Judson Haims: Virtual programs are keeping the arts alive, accessible to those homebound | AspenTimes.com

Judson Haims: Virtual programs are keeping the arts alive, accessible to those homebound

Judson Haims
Special to The Aspen Times
Judson Haims
Courtesy photo

While the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered many cultural events this summer, there are many organizations that are providing opportunities to keep education and cultural events alive and accessible.

In the wake of the pandemic, people have been inhibited from getting outside, traveling and socializing. While staying at home may help limit people’s exposure to the virus, the unintended consequences have been dramatic. Lack of socialization, reduced physical activity, and excessive time spent sitting inside and watching the “boob tube” have increased the risk of chronic health and mental health conditions.

Here in our mountain communities we have several online virtual offerings for people of all ages that are not only entertaining, but educational as well. We are very fortunate to have world-class music, theater and educational offerings by local organizations.

For those interesting in music, please see my last article where I provided resources for some fabulous virtual musical concerts.

This week, I would like to provide resources for educational offerings, theater and the arts. These offerings are being provided by both local and national organizations that have virtual offerings available on their websites.


Pitkin Library District (https://pitcolib.org): Our library district has added an amazing amount of virtual experiences on their site. Check out “Great Courses” under the dropdown titled “Download & Stream” of their site. you will find great lectures on Music and Fine Arts, Philosophy, History and more. They also have a wide variety of eBooks & eAudioBooks. Looking to keep your young kids entertained? The library’s TumbleBooks library has a fabulous offering that will keep them entertained for quite some time. All you need is a library card to access all these opportunities.

Thunder River Theatre Company (thunderrivertheatre.com): Located in the Roaring Fork Valley, this local theater company has developed a free online series of virtual performances and events called ThunderStream. The site offers short performances, mini-salon performances from the Diva Cabaret and playwriting camp for students. If you like Kurt Vonnegut, check out this Literature Out Loud short story, “Who Am I This Time?”

Aspen Brain Institute (aspenbraininstitute.org): This amazing organization has been providing education about all aspects of brain health and neurodegenerative diseases. Watch a virtual presentation with Drs. Dean Ornish and Neal Barnard as they discuss “Plant-based Diet: A strategy for preventing Alzheimer’s.”

Another great presentation offered is from Dr. David Sinclair. In his virtual seminar, he a proposes a radical new theory of aging entitled, “Why We Age & Why We Might Not Have To.” The ABI has had some of the world’s best scientists and researchers speak at their events. Their virtual seminars, Expert Series 2.0, is available on their website and available to all interested in learning about brain health.


If you’re not familiar, Google Arts and Cultures (artsandculture.google.com/partner) is an online resource that provides links to many cultural institutions throughout the world that offer videos, images and education.

While traveling to museums may not be possible right now, the following museums are just a few available via Google Arts and Cultures that offer virtual exhibits to view: Musee d’Orsay in Paris, The Kröller-Müller Museum, MoMA in NYC, and The Munch Museum.

you can enjoy a virtual walkthrough of some exhibits at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. If you like Picasso, there are virtual tours of the Museu Picasso of Barcelona.

For people who enjoy the theater, Playbill and the Broadway Podcast Network have partnered on a full schedule of upcoming livestream events during the current global theatrical shutdown.

If you are missing dance, New York City Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet have a number of virtual offerings.

Don’t sit around an complain that health concerns or travel restrictions are impeding you from enjoying the arts. There are plenty of online offerings (and we have links in the online version of this column).

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is, http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526.