Creative thinkers have been burning the midnight oil these days, inventing ways to share their works with you even while you cannot see them first-hand. And of course it's not just about seeing art, watching films and hearing music – it's about the meaningful and therapeutic cultural exchange these artforms offer.
That's what this story is all about. Things that will make you smile, that absorb you and draw you in - so you are lost in a world outside of yourself, if even for a short while.
I don't know how many of you have an old kit-bag around these days, but like that song says, I urge you to pack up your troubles and put them away someplace for a while and smile, smile smile.
Here's something that might help. A reader alerted us to a YouTube web series created by actor John Krasinski (he of “The Office” and “Jack Ryan” and “A Quiet Place.”)
Krasinski created and hosts “Some Good News” and runs it from his home while staying safe with his family during the coronavirus pandemic. Sounds like just what we need right now: "A news show dedicated entirely to good news." And word is that it comes with a high dose of humor and some high-ranking celebrities too.
SUNY Orange exhibit
A little closer to home, Pine Island artist Frank Shuback has a gallery show that no one can go to. The solution: A virtual tour.
The exhibit, “Paper Work with Recent Sculpture,” is in place at the Mindy Ross Gallery, on SUNY Orange's Newburgh campus. But you can see the works on YouTube and through the following links: sunyorange.edu/calendar/index.php?eID=2281 and youtube.com/watch?v=7bZOh3MRDck&feature=youtu.be
Shuback has experimented with various materials and styles during his 80 years – and this exhibit offers a view into two eras in his artistic life: his geometrical drawings of the early 1980s and three-dimensional works of recent years.
Shuback's artworks have been included in public collections in New York City and upstate New York.
Art that celebrates Earth
Wednesday was officially the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which makes this Earth Week.. but really every day ought to be Earth Day. And it's always a good time to consider art that seeks to connect us with our roots.
That's what artist Mira Lehr had in mind when she launched MiraVision - her new online art initiatives for people at home during social distancing.
A year before the first Earth Day, Lehr was chosen by Buckminster Fuller for his 1969 World Game project to focus on Spaceship Earth.
Now, at 85, Lehr is creating even more climate-action art than she ever has during her six-decade career. Lehr, a 1956 graduate of Vassar College, has had more than 300 solo and group exhibitions. And her work is in the collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center on the Poughkeepsie campus of Vassar, among many others.
The current exhibit is at Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, which is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But an online presentation is offered at miralehr.com/high-water-mark-exhibition-videos and at miralehr.com/exhibition-phototour.
'Chasing Light' in New Paltz
The Mark Gruber Gallery presents its first virtual exhibition, “Chasing Light,” a group show. Go to markgrubergallery.com and click on Exhibitions.
This exhibit marks the gallery's 44th year in business. When the New Paltz gallery is allowed to open its doors once again, it will be with a fanfare - a Grand Re-Opening event will celebrate “Chasing Light” and the gallery's move to a new location, four doors to the right (in the old Game Stop space).
While at home for the virtual show, you might want to add a festive touch to feel as if you're at the actual gallery opening: Create your own wine and cheese reception and make a toast to art.
Making art at home
Virtual art lessons are available from a lot of sources, not the least of which is your local library - many of them are also offering virutal storytimes. Check out your library's website for listings.
Among the sites that offer classes and suggest projects for young and old, you might find inspiration at one of these: kitchentableclassroom.com, ocartscouncil.org, metmuseum.org, goodhousekeeping.com.
Shadowland Stages in Ellenville (shadowlandstages.org) began offering free streaming of classic movies on Friday nights a few weeks ago.
They're showing “Little Lord Fauntleroy” at 7 p.m. April 24. Get on the site by 6:30 so you can be ready to watch along with the rest of the audience from their home couches. Links to the movies are posted on Shadowland's Facebook page. To make the evening a little more interactive, Shadowland writes: “We encourage you to visit our facebook page to comment and ask questions of series producer, Ray Faiola, during each screening.” And don't forget the popcorn.
Live music and a bonus
In good times, normal times, that is, Angry Orchard in Walden offers live performances from local bands every weekend. The venue reports that's something it and its visitors miss. “As a way to continue to support these artists during this time, and offer a chance to bring the sounds of the Cidery to homes across the country,” Angry Orchard reports that it has launched The Stay Home Sessions.
With sessions continuing through May, musicians are performing “live sets” from their homes and sharing via @AngryOrchard's Instagram TV. Each artist will be paid for their virtual set and will share details on how viewers can send a little love via virtual tips.
Here's the line-up: April 28, Dan and Kyle Acoustic; April 30, Yellsmiles; May 4, ]Nick Checovich; May 7, Brian Scully from Dalton and the Sheriffs.
The cidery further reports that to support the restaurant industry during this difficult time, Angry Orchard will be donating $75,000 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF), which provides grants to help those currently out of work navigate hardships during COVID-19. To drive awareness around RERF and their grant program, Angry Orchard is asking viewers of the Stay Home Sessions to leave "virtual applause” (through the clapping hands emoji ) on The Stay Home Session posts. For each comment featuring virtual applause, Angry Orchard is donating an additional $1 toward RERF – with the goal to raise an additional $25,000 by the last session.