Although some areas of the economy—like restaurants, retail, and salons—have been allowed to open up shop by Gov. Greg Abbott, many Bayou City arts organizations are keeping their physical doors closed. Even some local museums, which are allowed to reopen, are saying they'll remain closed a little while longer. However, if you're in dire need of some culture, we've rounded up online offerings from Houston's arts institutions to help you get your artsy fix. 

THEATER

  • After the pandemic shut down things in March, the Alley Theatre went digital, offering a variety of video content through [email protected], including readings of Shakespearean sonnets, behind-the-scenes footage and artist talks, and resident company acting reels.
  • Main Street Theater is offering a similar program, [email protected], which features company artists performing short monologues, quick video lessons for children, and actors sharing stories of stage life.
  • The Ensemble Theatre of Houston is sharing a weekly program on social media called the BOLD online series, which is posted at noon on designated days. Message Mondays include video-chat updates and personal stories of encouragement. Throwback Theatre Moments on Thursdays include slides and images from past performances. Family Fun Fridays feature workshops, artists acting from home, and streaming of archived shows.
  • If you’re in the mood for an entire show, check out the Catastrophic Theatre production of Mickle Maher’s The Hunchback Variations from 2015. The absurdist comedy presents itself as a staged panel on sound design featuring guest speakers Ludwig van Beethoven and Quasimodo à la The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The sound they’re discussing? The allusive, impossible sound described the stage direction of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

CLASSICAL

  • The Houston Grand Opera has partnered with Houston Public Media to broadcast operatic opera productions on Fridays and Saturdays. Upcoming operas are the final two parts of Wagner’s famous Ring cycle, Seigfried and Götterdämerung. Listeners can tune in online via HPM’s website, the radio, or HPM’s classical app.
  • Also working with public broadcasting, the Houston Symphony is airing two-hour performances online and on the radio throughout the week (you can also listen to archived recordings online). HSO is also live-streaming mini-recitals featuring members of its orchestra through a new program called the Living Room Series.
  • Houston’s classical bigwigs aren’t alone in virtual content offerings. Arts Lyrica’s weekly Concert & Conversations also features mini concerts and talkbacks with featured artists, while its Baroque Cocktails happy hour allows audiences to learn partake in musical conversations while enjoying a nice glass of wine. Arts Lyrica is also offering curated playlists called Musical Moments.

OTHER PERFORMANCE

  • In a similar vein, the Grammy-winning Houston Chamber Choir has a podcast called With One Accord, which showcases recordings from the group’s past performances, each one specifically chosen to offer peace and comfort during this time of isolation.
  • In addition to online broadcasts of fan-favorite performances, Mercury chamber ensemble has curated a Songs of Comfort series, in which Mercury musicians share the songs they find comfort in, and social distancing ensembles.
  • Meanwhile, the Society for the Performing Arts’ video series has brought together artists from all disciplines and backgrounds with SPA Creative Connection. The series features mini performances by local artists who continue pushing the bounds of their creativity from their homes.
  • And don’t forget to shimmy your way through social distancing with a variety of online dance programming from organizations including Houston Ballet and the Institute of Contemporary Dance Houston.

VISUAL ARTS

  • If you’re looking for more of that gallery experience—even through your computer monitor— the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is offering a virtual experience, which includes online exhibits, film screenings, art activities, and more. You can even use their Google Arts & Culture page to explore paintings as if you’re standing in the museum.
  • The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is offering a Museum at Home program that features virtual talks, Instagram takeovers by local artists, and drop-in experiences, like its upcoming texture scavenger hunt on May 16.
  • Lawndale has released a video walkthrough of Hurricane Harvey-inspired exhibit Sky Loop and has been featuring artist takeovers on its Facebook and Instagram
  • Virtual versions of Moody Center for the Arts’ Radical Revisionists: Contemporary African Artists Confronting Past and Present are available on YouTube, and Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin’s "50 States: Louisiana’ at DiverseWorks is streaming through Vimeo.
  • Other exhibitions from the Menil Collection, Blaffer Art Museum, and the Houston Museum of African American Culture can be found online.  

Do you have a favorite online arts program we didn’t mention? Send an email to  [email protected].

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