- Courtesy Living Planet Aquarium
The Living Planet Aquarium:
On at least one level, things remain business as usual at The Living Planet Aquarium, according to public programs manager Brent Beardsley. "The animal care side of things is running pretty much as normal," he says. "Penguins still need to eat the same amount every day, regardless of how many guests are coming through the building; they're still pooping the same."
Guests aren't coming through the building at the moment, but with staff still serving those animals, and a desire to continue providing for the public, the aquarium has gotten creative. The Scarlet's Adventure video series—available on the Living Planet's website, Facebook and YouTube pages—takes aquarium educator Michelle Holiman and a macaw named Scarlet through the building, learning about other exhibits like sloths and the plants of the South American jungle.
The videos are intended to provide appealing content for audiences that might be self-isolating, as well as for parents looking for educational content they can use as lessons for kids home from school. "We wanted something that would be engaging, informative for a variety of audiences, and something simple," Beardsley says. "Something very visual, and very easy to get a variety of different ages engaged."
The Living Planet plans to supplement the video with additional materials, developing a website with experiments, activities and free educational resources. "The mission of the aquarium has always been to help people explore, discover and learn," Beardsley concludes. "The main way we've done that is bringing guests in. We can't bring people here right now, but our mission hasn't changed." (Scott Renshaw)
- Courtesy UMOCA
While there's no perfect substitute for experiencing creative works up close and in person, visual arts organizations might offer some of the best opportunities to continue sharing with the public while physical facilities are closed. The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has launched multiple online initiatives intended to brighten up our lives with art, as well as teach us more about the works and those who created them—and even provide instruction in how to do a little creating ourselves.
The "Art Everyday" program (utahmoca.org/art-everyday) offers a resource to help families and K-12 students turn their attention for part of their at-home day toward creating art. In daily posts, UMOCA staff provide 10-steps-or-fewer instruction on a variety of subjects promoting imagination and a little hands-on work, generally only requiring objects that would already be on-hand in most homes. You can learn to create a zine, the meditative practice of "Zen doodling," or how to make a paper bag puppet.
Additionally, while UMOCA's traveling "Art Truck" has suspended its touring operations, you can visit the Art Truck yourself by means of an interactive 360-degree video tour (utahmoca.org/art-truck-virtual-tour/). Curated by local artists and full of fascinating, accessible contemporary art intended for visits to schools and community venues, the Art Truck can now come in a virtual sense directly to your home. The current exhibition—Work/Trabajo: An Audio-Visual Exploration of Effortful Lives—is a series of photographs and audio interviews created and curated by Escalante Elementary School in Salt Lake City's Rose Park neighborhood. Check out the museum online and keep art alive and all around you. (SR)
- Enrique Limón
The King's English Bookshop and Weller Book Works
Many people are responding to the coronavirus quarantine by settling in with a stack of books. Our local booksellers, meanwhile, are doing what they can to remain connected with the community by providing actual books and by providing programming.
While The King's English Bookshop has closed the store's location to foot traffic, it's still possible to order books for pickup or delivery via their website, kingsenglish.com. Additionally, The King's English is conducting daily live-streaming storytimes for young children (at 11 a.m.) and of chapter books like The Phantom Tollbooth (at 2 p.m.) via Instagram and Facebook pages.
"The response to our daily virtual book readings has been great and our viewership has been increasing almost every day," King's English marketing manager Rob Eckman says. "As we read, we can see friendly emoji move across the screen, and viewer comments—'My kids love this!' and 'Everyone loves to be read aloud to!' And it's true. There is something comforting and relaxing about being read to. It can transport us to a different place and time"
Meanwhile, Weller Book Works remains open for pickup, shipping and delivery orders via wellerbookworks.com. The store also looks to host virtual author events via Facebook, like the March 31 conversation with Montana-based authors Betsy Gaines Quammen (American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West) and David Quammen (Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic) discussing misinformation and conspiracy theories in a time of crisis. Support authors and our independent bookstores as they continue to keep us informed and engaged. (SR)
- Stephanie Shiozaki
Remote Dance Classes
If there's one thing we all need to do, it's keep moving. A walk around the neighborhood might be nice, but the gym isn't really an option, and it's easy to get antsy for a little more cardio. So why not take this moment to explore virtual dance classes, all while supporting local nonprofits and businesses?
Repertory Dance Theatre has had to cancel performances and suspend in-person classes, but it's still possible to sign-up for a wide range of classes available for live streaming on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. Join in for modern dance, jazz dance, Bollywood, ballet and more, with all classes currently free—a "pay what you can" model was instituted effective April 1—at rdtutah.org/danceclasses. You can still purchase gift cards and help support RDT financially to say "thanks" for all they do in the community. "While it is definitely not 'business as usual,' RDT is working hard to continue serving our community and fulfilling our mission," says RDT marketing director Stephanie Perkins. "We are committed to continue creating, performing, preserving, and perpetuating the art of modern dance in any way we can."
DF Dance Studio (dfdancestudio.com) is among the many local dance studios that has had to discontinue in-person group classes (though many private lessons are continuing). You can sign up for online, interactive lessons in ballroom, swing, country line dancing, salsa and much more on their website, at a price of $40 for eight classes; kid-friendly lessons are also available. They're also offering "online performance challenges," where you can learn a routine and share it. Explore ways to keep your body in tune, and feel a little more connected while doing it. (SR)