SoCal Museums Step Up To Offer Art And Activities Online

The Autry in Griffith Park offers online experiences while the museum is closed for the COVID-19 outbreak. (Danielle Klebanow Photography)

The COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc on schools, stores, businesses — and events. As concerts, talks and big gatherings get cancelled and people spend more time at home, LAist is temporarily switching our events column to a "nonevents" column to help us through this time of social distancing.

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While arts and cultural institutions around the world have shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many are highlighting their works and programs online. We looked at ways Southern California museums are allowing us to get our art fix while we #museumfromhome.


Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry's extensive collections, which include more than 600,000 objects and cultural materials, are available online. In the coming weeks, the museum's blog and social media accounts will be bringing an inside perspective and spotlight works.

Bowers Museum

Before the outbreak, the Santa Ana-based museum has just opened a blockbuster exhibition, Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic, with a number of related events. While in-person visits are on hold, people are still able to take a look at the digital guide to the exhibition. Use a mobile device (phones not computers) to access the material.

The Broad

While the downtown L.A. museum is developing new content for its site (where guests can already explore the collection), The Broad is encouraging visits to its YouTube page for artist interviews and gallery talks. Watch singer Adele discuss how Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room inspired a live performance or check out The Un-Private Collection a series of conversations with people such as Christopher Wool, Kim Gordon and John Corbett.

California African American Museum

CAAM's YouTube channel includes a collection of all its full-length and social media videos, from artist interviews (Alison Saar, Candace Reels, Cross Colours) to exhibition tours.

California Science Center

The museum has a Stuck at Home Science section that features activities families do with common household supplies. The projects were meant to stave off boredom and promote science education — even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn about light and darkness, ice, plant roots and magic spoons. The activity sheets are free to download in English and Spanish.

Craft Contemporary

Follow the Craft Contemporary museum on Instagram for at-home craft projects along with step-by-step videos in the "Craft At Home" story highlight. The latest project, Flower Pounding, helps release that pent-up quarantine energy.

FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

Like many other museums, FIDM can be found on Google Arts and Culture online, showcasing former exhibitions including The Art of Television Design (2016). The museum also has its entire Unboxing series available in its Instagram highlights, as well as its online collections and blog.

Getty Museum

The Getty's blog, The Iris, has posted the guide, "How to Explore Art While the Getty Galleries Are Closed," which includes a "starter kit" of the Getty's online art, books and videos. Three of the museum's most popular current exhibitions are online: Michelangelo: Mind of the Master, Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq and Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics. Visitors can also browse the institution's art and research collections, listen to art podcasts, watch artist talks and read art books.

Grammy Museum

The museum debuts never-before-released digital recordings of its public programs, releasing a new episode on its website every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Last week, the museum featured discussions and music sets with Scarypoolparty and Yola. Forthcoming conversations and music include Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, Bob Newhart, Brandi Carlile, Greta Van Fleet, Kool & The Gang, Larkin Poe and X Ambassadors. On Sundays and Tuesdays, the museum will also release educational content and lesson plans on its website, covering topics like electronic music production to music of the Civil Rights Movement.

Hammer Museum

The Westwood museum has digital archives of exhibitions and collections with more than 1,100 works by more than 100 artists who taught or studied at UCLA. The online collection includes an expanded archive from Corita Kent as well as Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980. The Hammer also has full videos of past programs including artist Paul McCarthy talking about his work, readings by Jamaica Kincaid and Political Advertising in the U.S. On Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., guests can join in the weekly Mindful Awareness Meditation via Zoom.

ICA LA

The museum has a pretty cool virtual tour available in its "visit" section. We checked out Maryam Jafri's exhibition room from last year's I Drank the Kool-Aid, but Didn't Inhale as well as Lucas Blalock's An Enormous Oar.

LACMA

The mid-Wilshire museum has extensive online collections and publications as well as great videos on its YouTube channel, including one featuring the late John Baldessari, narrated by Tom Waits. For families with kids at home, LACMA also offers free education resources for all ages. Their robust social media channels feature collection highlights and great memes.

Lancaster Museum of Art and History

MOAH offers Young Artist Workshop tutorials, a virtual tour of its latest exhibition, The Light of Space, and MOAH publications. Follow the museum on Facebook for more art and behind-the-scenes information.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes hosted an online walkthrough of its newest exhibition, 'Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form,' which is available to watch. (Echo Park (Falling Angels) by Carlos Almaraz, courtesy of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes)

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Downtown L.A.'s LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes hosted an online walkthrough of its newest exhibition, Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form, during what would have been its opening reception. The exhibition features early and little-seen drawings, sketches and paintings by the pioneering Chicano artist. The presentation, led by his widow Elsa Flores Almaraz and curator Susana Smith Bautista, is available on LA Plaza's Facebook.

Laguna Art Museum

The museum's LAM+LAB online series offers art exploration and activities for all ages, inspired by its collection. Download and create the "Magu Map," a collaborative sculpture inspired by Gilbert Magu Lujan's Cruising Turtle Island or create Fairytale Zines, inspired by Titi, Nunu, & Klembolo: Helena Modjeska's Fairy Tale Book. Once finished, artists are asked to post to Instagram and tag LAM.

MOCA

The museum launches #VirtualMOCA today (Monday, March 23) with weekly digital programming, bringing ideas on collaborative education, community support and movie nights. In addition, visitors can already view exhibition images and reading materials on its website, as well as all its public programs, artist interviews and special studio visits available on MOCA TV on YouTube.

MOLAA Art

While the Long Beach museum is dark, they're highlighting works by female artists in its permanent collection for Women's History Month on Instagram. The museum is also asking people to share creative projects and ideas through the hashtag #MOLAAConnects.

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center

We're not sure how this squares with the "stay at home" order, so check with The Muck before you go: Every Tuesday Morning (starting this week), the Fullerton museum will have a drive-through Art Kit Kiosk in the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Parents can pick up a new, free art project each week (designed by Muck Master Artists Marsha Judd and Willie Tabata) without leaving the car.

Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits Museum and the William S. Hart Museum

The L.A. County museums have launched #NHMLAC Connects, a new hub that houses content from the three institutions. Learn about dinosaurs, nature and how L.A.'s streets were named.

Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon offers step-by-step art projects for children inspired by the museum's collection. Create a telescope viewfinder, wire portraits and pattern play. The school curriculum packets developed for teachers can be used for homeschooling, too. For those interested in art history, the museum offers videos and lectures including "Ellsworth Kelly: From New York to Paris and Back Again, Thrice" and "Titian's "Lady in White": A Mistress of the Artist's Soul."

Skirball Cultural Center

Follow the Skirball's Instagram and Facebook, where over the next few weeks, the center will share collection spotlights, behind-the-scenes looks with curators, art projects, performances by Noah's Ark gallery educators, shared playlists and recommended readings.

View highlights from the Wende Museum's 'The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain' online. (Courtesy of the Wende Museum)

Wende Museum

While the Culver City museum is temporarily closed, online resources for visitors include videos and walk-throughs of its current exhibition, The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain. The site also spotlights a collection of Zsolnay ceramics and access to catalogs from past exhibitions. Follow the museum on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for other art highlights.