Need a culture fix? Find art to fill the soul in the virtual world

An installation of works by artist Claire Burbridge

Heading into the second month of COVID-19 social distancing, people are turning to art online to cope with stress and isolation and finding a temporary refuge of comfort and calm amid an extraordinary shared global event.

In his recent article in The Conversation, “The Importance of Art In the Time of Coronavirus,” senior lecturer in illustration at the University of Portsmouth Louis Netter says that even in dire circumstances, art brings momentary joy.

“In this time of restriction, TV, film, books and video games offer us a chance to be mobile,” he writes. "To move around freely in a fictional world in a way that is now impossible in reality. Art connects us to the foreign, the exotic and the impossible – but in our current context, it also connects us to a world where anything is possible. A world out of our grasp for now.”

The UO offers many options for exploring art online. Take a virtual museum tour from the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s new “A Minute Exhibit” series or browse the entire Janus Criterion Collection of 395 classic films through UO Libraries’ Kanopy streaming service.


Those who were unable to get over to view the Roger Shimomura exhibition before the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art closed can still catch a superb guided virtual tour of it with museum curator Anne Rose Kitagawa. Image by Roger ShimomuraIf standard Asian artwork with happy themes is what you’re looking for, you won’t find it in Roger Shimomura’s body of work. What you will find is critical commentary about Asian stereotyping, the irony of freedom and other prickly topics found in decades of work by a prolific artist who is still at it well into his 80s.

The museum has launched a new series, “A Minute Exhibit.” The first video in the series, which explores the exhibition “Claire Burbridge: Pathways to the Invisible,” is available for viewing on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The museum also is offering its catalog free for download.

The museum also is providing remote teaching resources for faculty members throughout spring term as well as a comprehensive list of current and past exhibitions available online.

Looking to tap into your creativity while you’re at home? Pick up a Craft Kit from the Craft Center, Wednesdays at noon from the Craft Center outdoor area. From embroidery to bookbinding to small wood projects, a new kit is available each week. Go to the Craft Center YouTube channel for directions about how to get your kit.


The School of Music and Dance has created #OregonSolosTogether, an Instagram hashtag for talented students and faculty to upload and share their at-home videos. Be sure to check out professor of tuba and euphonium and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Michael Grose perform his rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”


The Serenade,” written by UO associate professor of indigenous, race and ethnic studies Ernesto Javier Martínez, is now available for viewing on HBO platforms and on HBO Latino. Winner of the 2019 Official Latino Film and Arts Festival Latinx Short Film Competition, “The Serenade” is the story of a Mexican American boy’s desire to demonstrate his romantic affection for another boy proudly and publically through the treasured Mexican custom of serenading.

Martínez is an award-winning queer Chicano/Puerto Rican writer and educator whose work explores how racially and sexually marginalized communities use literature and art to produce knowledge about their lives.


Catch up on Criterion classic films. From John Huston to John Cassavetes to Jean-Luc Godard, explore great films and filmmakers. Through the Kanopy streaming service, UO Libraries has purchased a three-year lease for the entire Janus Criterion Collection. Choose from 395 classic Criterion films, from David Lynch’s Eraserheadto Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal,” all available to stream for classes or personal viewing. Log in with your Duck ID and enjoy a show.

Movie posters

Explore a world-class museum with Artstor. With the library’s ArtStor subscription, you can take a globe-trotting tour of the world’s greatest museums, all without leaving your couch. Partnering with fine arts institutions and scholars worldwide, ArtStor hosts more than 2.5 million digitized artworks in its collection.


The spring 2020 Work-in-Progress and Books-in-Print talks will be recorded and available on the Oregon Humanities Center’s YouTube channel. The lineup includes:

  • “Only at Comic-Con: Hollywood, Fans, and the Limits of Exclusivity,” Erin Hanna, cinema studies, recorded 4/24/20.
  • “Embodying Isis: Egyptian Religion and the Negotiation of Greekness,” Lindsey Mazurek, history, recorded 5/1/20.
  • “How Should a Communist Grieve?: Ba Jin’s Revolutionary Mourning,” Roy Chan, East Asian languages and literatures, recorded 5/8/20.
  • “Memory and Erasure of Settler Violence in Early Oregon, 1848–1928,” Marc Carpenter, doctoral candidate, history, recorded 5/29/20.
  • “What If there are no individuals? Microbial biology and environmental ethics,” Nicolae Morar, philosophy and environmental studies, recorded 6/5/20.
  • John Frohnmayer, a 1972 law school graduate, will record a talk, “What Is the Role of Ethics in a Post-Truth World?” on a YouTube channel. It will be available April 30.

Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Discover the Museum of Natural and Cultural History’s “Museum from Home” page where you can explore and enjoy the museum remotely. New activities are posted each week.

Other UO Resources

Win cool prizes and test your trivia knowledge: UO students are invited to join Connect the Ducks: Trivia Nights online every Wednesday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. on Filmmaker James BlueThe theme of the trivia questions will change each week and you can find the game pin and link to the Kahoot in @connecttheducks Instagram bio right before the game begins.

Connect with yourself and others in a communal meditation circle. Join OM for a remote meditation session every Tuesday from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

Playlists are a great way to view content centered on a particular theme. For instance, on the Libraries YouTube channel you can sample a list of 20 films by UO alum and groundbreaking filmmaker James Blue. Or check out the Live Sessions playlist on the University of Oregon channel featuring a collection of live lectures, roundtable discussions and open forums.

Streaming resources

Attention all music lovers: British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a full-length musical online every Friday. Each musical in the Shows Must Go On series will be available for 48 hours.

The world’s largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution offers a huge diversity of digital resources from online events, exhibitions and podcasts to collections, animal webcams and more.

Paris may be closed but there’s no reason you can’t visit the Louvre’s exhibition rooms and galleries from home.

And if you’ve got the stay at home blues, be sure to head over to the Grammy Museum At Home to learn more about all your favorite music and musicians.

Finally, travel the world with Atlas Obscura, a site brimming with information designed to “inspire wonder about the incredible world we all share.” Discover curious places like Kejonuma Leisure Land, a rusting and forgotten amusement park in Japan, learn how scientists are tracking the ancient luxury market for decorated ostrich eggs, or for a minimal fee enjoy a virtual “experience,” such as exploring Stone Age relics in Texas, taking a New York City clock walk or touring Chicago’s largest prop house.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications