Have you ever stared at the paint on your walls so long you start to see the works of timeless paintings in the splotches? That's starting to happen to me — I think there's a portion of Raphael's “The School of Athens” in my kitchen and Frida Kahlo's “Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress,” in my study.
In other words, I could use a little culture in my life.
Thankfully, Visit Denver has launched Virtually Denver, a new resource that allows residents like me to dive into the city's vibrant arts and cultural institutions from the comforts of our couches, desks and dinner tables. You can check out the options at www.denver.org/blog/post/denver-events-this-weekend.
There are all kinds of options — interactive experiences, videos and reading materials. It gives the opportunity for organizations to share some of their in-depth and behind-the-scenes secrets — like the Denver Art Museum's Beyond Monet YouTube series — and a chance to highlight some of the gems — take the Denver Zoo's baby rhino cam and the Kirkland Museum's Pull Up a Chair exhibit, which features 45 fascinating chairs, from 150 usually on exhibit.
I've recommended just a few favorites (with some tips to increase the virtual visiting ambience) in a variety of categories, all with the aim of entertaining and educating. I also heartily encourage you to go to www.ColoradoGives.org to donate to some of these vital organizations.
Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts — Ambience advice: Play any albums from The Band or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Organized by History Colorado, this resource gathers a bevy of historic and cultural heritage items, ranging from photographs, documents, manuscripts, audio recordings and much, much more. You can explore diaries from settlers, see the U.S. flag carried by the 1st Regiment of Colorado Volunteers during the Civil War and oil paintings. www.historycolorado.org/colorados-most-significant-artifacts
DMNS@HOME — Ambience advice: Set up your screen near a window, where you can get some natural light.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has put all kinds of resources on this portion of its website. There are videos like one with archaeologist Erin Baxter on infamous murderer and cannibal Alferd Packer. Most thrillingly for dinosaur fans like yours truly, there are all manner of options available — videos, PowerPoints and activities. www.dmns.org/learn/dmns-at-home
Gardens Navigator Website — Ambience advice: Start your exploring in your front or back yard, out on your patio or deck; in other words, anywhere you can be comfortably outside.
What better way to see how plants are coming back to life during spring than by digitally exploring the Denver Botanic Gardens? Visitors can search for specific plants, see which flowers are in bloom and take tours (either created by staff and custom). navigate.botanicgardens.org/ecmweb/ECM_Home.html
Zoo to You Virtual Safari — Ambience advice: Play Paul Simon's “Graceland,” Burna Boy's “Outside” or Lord Huron's “Lonesome Dreams.”
See some of the zoo's most fascinating and adorable animals, including the aforementioned baby rhino, gibbons and even a bear safari. My favorite is the Good Night Zoo audio episode, which brings you along with Disa Skaff, night keeper at the zoo. denverzoo.org/zootoyou
Red Rocks live cam — Ambience advice: Play any live album recorded at Red Rocks, from U2 to Dave Matthews and Amos Lee to Stevie Nicks.
There isn't a whole lot going on in this live cam, but it's so relaxing to watch, and it brings back so many great memories of concerts, films and graduations. I heartily recommend using this like those fireplace videos around the holidays — put it on to relax. www.redrocksonline.com/about/livecam
Streams with Grit — Ambience advice: Stream this one with a brew or a summery cocktail. Something with citrus or fruit.
Hosted by the Underground Music Showcase (UMS), this daily event goes live on UMS' Facebook page at about 5 p.m. and features performances from local musicians. Not only will you hear some great tunes, but it's easy to donate and support the artists. www.facebook.com/undergroundmusicshowcase
Socially Distant Culture Club — Ambience advice: Play Animal Collective's “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” Chance the Rapper's “Coloring Book” or the Talking Heads' greatest hits.
Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Arts launched a weekly series called Socially Distant Culture Club, which sends participants a newsletter with artist inspiration, creative guides and recipes. On Wednesdays at about 5 p.m. there will be video tutorial, and people are encouraged to tag their creations on social media. www.msudenver.edu/cva/events/sociallydistantcultureclub
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