As we all spend time at home to help fight the spread of the current pandemic, many may be missing the abundant arts and culture offerings Santa Monica is known for. But while we are safer at home, there’s no need to miss out on the creativity of our beach city.
In these difficult times, Santa Monica businesses have met the challenges with innovation and are now offering a myriad of ways for all of us to experience a taste of the arts while still observing social distancing recommendations. Read on for a list of virtual arts and culture experiences that will give you the feels – from the safety of your living room.
Enjoy The Broad Stage at Home
A series of livestream performances, interviews and archival footage is regularly updated on the Broad’s website here. New content is introduced each week. You can also browse their catalogue of arts-focused Learning Guides, video workshops with artists and full show performance videos from past student matinees at The Broad Stage.
Explore Virtual Art Exhibits with 18@Home
As the largest artist residency program in Southern California, there’s no shortage of creativity at 18th Street Arts Center, a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community. While the galleries are closed, the center has introduced 18@Home, a new platform that allows viewers to virtually participate and experience in artist projects. This series is available online and across social media platforms.
Discover the Neighborhood with the Santa Monica Conservancy
With a rich history that dates back to the 1800’s, Los Angeles’ beach city is full of historical gems. The Santa Monica Conservancy is offering free digital downloads of their Discover the Neighborhood brochures to enable you to view architectural and historical highlights of the district and learn about the evolution of the neighborhood from the comfort of your own home. A different historic district of Santa Monica will be highlighted each week. As a reminder, if you do go outside for a walk to view the sites listed, please remember to put six feet of distance between you and others.
Go Behind the Scenes of The Getty Villa
Tucked in the hillside just North of Santa Monica is the Getty Villa, a replica of an Italian villa that houses antiquities from Ancient Greece and Rome. To take visitors behind the scenes virtually, The Getty Villa and Getty Center are offering extensive online program on their blog. Listen to podcasts with art researches, take a tour of the Michelangelo exhibition with a curator or even download Getty Open content to create a custom background in Zoom meetings – you’ll be the talk of the virtual office!
Learn to Act or Perfect Public Speaking with Edgemar Center for the Arts
The Edgemar Center for the Arts is one of the top acting schools in the country, routinely attracting visitors from around the world. The center is offering an extensive list of blog, conducted live over Zoom for both adults and children, including Acting 101, Learn English through Acting and Auditioning for Film and TV On Camera. For non-actors, they are also offering classes in dealing with anxiety, public speaking and improv.
Tour Virtual Art Exhibits at Bergamot Station
Bergamot Station is Southern California’s largest art gallery complex and cultural center, located on eight acres in the heart of Santa Monica featuring contemporary art galleries, architecture and design firms, a cafe, and a frame shop. Many of the 15+ galleries in the complex are offering online exhibits for you to enjoy from home.
Enjoy a Virtual Cabaret with City Garage Theatre
City Garage Theatre has produced innovative, award-winning theater in Santa Monica for 30 years. The company is known for presenting original works that explore contemporary ideas and issues in a distinctive, strongly physical, highly visual style. To raise funds and keep the work alive, the theater is reprising crowd-favorite roles, monologues, songs and performances in a virtual cabaret with new content every week.
Learn improv with Westside Comedy Theater
Hone your comedy skills from home with classes taught by industry experts and master comedians from one of the best comedy clubs in LA – M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater.
Join a Virtual Open-Mic
Downbeat 720, the City’s long-running open-mic for high school performers, has moved online to Zoom. Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month (Oct 2020 – Jun 2021), students are invited to perform their music, poetry, comedy or art for participating students and professional artist mentors. Performers will receive positive constructive feedback to help strengthen their performances. Participants must register in advance here.
Sign Up for an Online Art Class
There’s a new way to celebrate happy hour with Paint:Lab. Adults are invited to virtual happy hour art classes with live, interactive sessions designed to help you take your skills to the next level, soothe the soul and relieve stress.
Take an Online Music Class with The Music Castle
The Music Castle on Montana Avenue was created with the belief that anyone can experience the joy of playing music…. even while we are safer at home. This local business is offering private music and vocal instruction via webcam to ensure that students have the full attention of a teacher and can progress at a level suited to individual needs. Older students may also enjoy a vocal bootcamp performance workshop to perform for others and receive critiques. Music Castle is offering 50% off first online lessons.
Enjoy Dance and Music Lessons
Santa Monica School of Dance and Music is the first studio to offer both dance and music lessons in Santa Monica. They offer online dance classes and lessons in Ballet, Tap, Mommy & Me, Jazz, and Hip-Hop for all ages and levels. In-person classes (with a maximum of 4-7 students per class) will be available starting Fall 2021.
The California Heritage Museum Online Virtual Museum
Located in the 1894 Historic Landmark Roy Jones House, at 2612 Main Street in Santa Monica, the California Heritage Museum is a non-profit, community organization that is committed to promoting the diversity and rich history of California’s heritage through exhibitions, lectures, publications and community events.
The California Heritage Museum presents its first online exhibition by Santa Monica photographer Marco Pallotti. The exhibition displays more than 45 colorful portraits of Main Street and Ocean Park area Merchants within their working environment. The creation of this exhibition has taken more than three years to accomplish and the “in-house” museum show will soon be ready for installation. Please visit californiaheritagemuseum.org.
Watch a Film Starring Santa Monica
Known as Hollywood by the Beach, Santa Monica has long been one of the silver screen’s biggest stars, delighting viewers through the ages with its 3.5 miles of glistening coastline, breathtaking ocean views and historic architecture. Indeed, since the early days of movie-making, the city has been featured in hundreds of movies. Grab a seat on the couch, pop a bag of popcorn and travel to some of Santa Monica’s most scenic settings with these 15 films. Click here to view the Santa Monica movies blog.
- Rebel Without a Cause, 1955
- The Sting, 1974
- The Muppet Movie, 1979
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1984
- Speed, 1994
- Forrest Gump, 1994
- Get Shorty, 1995
- The Big Lebowski, 1998
- Ocean’s Eleven, 2001
- Lords of Dogtown, 2005
- Iron Man, 2008
- Hannah Montana: The Movie, 2009
- Valentine’s Day, 2010
- The Social Network, 2010
- Her, 2013