The Best Boston Art Experiences You Can Enjoy From Home

Get some culture from your couch.

What is this, Week 47? And If you’re anything like us, your daily screen time has gone up approximately 786% since the staying-in started. And yet, not all streaming is made alike. For every half-baked sitcom reunion, there’s a local virtual art experience that reminds you why Boston is the cultural epicenter of New England. From online museum tours to virtual film screenings to archival dance performances, here’s a rundown of some local content to feed your soul (we already know your stomach’swell takencareof).

Take virtual tours of Boston’s best museums

Major props to all our area museums for barely skipping a beat. Stalwarts that they are, they put their heads down and got programming online ASAP. The Museum of Fine Arts has a new Basquiat exhibition you can browse at your leisure and plenty of permanent pieces you can peruse through Google. The ICA has plenty of audio and video archives to revisit, and the Peabody Essex Museum is telling the stories behind some of its collections. And what better time to revisit the 13 missing artworks snatched during the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist (there’s still a $5 million reward for a tip that leads to their recovery!) Heck, even the Museum of Science has gotten into the act, with its adults-only art experiences, gaming, and science-oriented happy hours all moving online.

Calm your nerves with some classical music

Before our world changed, the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed Concert for Our City, its last in-house live performance at Symphony Hall -- itself a rescheduled production after the orchestra’s East Asia tour was canceled due to mounting coronavirus fears. Free streaming of the concert is now available through May 20 and includes works from Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Brahms.

Nuke some popcorn for a virtual film screening

Missing your favorite local indie theater? They’re missing you too, which is why they hustled to get some thematic screenings online. Coolidge Corner Theatre is renting movies online and also conducting virtual seminars with noted film critics. The Brattle Theatre has introduced #BreaktheAlgorithm to help introduce you to films that might never show up in your “suggested viewing” streams. And the Somerville Theatre is now streaming several new movies unavailable on any other streaming device. Even the Boston Underground Film Festival is streaming previous cult hits from years past.

Watch a 10-minute play reading

We get it if you’re feeling too antsy for a full-bore, five-act production. But a 10-minute reading? Totally digestible. Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition is now running daily readings of quick-bite plays by New England playwrights. Take a quick culture break, then donate to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund to help Greater Boston theater artists and nonprofits.

Cheer yourself up with some improv

Things are funny right now, but certainly not ha-ha funny. And yet, Improv Boston can still find laughs in the absurd. They’re performing live shows from Thursday through Sunday nights -- some family-friendly, some decidedly not -- and they just humbly ask that you show a little donation love in return.

Livestream a dance performance

Seems like Friday night has officially become dance night. But not every one of us wants to bust a move to a remote DJ set -- some of us prefer to sit back and appreciate the graceful moves of others. Enter the Dance Complex, which is now streaming archived performances every Friday night at 8pm.

Support some local indie musicians 

Club Passim’s Keep Your Distance Fest is a balm for your battered soul. Local artists are recording virtual concerts as part of Club Passim’s larger effort to bring music to the housebound masses. Tune in when you need a little pick-me-up, then send money to the Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund (PEAR Fund).

Listen to a book reading or even join a virtual book club

First off: NO AMAZON! Manyindiebookstores are still shipping books, so cut the Bezos cord already and support local businesses. Then, check out Brookline Booksmith for some virtual readings, and sign up for WGBH’s new remote monthly book club, which is already proving wildly popular.

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Meaghan Agnew has listened to local music from afar, ordered from local bookstores from afar, and meandered through art exhibitions from afar -- which means you can too.