DTLA Arts Stay Vital by Going Virtual
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.
The Broad has started “The Broad from Home” that includes The Infinite Drone series on YouTube featuring curated soundscapes to accompany videos of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, the Interplay: Poetry and Art series featuring poets responding to artworks in the Broad collection, and Family Workshop at Home: Let’s Make Art featuring new weekly art activity tutorials for families, where kids can create artworks at home inspired by artists from the Broad collection. Check out how to “Make Art Like Barbara Kruger” on IGTV and follow The Broad’s social media channels Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube #TheBroadFromHome to stay up on the latest news.
Also for kids and families, Inner-City Arts is hosting several different Virtual Studio art classes for kids and then sharing the work on their Instagram account.
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.
Love visual art? The Institute of Contemporary Art-Los Angeles (ICA/LA) has two exhibitions on view right now—one of LA-based sculptural artist Ann Green Kelly and another of multimedia artist Ree Morton. Photos of the artworks in both gallery spaces are available online, providing a virtual walk-through of the exhibitions and 360-degree installation views of both shows.
For music lovers, the LA Phil’s Watch & Listen section includes hours of content that you can enjoy online including new videos from their LA Phil at Home series and they are updating their Spotify playlists regularly with music to see you through. And LA Opera has started LAO At Home featuring Living Room Recitals, classic works From The Vault and Opera Family Time.
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.”
The Music Center will be offering five virtual cultural experiences every week, check out their social media channels by following #WeBelieveInArts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And for the fashion-conscious, now is a great time to check out the FIDM Museum and Galleries online exhibits including and The Art of Television Costume Design.
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.