During this unprecedented time, visiting our favorite museums and enjoying live theatre, musical performances, and events are not possible, but our incredibly creative and hardworking local arts and culture professionals are making extraordinary presentations online. Here is a selection of a few that are sure to inspire.
SFMOMA takes you inside artists’ studios and homes with insightful tours. You’re sure to enjoy videos like photographer Michael Jang’s. Jang takes viewers through his fab San Francisco home and studio, sharing works from his incredible archive—including photographs of the Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, and Robin Williams.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Montalvo Arts Center is bringing curatorial essays, photos, and video interviews with artists to life on its website. Enjoy such offerings as What Poets Can Do: An Exchange Between Poets Ariana Reines and Julian Talamantez Brolaski.
THE IMPRESSARIO: DEGAS or TISSOT?
San Francisco’s Legion of Honor has a host of fascinating videos and articles online. One of the most compelling is James Tissot: Fashion & Faith—the first major reassessment of Tissot’s career in over 20 years. New scholarship on the artist presented in this international retrospective demonstrates that even Tissot’s most fanciful society paintings reveal rich and complex commentary on the 19th-century life. This reassessment also inspired scholars to explore the authorship of another work in the Fine Arts Museums’ collection: The Impresario. The painting is attributed to Tissot’s fellow Frenchman and friend Edgar Degas. Art historian Anthea Callen outlines some issues surrounding its attribution, and questions if this Degas might actually be a Tissot?
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS:
THE RIDDLES OF PALO ALTO SPRING
Go beyond the ruffled dresses, striped socks, and strange expressions and learn the mysteries behind Palo Alto Spring, the iconic painting of Leland Stanford, Jr.’s 10th birthday party in the permanent collection of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. This video offers a fascinating glimpse into young Stanford, Jr.’s life.
FRIDA KAHLO’S CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY
The deYoung’s website takes a fascinating look at artist and icon Frida Kahlo and how she achieved rare, almost universal, acclaim. In a society often obsessed with tearing down the walls of the private self, Kahlo is the very embodiment of the ethos du jour. The choices she made reflected an intuitive ability to use a bold visual identity to situate herself in the art world at a time when women artists were fighting to win recognition for their work, and, in her case, recognition as an autonomous figure distinct from her famous husband. For someone whose entire oeuvre was “heart on sleeve,” why would her wardrobe be any different?
IT ALL STARTED WITH A MOUSE
The delightful Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio shares the very personal life story of the man who became a global household name. The museum’s website offers an intriguing look that will whet your appetite to visit. Learn the story behind the legendary mouse—including how he earned the name “Mickey.”
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION
Discover the stories behind the artists and art in the San José Museum of Art’s impressive 2,500-work modern and contemporary art collection. Delve deep into fascinating works like San Mateo artist Amy Ellingson’s Variation and Mutation—a stunning abstract piece.
LEVI STRAUSS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN STYLE
The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents an online version of its popular exhibit Levi Strauss: A History of American Style. Take a virtual tour starting in 1873, at the end of the California Gold Rush, when Levi Strauss & Co. obtained a patent with tailor Jacob Davis for the process of putting metal rivets in men’s denim work pants to increase their durability. It was the birth of the blue jean.
OPERA IS ON
The theater lights may be off, but San Francisco Opera has launched Opera is ON to provide comfort and relief. Tune in each day for an “Ode to Joy” performance, backstage stories, artist interviews—even workout playlists.
THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON
While live performances of TheatreWorks’ They Promised Her the Moon have been cancelled, the TheatreWorks team has worked with Actors Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, United Scenic Artists, and playwright Laurel Ollstein to bring the show into your home.
The artists of Opera San José are performing from their own homes and the music is exquisite. Log onto to Opera San José’s website for treats including Eugene Brancoveanu’s fiery rendition of “Hai gia Vinta,” from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER
San Francisco’s A.C.T. performances have been cancelled, but their acting program is alive online. Students in grades 3 – 12 can sign up online for A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory—an internationally recognized professional theater training program.
Many San Francisco Symphony performances will be rescheduled. In the meantime, indulge in exquisite music with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score television series that is now available for free global online streaming.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
Stanford Live’s extraordinary Spring line-up is online. Revel in musical performances from artists including Lang Lang, Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, Max Richter, Gong Linna, Daniel Caesar, and Oysterhead. There are also fantastic lectures including a one-on-one conversation with Neil Gaiman and author Margaret Atwood and comedic performances including one with SNL alum Colin Quinn.
KEEP ON EXPLORING + EXPERIMENTING
The Exploratorium’s mission has always been to educate. Right now, the Exploratorium is offering kids, teachers, and parents wonderful ways to explore science, art, and human perception online. You can subscribe to their educational resources, sign up for weekly newsletters, and enjoy videos for “Around-the-House Experiments” you can do right now.
WE MISS YOU
The animals of the San Francisco Zoo miss their guests. The zoo staff has put together a delightful video of some of your favorite creatures who all look forward to seeing you again very soon.
EXPLORE DEEP SEA, DEEP SPACE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
The California Academy of Sciences is offering lots of ways to learn from home, including webcams, STEM activities, videos, and more.
The Tech Interactive’s website is filled with fantastic at-home activities that will bring out your inner innovator. Build, make, and create wherever you are with educational ideas, resources, and links to IMAX films.
MEET THE ANIMALS
Explore undersea life at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium online with their incredible Animals A – Z web page. You’ll learn about everything from Abalone to Zebra fish—this is screen time your little ones will love and you won’t feel guilty about.