The coronavirus crisis might have forced a myriad of arts institutions to temporarily close and pause exhibitions and festivals, but if there’s a positive to the situation, it’s that the arts are more accessible online than ever before. Galleries, museums and performance spaces around the world are taking their exhibitions and shows online – and often the programming is free.
Today, Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) joined this global trend with Your MCA, a free online program aimed at educating people about – and connecting them with – contemporary art and artists from Australia and abroad through a mix of activities, interactive tours, panel talks and live performances.
The first initiative, Better Together with Pip and Merindah, is aimed at NSW children who are currently on school holidays. Every day until April 25, a new activity will be published on the MCA’s website at 9am, with step-by-step instructions for a craft project that can be completed with materials found at home. The five-day series builds on the 2020 Biennale of Sydney exhibition the MCA was hosting before the shutdown, and each activity will teach children a word in Wiradjuri (the language spoken by the Indigenous people western NSW).
Older art lovers can also engage with the 2020 Biennale of Sydney (which was slated to run until June) with 360-degree tours of the MCA’s portion of the exhibition’s artworks. There’s an introduction from Artistic Director Brook Andrew, as well as talks from artists such as Zanele Muholi, Tarek Lakhrissi, Aziz Hazara and Pedro Wonaeamirri.
If you fancy hearing more from other contemporary artists, look to Artist Voice (launching later this month), a series of audio, written and video conversations between the MCA’s curators and artists such as Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Gemma Smith, Janet Laurence, Lee Mingwei, Karla Dickens, Phuong Ngo and Ronnie van Hout.
On May 31, a digital version of the MCA’s popular youth program, Genext, will be held. There’ll be guided meditations, a “quarantine-couture” costume competition, panel talks, live performances and interactive art-making prompts for kids aged 12 to 18.
The MCA is also debuting more than 140 digital activities to help students of all ages engage with artists, exhibitions and special themes. The activities hinge on past exhibitions and cover a range of subjects, from climate change to feminism to Indigenous language and culture.
More digital experiences will be added in the coming weeks.