At Large  March 20, 2020  Chandra Noyes

5 Ways for Art Lovers to get their fix from Home

Photo by Daria Tumanova on Unsplash

Many people who aren’t lucky enough to be able to work from home are suddenly finding themselves with a lot a spare time. After the pantry has been organized and reorganized, it may be time to pick up a new hobby. If art is your passion, there are innumerable ways to scratch that itch from home, for the craft and non-crafty alike. Here are five recommendations.

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"The Castle," the Smithsonian Institution's headquarters since 1847

1. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a great option or aspiring art history buffs or those looking to brush up on their knowledge. The Harvard Extension School has free online college courses in a range of subjects. From religious studies, the art and culture of Egypt, poetry, and classical music, there are myriad subjects to dig deep into. The Smithsonian also offers online courses, including Objects That Define America, which uses their impressive collections and exhibitions to tell the story of America.

If reliving your college years doesn’t sound ideal to you, the Museum of Modern Art has its own MOOC offerings. Whether you’re looking to brush up on contemporary art, modern art, photography, or fashion, their courses include interviews with artists and curators and explore their own collections and exhibitions.

2. YouTube is a perfect option for those of us who want less of a time commitment, with its limitless options for quick doses of art learning. SmartHistory examines single works in-depth with curator talks that give great insight into moments in history. The Art Assignment's videos are a bit longer, and offer smart and helpful commentary on a range of topics, as well as lighter videos, like cooking with artists.

3. A more personal touch (one with social distancing), like videos from the artist Mo Willems, may be more appealing to some. The current artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center and acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, Mo Willems is now residing at home, where he is offering Lunch Doodles for adults and children alike. The artist shares his work and artistic process from his studio and encourages us to try our hand through guided activities.

4. Visual journaling is the next step after graduating from Mo Willems’ school of drawing, and could be the perfect way to document this strange moment in history. Luckily, celebrated cartoonist Lynda Barry has taught a whole college course on the subject, called "The Unthinkable Mind." Her Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor is the beautifully illustrated book version of the syllabus, which includes fun readings and homework assignments. The book is available for purchase, though Barry has published much of it via her Tumblr.

A page from Lyda Barry's Her Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor

5. If passive enjoyment of art feels more your speed, the Metropolitan Opera is live-streaming their past performances after having to cancel the rest of their season. From the sets and costumes to the breath-taking arias, everything about these performances is a well-crafted work of art that will carry you away to another time and place.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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