The Best Miami Art Experiences You Can Enjoy From Home

Get some culture from your couch.

God bless Florida, where we understand both pro wrestling and horse racing truly are essential. Thankfully, those fine cultural institutions have been left untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of the less-essential ones like the opera, symphony, and literally all of our museums have been forced to close.
This doesn’t mean you’ve got to spend all eight hours of your streaming time watching suplexes and superfectas, though. Despite being closed, spots like O Cinema, the Frost Science Museum, and even Jungle Island are offering some pretty cool online content, mostly free for you to stream. So pull yourself away from your WWE/TVG, and check out these South Florida art and cultural events you can still experience at home.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

Tour some of Miami’s best museums

Perhaps you’d avoided visiting our gleaming new Museum Park because you have an inherent dislike for school groups. Now’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing, and whet your appetite to visit once they’re open again. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Perez Art Museum, Museum of Discovery and Science, and pretty much every other local institution is now offering virtual tours of its exhibits.

Learn from renowned speakers and experts

Going a step further, ICA Miami has launched an entire channel of museum content, including lectures, artist interviews, performances, and staff discussing their favorite works. The Frost Science Museum will have weekly speakers at 2pm on Wednesdays as part of its FrosScience@Home platform. And Miami Beach’s Bass Museum has an educational resource center with STEAM-based school projects for all you new at-home educators.

Watch thought-provoking films you won’t find on Netflix

Granted, it will be hard to top the subtle, nuanced filmmaking that was Tiger King. But the folks at Miami’s favorite art cinema are putting together an online film festival of sorts, where you can still watch all the obscurely brilliant movies they’d normally be screening. O Cinema’s Virtual Theater Project allows you to rent the foreign and art films you can only find at O in the comfort of your own living room for about $12 a pop. No, it’s not free, but you will have access for two weeks. And it’ll help ensure O Cinema is still around once we’re let out in public.

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet
Thomas Armour Youth Ballet

Finally learn to dance ballet

Maybe you were too embarrassed to take ballet lessons when you were a kid, or maybe you burned out on it after spending all of grade school in pointe shoes. Either way, you  can learn (or re-learn) the art with the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. No, you don’t have to be a kid to stream the school’s pre-recorded YouTube classes. And if you want to live out your ballet dreams via your child, it also offers live instruction via Zoom.

Visit with exotic animals

Jungle Island is bringing back the exotic animal segments from the late-night talk shows, minus the late-night talk show host and the late-nights. Every Wednesday at 3:30pm, veterinarian Dr. Jason Chatfield will sit down with a special furry guest like Rocco the capuchin monkey and Lune the ruffed lemur on the park’s Facebook Live. You’ll get to learn all about them, their behaviors, their habitats, and what we’re doing to save them, and the program runs again in Spanish at 4pm with Marisela Gutierrez.

Join a book club

Join Books and Books at Bal Harbour Shops for its Steph Sez book club. Each month, Steph Sayfie Aagaard will host a live discussion of a different book on the shop’s Instagram. Discussions will include giveaways, special guests, and actual conversations about literature. April’s selection is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and the meeting will be on April 28 at 7:30pm.

Visit Ft. Lauderdale’s Riverwalk district, minus the traffic

Though sadly you won’t be able to take the Brightline to see it, the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District has an entire world of culture available online, with pretty much everything but a serene stroll by the water included. The Bonnet House has virtual tours, which you can take while streaming feel-good playlists from the Broward Center for Performing Arts. You can brush up on your Broward County history with streamed lectures on the History Ft. Lauderdale YouTube page, and peruse the “Happy!” Exhibition from the NSU Art Museum of Ft. Lauderdale.

wynwood walls
Wynwood Walls | Nikki Aikens/Flickr

Make your own night out in Wynwood

Drive around your block a few times looking for parking, pour yourself a $10 beer, and crank up the reggaeton, because shelter-in-place doesn’t mean you can’t make your own night out in Wynwood. In addition to ordering a meal kit from AlterQ or a gallon of margs from Coyo, you can also take a virtual tour of the Wynwood Walls and appreciate all the brilliant street art the neighborhood has to offer. For full authenticity, have your kids stand between you and the computer screen and take the same selfie 12 times.

Learn to paint and chat with artists

Have some highly impressive artwork to hang up once you’re finally allowed to have guests over by learning to paint from local artists. AXS Art will have free online art classes every Wednesday at 6pm. Similarly, the Museum of Contemporary Art will be live streaming its miniMakers program, where art educator Edwin Hernandez-Mojica guides you through step-by-step instructions on how to paint your own Monet. Ft. Lauderdale art incubator ArtServe will have weekly paint and chat programs with various artists. During the chats you’ll hear interviews with the artists as they teach their techniques, in hopes you eventually make art yourself.

Immerse yourself in symphony and opera

Though you won’t be able to enjoy the palms swaying in the breeze at the Design District’s Palm Court, the Miami Symphony Orchestra is continuing its Friday concerts throughout the crisis, streaming at 6:30pm Fridays on the Estefan Kitchen Instagram. Not to be outdone, Florida Grand Opera has launched the FGO GO Experience, which will include performances, playlists, interviews, concerts, and all the other things you’re missing at the Arsht Center.

Go to a poetry festival every night

Admittedly, this was probably rarely-if-ever your first choice of how to spend a Saturday night. But what is a quarantine if not the chance to delve into something different? So check out the O, Miami Poetry Festival running through April 29, when each day a different poet will give an online reading via Zoom. You can register on the festival’s website, and all the readings are free.

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Curt Hollingsworth is a Miami native who typically spends his time enjoying the city, the sand, the Keys, and any bar that claims they have the best margarita in town.