available for streaming on a daily basis. For more online orchestras, check out past performances from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic!

Musical Conversations: Renowned opera singer and arts & health advocate Renée Fleming hosted a series of webinars entitled Music and Mind Live with Renée Fleming, in which she discusses how to use the power of music for health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stream all episodes through the Kennedy Center website.

Theater from Home

Broadway: If you’re missing the Broadway stage, don’t panic—BroadwayHD offers a 7-day free trial for you to stream all of their professionally-recorded shows from your laptop.

Script Readings: The new live-streaming theatre platform Play-Per-View is offering a series of script readings over Zoom, all performed by notable names of the stage and screen. Virtual tickets start at $5, and all proceeds will go towards supporting arts organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The historical Ford’s Theatre is also hosting virtual play readings while their live performances are on hold. If you can’t watch it live on Ford’s Facebook or YouTube, the performance will be archived to watch at your convenience.  

Live Monologues: If you’re in the mood for some never-before-seen content, The 24 Hour Plays’ Viral Monologues series may be your cup of tea: twenty different writers pair up with twenty different actors to write, rehearse, and perform a dramatic monologue, all within 24 hours.

Ballet Classes: If you’re looking for ways to stay active, The Washington Ballet now has live and on-demand classes for adult dancers of all skill levels, and Philadelphia’s contemporary ballet group DanceX is offering for fitness and ballet classes for all ages on Instagram Live.

Theater Challenge: Manhattan Theatre Club is inviting teen theatre enthusiasts to write and perform a one-minute monologue responding to the prompt “You have no idea…”. Select entries are posted on MTC’s Facebook and YouTube pages every Thursday at noon.

For Kids

Art: Artists everywhere have taken this indoor time to share their secrets and help you create art of your own. Artist Trisha Zemp is teaching kids the basics of stop motion animation with her Stop Motion Kids Camp! Just enroll online and get access to a series of fun instructional videos. Check out illustrator Wendy MacNaughton’s #drawtogether, 20-minute art classes for kids every weekday around 10 AM EDT available on her Instagram. 

Music: For professional performances and diverse musical perspectives, check out Lincoln Center’s #ConcertsForKids series! In addition to the large collection already available on their website, new concerts are released every Wednesday at 4:00 pm EDT and Sunday at 11:00 am EDT. For more musical fun, check out the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Kids Corner for educational activities and games, and Chrome Music Lab for interactive musical experiments with rhythmsoundwaves, and more! 

Theater: Produce a play in your living room with the Play at Home project! The Kennedy Center has commissioned ten playwrights from across the country to write a short, kid-friendly play or musical for families to download and perform at home. Broadway Babysitters Playhouse is hosting virtual creativity courses for any Broadway star-in-training to enjoy at home. For more theater classes for kids, head over to Lincoln Center’s Pop-Up Classroom series. Classes are all led by top creatives in the world of theater and dance, and topics include everything from shadow puppet tutorials to line dancing. Watch new classes live on Facebook, or watch any past episode on-demand.

And More: After the Chicago Public Library was forced to close all of its branches, they enlisted the help of select librarians and notable Chicagoans to host virtual readings for young children and their families. Past guests include former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama! Check out their Facebook for new episodes weekdays at 10 am EDT. If you really want to take bedtime stories out of this world, make sure to check out NASA’s Story Time from Space series, where you can listen to real astronauts read fun and educational children’s books from the International Space Station. For as long as schools are closed, kids everywhere can listen to free audiobooks from Audible’s vast collection. Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, seeking a new hobby, or want to dive into a classic, Audible has the audiobook for you!