The Arts Must Go On…Virtually

Local arts organizations get creative with offerings for patrons and students

Virginia International Tattoo

Experience the Virginia International Tattoo through VAF’s new Virtual Connections program.

Stay-at-home orders may have you missing afternoons lingering at your favorite art museum or the excitement of experiencing a live performance on stage, but the COVID-19 quarantine doesn’t have to result in a life void of culture and creativity. In fact, it’s easy to access a vast array of virtual arts opportunities the entire family can enjoy straight from the comfort of their couch.

And what better way to begin than with the ultra-successful Virginia Arts Festival? Slated to be in full swing for the next several months, VAF Executive Director Rob Cross has instead managed an impressive lineup of events presented in untraditional ways.

“The need for social distancing changed plans to present some of the world’s great artists in live performances this spring,” he says. “We felt it was important to stay connected and still provide access to great performances through online/broadcast programs. In this time, we need the joy, hope and inspiration the arts provide.”

To help you navigate VAF and much more, we have put together an extensive list of amazing virtual arts experiences currently being offered by venues, museums and organizations throughout Coastal Virginia. As the saying goes, the show must go … online.

Virginia Arts Festival

The VAF website now features a Virtual Connections page, and their social media pages (@VaArtsFest) are updated daily with new content from former festival artists. Look there to find a schedule of televised and broadcasted past events through May on WHRO TV 15 and WHRO radio.

They’ve also created several genre-based playlists for you to listen to for free, available on Spotify. Use the desktop or mobile app and search for Virginia Arts Festival.

Some upcoming highlights include ways to virtually experience the always-crowd-pleasing Virginia International Tattoo:

  • Turn on the Taps: Virtual Virginia International Tattoo Experience through May 3 on Virginia International Tattoo Facebook Page @VaTatt.
  • Re-broadcast of 2016 Virginia International Tattoo (WHRO TV and streaming online), May 1 at 9 p.m.
  • A Virtual Salute to the Greatest Generation featuring the planned 2020 Virginia International Tattoo cast, remotely, May 2 at 10 p.m. Performers sent in 248 individual videos that came together along with a synthesized accompaniment track to create a one-of-a-kind piece of powerful music.

A full schedule is at


Virginia Symphony Orchestra has developed a virtual VSO Music Learning Lab Orchestra including dozens of videos about orchestral instruments, playing techniques and musician tips. Resources are available for all age levels including a section that introduces younger children to how each instrument makes sound, is made and is used within the symphony and technique tips for more experienced students.

Follow Virginia Opera to be in the know on when they are hosting frequent streaming performances available on YouTube and Facebook @VaOpera. Kid-friendly programing is also being posted to the page each Wednesday.

Performing Arts

Wells Theater Virginia Stage Company

All the world’s a stage with Virginia Stage Company’s virtual readings, labs and workshops.

Get Virtual with Virginia Stage is a program offering online classes and discussions led by Virginia Stage Company artists for students and the general public. Check their website for scheduled upcoming programing including readings, an acting lab for children, an artist selfcare sharing session and an audition workshop.

Use Together at Home Academy by The Hurrah Players for Zoom dance and voice classes. Check in with the Facebook page @HurrahPlayers to view the Virtual Bedtime Stories Series or join the Virtual Cabaret, a one-on-one performance from one of the Hurrah students and an interview between him or her and Director Hugh Copeland.

Sandler Center for the Performing Arts is encouraging their resident companies to share videos and photos of their musicians, performers and actors and actresses performing and practicing at home. Throughout the next several weeks they will be sharing videos on their social media sites @SandlerCenter.

Zeiders American Dream Theater created Remote Theaterwhere you can participate in live creative conversations, find at-home projects and watch comedy and music performances. The new online programs focus on supporting local artists and maintaining community connections.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has launched the CREATIVE JOY Project, a virtual social media series to help people stay artfully connected. Each day Suffolk Center’s social media channels @SuffolkCenter will offer different ideas to help visitors tap into their creativity from home such as virtual gallery tours of the new art exhibition “Walk on the Wild Side,” creative challenges and live streaming concerts.

The HeART of Hampton is part of Hampton Arts’ mission to advance the arts through accessible online content. Weekly live episodes of The HeART of Hampton allow viewers to catch up with performing artists and industry insiders from Coastal Virginia and around the world. Also available are interviews and demonstrations with artists from the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.


Join Ballet Virginia as well as Todd Rosenlieb Dance/Virginia Ballet Theatre for Zoom classes for new and current students for children and adults—tap, ballet, musical theater, modern, pilates and more.

Visual Arts

Chrysler Museum of Art

Tour the galleries of the Chrysler Museum of Art from the comfort of your couch.

The entire Chrysler Museum of Art collection is available online. The museum has included that link as well as various other virtual resources—children’s activities, gallery tours and videos of Third Thursday performances—on the page Chrysler From Home.

Virtual Virginia MOCA is now open for fans to watch videos, discover art and explore educational resources. We recommend the interactive live artist chats, the New Waves 2020 exhibition available in the Virtual Gallery and Virtual Art Start, where students look at three works of art from upcoming exhibitions and create a related art activity.

The  has set up a well executed virtual tour of its entire museum collection including artwork, glass sculpture, modernist paintings and historic dolls and moving figures.

Virginia Beach Art Center has invited the community to use art to process their emotions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Various submitted works in the Pandemic ’20 ongoing exhibit can be viewed online, along with Waterways. An opening reception for the virtual Garden of Life collection will be on Facebook on May 1 at 7 p.m.

Follow @PeninsulaFineArtsCenter on social media for family project ideas like painting a fence post, at-home watercolors or a parent/child drawing challenge.

The Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary has put together Muscarelle: Anywhere including several virtual exhibitions, an online workshop series and behind-the-scenes videos.

Take a virtual tour of the T Ellis Fine Art Exhibition commemorating 400 years of African-American history and culture in the ODU Goode Theater.

Melissa M. Stewart
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