Get your virtual arts fix!

By Blog Coordinator Meghan Randolph

The seats may be empty right now, but the arts aren’t going anywhere!

Arts organizations have been hit hard by the current pandemic. We’ve seen this nationally, but it really hits home locally with all local arts groups having to shutter public operations in the name of safety for their artists and audiences. But what I love about my friends and colleagues who work in the arts is that we are used to making things work, even under trying circumstances.

That’s why so much of the art you’re used to seeing in person has been made available in online platforms. Readings of Shakespeare, socially distant concerts, virtual museum tours, and more are now at your fingertips.

The arts have a long history of surviving pandemics and crises. In fact, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra while quarantined during the bubonic plague! We know how to rally, and those who love the arts know how to follow. Luckily, with the internet at our fingertips, artists are able to share work on a more widespread platform than ever before, even while the world shelters in place.

Below are just a few local arts events you can experience online. Keep your eyes peeled in the newspaper and social media for many more!

Local Offerings

American Players Theatre’s Out of the Woods
It came as a crushing blow to see this Wisconsin treasure cancel its season, but that isn’t stopping the classical theatre company from creating programs to enjoy this summer. “Out of the Woods” is a series of live play readings, including Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, performed online through PBS Wisconsin. Your favorite APT stars will be part of the action! Learn more here.

Madison Opera’s Opera In the Park: Online
Another benchmark of summer in Madison is this gathering of over 10,000 opera lovers in Garner Park. It was recently announced that Opera In The Park will continue, but be performed through an online platform. The details are still being worked out, but if you want to enjoy some opera under the stars this July, you can still stream the concert with a laptop or mobile device on your deck or patio. Plus, you won’t have to fight for parking! Keep an eye on Madison Opera’s website for details.

Art at your fingertips!

Various tours and discussions with the Chazen Museum
We may not be able to roam the halls, but Chazen has made numerous tours and activities available on their website. Long-time docents at the museum have created their own special tours to show you their favorite works. The website also has printable coloring pages for kids, Facebook Fridays with special insight from curators, and happy hour discussions. Visit their website for the most up-to-date events.

Virtual Memorial Day ceremony with the Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Honor those who gave their lives for the country in this interactive tribute through the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Click here to see the tribute.

Numerous offerings through Overture Center
Though the downtown arts center may be closed, Overture Center and its many resident companies have made a variety of arts opportunities available online, including dance classes, discussions, galleries, and films. Click here to see the many options!

Find hundreds more local online arts events via Isthmus here.

SAIL also has many online activities coming up that span art, growth, and learning! Remember to check the SAIL Messenger for the latest on what we’re offering!

We as a society turn to the arts in many forms for comfort, inspiration, education, activism, engagement, and escape. During uncertain times, we need all of those things more than ever. Luckily, our local arts organizations are there for you. We’re fortunate to have a city of arts organizations that connects with the community, even in an uncertain time.

If you would like help accessing any of the online arts offerings you find, feel free to contact SAIL at 608-230-4321 or!

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