British Columbia

Vancouver Art Gallery, Royal B.C. Museum launch free digital activities for the whole family

Exhibit tours, curator chats and kid-friendly activities can now be done from the comfort of your couch.

Try a dinosaur drawing class on April 1, or listen to a curator chat online after COVID-19 forces closures

The Vancouver Art Gallery is closed due to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but has launched Arts Connects, a new series of free art events online. (Evan Mitsui)

The novel coronavirus has forced museums and galleries to shut their doors, but a couple of British Columbia's biggest have made it possible to enjoy some of what they have to offer from the comfort of your couch.

The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) and the Royal B.C. Museum (RBCM) in Victoria, B.C. are now offering live, interactive events online on a regular basis while people are holed up at home to slow the spread of the virus.

Every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and Friday at 4:30 p.m., the VAG will stream conversations with guests from local and international arts communities as part of its new digital Art Connects series. The events are free and anyone can join using the web-based video conferencing tool Zoom.

The series kicked off March 31 with two curators giving viewers an in-depth look at the VAG's newest exhibition The Tin Man Was a Dreamer: Allegories, Poetics and Performances of Powerwhich was meant to open in the gallery the week the building closed.

"It's a way that we can feature international artists during the situation," said VAG's interim chief curator Diana Freundl.

Freundl said she has already seen an enthusiastic response from the public, with more than one hundred people registering for the first event within days after it was promoted.

You can find out more details on how to participate in VAG's Art Connects events here.

Drawing dinosaurs

The province's flagship museum is offering activities for kids every Wednesday at 11 a.m. starting April 1. 

First up for the wee ones at RBCM is learning to draw a dinosaur with Victoria Arbour, the museum's paleontology curator.

And not just any dino, but Buster, one of the first and most complete skeletons of a mountain dinosaur found in B.C. that Arbour helped identify and name.

Victoria Arbour looks over items from the paleontology collection at the Royal B.C. Museum. Arbour is looking forward to answering children's questions about dinosaurs while teaching how to draw them. (Brandy Yanchyk/Canadian Press)

"I've got dinosaurs on my brain a lot of the time," said Arbour Tuesday in an interview on On The Island.

She said drawing is a big part of her scientific research and she will be encouraging kids to ask her whatever they want to know about dinosaurs while they draw.

All that is needed to join Arbour is a Zoom connection, paper and a pencil.

And grownups, there is something at RBCM for you too.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at noon, the museum is offering online chats with curators and archivists to learn more about what they do, and how they do it from home these days. 

To find out more about participating in RBCM's online programs visit here.

With files from The Early Edition and On The Island

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