Just a few short weeks ago, who would have imagined that most of L.A.’s cultural institutions would have to close their doors indefinitely due to a global pandemic? Yet, that is where we find ourselves, even here in DTLA. From the Central Library to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the normally bustling Grand Avenue Arts corridor is quiet and mostly empty.
Our arts and culture organizations have come to define Downtown as it has grown into a vibrant residential neighborhood and major tourist destination. Their programs, concerts, festivals, and exhibitions bring people together, build a sense of community, inspire our imaginations, and ignite our creativity. On any given day the numbers and diversity of people taking part in the cultural life of DTLA create energy and excitement that, once you experience it in-person, keeps you coming back again and again.
DTLA arts and culture animates the city. It has become so vibrant that it makes it hard to imagine a moment like the one we are living through, where people are asked to stay home, and away from each other. But even in the face of this, Downtown’s arts and cultural organizations are innovative, resilient and committed to engaging the public. While they have had to temporarily close their physical doors, they have thrown open their virtual doors and said, “Welcome! Come on in.”
So, while you are figuring out how to stay “safer at home”, here are some programs, exhibitions, performances and educational activities offered by DTLA organizations to engage, amuse, and enlighten you in the days ahead.
MOCA has launched Virtual MOCA, daily programming available on moca.org and across MOCA’s social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Mondays are Back to School days, where MOCA educators lead different family-friendly activities through interactive workshops, virtual Talking Tours, and classroom curriculum discussions. Giving Tuesdays will highlight ways we can all help sustain and strengthen our communities. Wednesdays are Past, Present, & Future, where you can look back and reflect on MOCA’s history, past exhibitions, initiatives, programs, and permanent collection. Thursday is Movie Night - a #TBT looks at MOCAtv videos and previously produced video footage. Feel Good Fridays will feature meditation, visual thinking strategies and exercises and educational chats, Artists at Home Saturdays is a takeover series featuring a different artist taking over MOCA’s Instagram account each week and Sunday is Book Club led by Assistant Curator and Manager of Publications Bryan Barcena.
Speaking of opera, The Industry, DTLA’s critically acclaimed experimental opera company, opened its new site-specific opera, Sweet Land, during the first week of the crisis and had to cancel all subsequent performances. A week later they released a beautifully shot video of the show and even the video got a rave review in the LA Times. You can stream the film version of the show online for only $14.99, support the company and experience what reviewer Mark Swed calls “the single best deal in all of opera right now.”
These are just a few of the many, available cultural offerings, with new ones coming online every day.
Even as DTLA’s arts presenters are finding new ways to serve you, they will be facing some serious challenges to keep their doors open now and in the future. So after you enjoy an online experience provided by one of these great organizations, consider making a donation to keep them going through this difficult time.
As we stay “safer at home” these institutions are providing creative ways to connect with each other and the world around us (albeit at a distance). Whether you love music, theater, visual art or all of them, now is a great time to experience DTLA’s world-class culture with a virtual “visit” and – even more importantly - plan on visiting them in-person as soon as that is possible. DTLA is where culture and community come together. You are part of that community, and DTLA’s arts organizations are counting on you to be there when they open.