How To Support The Arts From The Safety Of Your Couch

So you're keeping a good social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Good job! Now, learn how you can still support the arts without leaving the safety of your home. 

support the arts

The Arts Sector Is In Trouble

With the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, governments are calling on their citizens to avoid large events and public spaces. In South Africa, events of over 100 people have been cancelled to curb the spread of the virus. Naturally, this means that most theatre shows, music concerts, live performances and exhibitions will not be taking place in coming months. In a recessive economy such as ours, this only adds to the already strained budgets of arts organisations and NGOs.

One way in which you can support the arts during this difficult period is by either donating your tickets to the given artist or venue, or by only asking for a portion of a refund for your tickets. Every little bit counts towards keeping the industry and its thousands of talented freelance artists afloat.

Creativity In The Face Of Adversity

In light of the current challenges facing the arts sector, organisations and performers are banding together to find new ways to share their talents with the world. From performing live concerts via streaming on social media, to virtual exhibitions and even free downloadables. Despite losing their main sources of income, artists are providing much-needed positivity and hope for better days. During this period of social lockdown, why not support the arts by streaming performances, taking a virtual tour of a museum or reading that book you have been meaning to get around to? Here are a few innovative arts projects to get you started on watching, listening, reading and enjoying while in isolation:

Google Arts & Culture Live Gallery Tours

Seeing that travel bans are unlikely to be lifted any time soon, why not visit the world’s top museums and galleries from right where you are? Google Arts and Culture have partnered with over 2 500 museums and galleries to bring you a series of fantastic online exhibits. From London to Seoul, you can traverse the globe’s most famous arts and culture centres without moving an inch. In addition, a few of these galleries will be posting their most zen art works under the hashtag #MuseumMomementOfZen on social media to help keep you calm during these trying times. The collection includes the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York City, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul and many more.

Norval Foundation Virtual Tour

The Norval Foundation is a newly opened centre in the Western Cape for the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the foundation announced that it would no longer allow visitors to its sculpture garden and restaurant. Instead, you can tour the garden, Skotnes Restaurant and the on-site gift shop from your own home using their virtual tour function! You can also check out their current exhibitions on their website.

If you would like to make a donation to the Norval Foundation, please follow this link – Funds go towards sponsoring arts education for underprivileged schools in the area.

Love Books Jozi

Are you a verified bookworm? Support independent bookstores while in isolation by ordering a few good reads from Love Books Jozi. After cancelling all of their upcoming book launches, Love Books took to Twitter to remind their loyal customers that literature is a gift worth giving, especially during times of confusion, anxiety and loneliness. Why not gift a friend with their favourite book to put a smile on their dial? Love Books delivers for free within a 10km radius and have assured that they will take special precautions when delivering your parcels by standing at least one metre away and avoiding physical contact. Once you have your stack of new reads, how about starting an online book club with your friends until you can meet for coffee dates again?

Social Distancing Festival

The Social Distancing Festival is both a celebration of artists and their dedicated work, as well as an acknowledgement that social distancing is imperative to curbing the spread of COVID-19. This online platform seeks to create solidarity among global art communities, while still bringing in audiences to see the work they have tirelessly developed over months or even years. The Social Distancing Festival will not be hosting any live streaming events, but instead acts as a directory for artists to post notifications, short video clips and streaming links to their work. Check out upcoming streaming events from across the globe here.

Art Basel Hong Kong

Art Basel is the leading global platform for artworld exchanges, hosting fairs in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. After the World Health Organisation officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, Art Basel chose to cancel their Hong Kong exhibition, moving to online showing rooms instead. With almost 90% of their original exhibitors on board, Art Basel will launch their online viewing rooms on Friday, 20 March 2020. So, sit back and come and view over 235 galleries from wherever you are.

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#artbaselOVR 👁 👁 Swipe to see more of the artworks coming to our Online Viewing Rooms this week! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. Cao Fei, ‘Nova 17’ (2019), #VitaminCreativeSpace. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Matt Paweski, ‘EXTRUSION’ (2020), via @PaulSoto_net ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. Leandro Erlich, ‘The Cloud (UK)’ (2016), via @GalleriaContinua. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. Philppe Parreno, ‘My Room is Another Fishbowl’ (2016), via @PilarCorriasGallery. 5. Detail of Yoshio Sekine, ‘No. 387’ (1975), via @TokyoGallery_BTAP. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 6. Tetsuro Kano, ‘Every Part Unique’ (2019), via @YukaTsurunoGallery. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 7. Gary-Ross Pastrana, ‘(Eidolon III) Lot- 01 Provisional Objects Series’ (2019), via @SilverlensGalleries. — Online Viewing Rooms: • VIP preview: March 18–19 • Public days: March 20–25 • Visit — #artbasel #caofei #mattpaweski #leandroerlich #philppeparreno #yoshiosekin #tetsurokano #garyrosspastrana

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The Zeitz MOCAA museum in Cape Town temporarily shut its doors to promote social distancing and self isolation. However, this does not mean that you cannot still enjoy their vast collection of contemporary African art. Zeitz MOCAA will be posting daily to their social media accounts, bringing you a glimpse of some of their most popular exhibitions. Use the hashtag #MOCAAFromYourCouch to see their daily updates and to engage with fellow art lovers online.

Standard Bank Arts – Lumieres d’ Afriques

The Lumieres d’ Afriques exhibition at the Standard Bank Art Gallery was due to take place between 21 February – 9 April 2020. Unfortunately, the gallery has had to temporarily suspend the exhibition to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations. But, there is hope for all you art lovers out there – Standard Bank Arts announced on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 that they will be bringing you a virtual Lumieres d’ Afriques art fair! Take a tour around the gallery, admiring the art works of over 54 artists from 54 countries across Africa. It’s the perfect way to wile away a few hours when you’re stuck in self isolation.

The Metropolitan Opera

Have you always dreamed of travelling to New York to visit the Metropolitan Opera House? Well now you can! Join the Met for their nightly opera streams – a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the Coronavirus closure. Sit back and indulge in the delicious sounds of Carmen, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and many more. All nightly Met opera streams stay open for 20 hours, so you will most likely only be able to access them from morning till early afternoon in South Africa. But, let’s be honest, what better way is there to wake your neighbours and spread a little joy than by pumping world-class opera through your speakers? Happy listening!

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Tune in at 7:30PM EDT to Verdi’s Il Trovatore, available as tonight’s FREE Nightly Met Opera Stream. Soprano @anna_netrebko_yusi_tiago’s leads an outstanding cast, which also stars mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, tenor Yonghoon Lee, and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, in his final operatic performances at the Met. Marco Armiliato conducts. Access the stream, with English subtitles, via the link in our story or through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. The free streams are available on the apps without logging in by clicking “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV, and “Explore the App” on tablets and mobile devices. This performance will be available until 3:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, March 19. Photo by Marty Sohl / Met Opera #MetOperaStreams #MetOpera #MetHD #Verdi #IlTrovatore #AnnaNetrebko #MetOperaonDemand #MeetOpera #NYC

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The National Arts Festival Makhanda

A 969km annual pilgrimage from Joburg to Makhanda takes place each June as theatre lovers, art fundis and music aficionados flock to the National Arts Festival. In light of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, and subsequent travel bans, the NAF seemed likely to be cancelled. However, proving that innovation and the arts have a steadfast relationship, their stakeholders and CEO have come up with a daring solution – the first ever virtual National Arts Festival! Bringing you 11 days of amazing directly from Makhanda. It is not yet clear how or in what format the festival will be broadcast, but it promises to be one for the books. Keep an eye out for updates on the NAF 2020 festival here.

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Ok, so here's the thing: the National Arts Festival 2020 won’t be cancelled, but it will be different. From 25 June to 5 July 2020, the National Arts Festival will be going completely virtual for the full 11 days of Amazing. By going virtual, the Festival can continue to support artists and the arts in 2020 by presenting work within a digital space. We will be able to share some magic and hope with those who may still be confined to their homes, offering an opportunity to connect when we are being asked to distance ourselves from one another. . Here’s to a whole new and exciting experience for the National Arts Festival because if anyone is resilient, agile, creative and extraordinary – it is our artists. . We're very excited about this – and can't wait to hear what you think! . 📸: Birthing Nureyev by Mark Wessels . #NAF2020 #VirtualNAF #arts #coronavirus #covid19 #creativethinking #virtual #digitalart #creativity #agility #southafrica #artsfestival #magic #socialdistancing #connection

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Global Citizen Festival’s Solidarity Sessions: Together, At Home

Global Citizen is a movement of engaged citizens who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030. So, why not show them your support while stuck in isolation? In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Global Citizen have pioneered Solidarity Sessions – live stream concerts performed by the industry’s most successful artists to keep you motivated and connected during this difficult period. Coldplay front man, Chris Martin was first up on the bill, performing from his at-home music studio to promote no-contact concerts that aim to show how we can actively take a stand against the spread of the Coronavirus. Keep an eye on the Global Citizen Instagram account for follow up no-contact concerts (word on the street is that Ed Sheeran may be next, so don’t miss out!)

Do you know of any other local or international streaming concerts or festivals? Let us know about them!