Closure - but the art goes on

Museums, galleries and art fairs have been defying the Coronavirus pandemic to keep audiences connected with culture, despite the devastating hit the arts have taken over the crisis with blanket closure.

You can now take a virtual tour of major museums such as The Louvre and the British Museum, at virtual tours; Shakespeare’s Globe has made ten years of performances available free at Globe Player; and local authorities such as Bradford Council are inviting  virtual visitors to tour their own key attractions available – Bradford is offering tours of Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New York's Metropolitan Opera has launched live opera streams, available in the UK from 11.30 each night for 23 hours, via metopera.org.

And on Friday an individual artist, Stuart Semple, offered a life drawing class (pictured) via Facebook.

He hired a live model, Debbie, who wore a face mask for part of the session, and opened his own studio live-streaming to over 3,000 artists around rhe world – whole art schools that are self-isolating among them – for a two hour class.

The artists were able to share their work with comments and tips via Instagram, using the hashtag #SempleLifeClassLive.

Stuart Semple is known for his work around democracy and inclusion, famous for releasing thousands of “Happy Clouds”’ from Tate Modern at the height of the last recession. He has been in isolation himself for ten days with Covid-19 symptoms.

 “It’s beautiful to see that artists and culture can keep going” he said. “We may be in isolation, but the art community certainly isn’t isolated. I’m so grateful that we have the internet. I’m a bit blown away by what happened, I wasn’t expecting so many people! But the way everyone connected at the same time to draw the same thing, despite what’s happening outside, felt potent and really special.”

The first life-class is still on the artist’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MrStuartSemple, and he plans a second class on Friday 27th March between 7 and 9  GMT.

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