As COVID-19 continues to affect Buffalo and cities around the world, it is now more than ever that we need arts and culture to unite us, provide comfort, inspire creativity and ease stress during these troubling times. There are numerous ways we can ensure that the arts remain a part of our lives despite the need for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
We hope you enjoy our selection of virtual arts and cultural experiences. Most of them are free. If you are able, consider a financial contribution to the arts provider(s) so they can continue creating, now and in the future.
Enjoy Buffalo's Cultural Attractions At Home
Several of the Buffalo's best cultural attractions, museums, galleries and institutions are offering a respite from any potential cabin fever. With virtual guides, online databases, DIY projects, creative activities for kids, virtual gallery tours, and engaging videos, here are ways you (and your children) can enjoy some of Buffalo's cultural touchstones, right from the comfort of your home.
Albright Knox Art Gallery
The Buffalo History Museum
The marvelous works of Picasso, Gauguin, Kahlo, Monet, Cezanne, Pollock, and so many more, are viewable right on your computer screen. Take a searchable walk through the halls and archives of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery when you search the collection using their online database. Search for artwork by artist, title, medium, time period, and more. Or, narrow it down by viewing the gallery’s “Collection Highlights” – 200 of the AK’s most noteworthy and popular works in their collection.
Meet F.R.A.N.K. (Find Resources and New Knowledge) – the Buffalo History Museum’s database/virtual tour guide. F.R.A.N.K. allows you to access digital copies of Buffalo’s historical photos, maps, newspapers, business records, and much more. Also included are digital tours of the Buffalo History Museum’s collection and library, and a searchable archive of past museum exhibits.
At the direction of Maestro JoAnn Falletta and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director Daniel Hart, archived BPO concerts will be broadcast on local radio station WNED Classical at 94.5 FM, and streamed through the WNED website, their mobile app, or by smart speaker, each Tuesday at 7:00pm. Beginning on March 24 with Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony No. 3, if you close your eyes, it’ll feel like you’re sitting in the magnificent Kleinhans Music Hall.
#TheZooToYou on Social Media
Get to know the animals of the Buffalo Zoo, up close and personal. Beginning with an outdoor session with Pearl the porcupine, the Buffalo Zoo’s #TheZooToYou series will introduce you to all the amazing creatures and critters that the Zoo has to offer. It’s a virtual walk on the wild side!
Burchfield Penney Art Center
Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Art and Journal Entries
While the doors of the Burchfield Penney Art Center are closed, the team is using this time to reflect with the art and writings of its namesake artist. Each day, the Burchfield Facebook page is sharing an image of Charles Burchfield’s intriguing works of art alongside one of his journal entries – offering a serene moment in these difficult days.
Buffalo Cherry Blossoms Reimagined
Due to State, County and City COVID-19 restrictions on public events and the need for social distancing, the 2020 Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival has been cancelled. However, in reimagining this burst of springtime, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Buffalo History Museum and Friends of the Japanese Garden will host a special digital program on this day. This will allow the entire community to enjoy peak blooms from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Band Together Buffalo
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Local Musician Video Performances
Band Together Buffalo will be streaming live video and archiving the performances of local musicians and bands.
The livelihood of many of these musicians depends on venues, restaurants and bars that have been closed due to the state-imposed quarantine. Here’s your chance to show your support and donate funds as each performer will have links for Venmo and/or PayPal posted along with their performance.
Visiting the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site is a chance to experience a place where America entered a tense crossroads that helped to define its next one hundred years. Now, while the site has limited visitation, you can still take a stroll through an important moment in American history, complete with 360-degree views, interactive features and video. Check out the virtual tour here.
Visit Buffalo Niagara
Buffalo & Erie County
Public Library System
Buffalo Video Call Backgrounds
Whether you’re hopping on a video conference for work, joining an interactive webinar, catching up with relatives and loved ones, or taking part in a virtual happy hour (my favorite), it’s always the right time to show off your Buffalo pride. Visit Buffalo Niagara has made it easy to live in the virtual Buffalo moment by creating some backgrounds to up your video call game and show off Buffalo.
The Grosvenor [pronounced Grov-ner] houses the Special Collections department at the Central Library of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL). The nearly 500,000 titles of unique and varied materials support the five collections of Local History, Genealogy, Maps, Music and Rare Books. Check out the Grosvenor Room online!
The streaming platform BroadwayHD offers a seven-day free trial, so theater fans can watch musicals like “Kinky Boots” and “Cats” and plays including “King Lear” and “A Doll’s House” from their couches. Performances range from Broadway productions to shows from London’s West End to regional offerings from American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
Other theater streaming services include the Seattle-based On the Boards, which focuses on more experimental productions and currently has a code for free viewing through the end of April. The 24 Hour Play Festival company has a series of monologues performed by famous actors and other entertaining content on its Instagram account.
Like zoos, many aquariums have live-streams to show off what their residents are up to. Monterey Bay Aquarium has cams for sea otters, jellyfish, sharks, penguins and more.
Music lovers can enjoy a variety of free live and taped concerts online. NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series, for example, has hundreds of archived performances.
Several musicians, including John Legend, Chris Martin and Charlie Puth, have put on live-streamed concerts from their homes. Classical music fans can also tune in to performances from professionals such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Legoland theme parks have official virtual tours of the spaces and attractions as well.