The Fam Five: Online Arts & Entertainment Options

Jim Fischer
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra has posted a Virtual Family Concert on its website.

These are unprecedented times. Since its inception in 2014, this column has always been a vehicle to inform Central Ohio parent about family-friendly opportunities in arts and entertainment. But local venues are now shuttered, abiding by orders from government officials to limit large gatherings. As a result, performers and others who bring the arts to you are home, just like we are.

For most of those folks, not only are the arts their livelihood, it’s also their passion. It’s what brings them joy. They’re looking for ways to stay connected, the same as anyone else.

So, in the spirit of the times, this edition of “The Fam Five” shines a light on some of the ways artists are reaching out, and some ways we can reach back. 

Virtual Performances

Well, the performances themselves aren’t virtual—they’re for real. But your attendance happens through the magic of the internet. Many artists and arts organizations are making content available to stream, or view in real time via services such as Facebook Live.

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra recently made its Virtual Family Concert available at When this regular in-person series had to be suspended due to coronavirus restrictions, the orchestra’s string quartet recorded the performance on video. In addition to the music, there’s a storytime, a chance to learn about opposites and a demonstration of how the different instruments sound.

And for a change of pace, Captain Captain of local children’s band The Shazzbots frequently has been going live on the band’s Facebook page with songs, stories and a tiny dose of patented mayhem. There are also downloadable coloring pages available at

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Tour the World’s Art Galleries

Many of these tools existed prior to the current stay-at-home circumstance, but now might be the time to virtually visit Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, tour New York City’s “Guggenheim from Home” or stay closer to home and view images of works in the collections of the Columbus Museum of Art.

Make Art With Your Favorites

Your school’s art teachers are helping kids stay engaged with their creative sides, no doubt, but there are lots of ways to augment those lessons, courtesy of some kid-favorite author-illustrators.

Learn how to draw characters and more with Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants and other books. The Library of Congress has partnered with Pilkey to create instructional videos and other activities on its website.

If Mo Willems (“Knuffle Bunny,” Elephant & Piggie, “Sheep in the Big City”) is more up your alley, you’re in luck. The Kennedy Center’s YouTube channel is hosting daily Lunch Doodle videos featuring Willems.

Columbus author-illustrator Jason Tharp (“It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn”) is doing daily art lessons live on his Wonderville Studios Facebook page.

Get Creative

One of my favorite things I’ve seen pop up during this time is the “recreate great works of art challenge.”

I first saw it via The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, but other museums have jumped on board, including the Columbus Museum of Art. The object is to recreate a classic work of visual art, perhaps with a goofy twist, and post it on social media (it started March 25 on the Getty’s Twitter) with the hashtags #gettymuseum challenge and #HomemadeMasterpiece.

Even if you’re not feeling inspired to make your own art, check out the hashtags anyway. There’s so much good stuff already, you could probably pass an hour or so just browsing, sharing and laughing.


This one is plain and simple. In these uncertain times, our artists and art institutions are especially challenged.

Families, of course, are too, so take care of yourselves and your loved ones first, with no misgivings or sense of other obligation. But those blessed enough to have a bit extra can do little things that make a big difference.

It doesn’t have to be a cash donation. Find your favorite local artist or musician’s online store and buy some merchandise. Sign up for a class now that might not happen for a season or so and pay for it upfront. And if you hold tickets for an event that was canceled, consider not asking for a refund.

Artists and entertainers are helping us cope with these difficult times. That’s enough to warrant our support. But it’s important to keep them around for the whole community to experience in-person too, when the time comes. It’s going to take all of us.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.