Friday, 20 March 2020 13:17

Musicians and Museums Going Virtual

Written by  Josh Veal
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Loren Johnson performing a virtual concert at The Listening Room. Loren Johnson performing a virtual concert at The Listening Room. Screenshot from the livestream

Screens have been a literal and figurative lifesaver during this global pandemic.

Aside from the usual entertainment, screens let us talk face-to-face with our coworkers, stay in touch with our favorite businesses, and enjoy art from afar.

Museums and musicians alike are using technology to share art, exhibits and concerts directly to the comfort and safety of your home. Rather than cancelling the show entirely, Opera Grand Rapids streamed its March show, Scalia/Ginsberg, to ticketholders. And museums in large cities are even offering full virtual tours of their halls.

In West Michigan, local musicians all over are streaming live shows from their apartments and other venues without crowds. Museums, meanwhile, are taking this opportunity to share their collection via social media.

If you want to support local institutions and keep from going crazy, here’s our list of who to watch!


Stay In Your House Shows

Stay In Your House Shows came together almost immediately after COVID-19 started shutting everything down, with the first show happening on Friday, March 20.

The concept is simple: a series of virtual concerts featuring local musicians. Tune in to see artists like Dan Rickabus, Steve Leaf, Loren Johnson, Justin Stover and Emilee Petersmark play half-hour sets! It’s free, but please consider donating $5 to the Paypal if you want to support the musicians.

Circle Theatre Virtual Events

Circle Theatre is bringing the concert to you with two shows a week, livestreamed on Facebook. Singers, pianists, guitarists — they're all part of Circle Theatre's incredibly talented cast. Check out their Facebook for show dates, but they all start at 7:30 p.m. Circle is also hosting a weekly chat with drag queen Petty LuPone, telling stories and asking questions with other Circle perfomers! 

Viral Virtual Venues

Bands all over West Michigan are playing virtual concerts independently, which is why Local Spins put together its “Viral Virtual Venues” calendar to put them all in one place! Just head to the website and you’ll see tons of options in the week ahead.



Grand Rapids Art Museum
101 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids

The GRAM is taking its art to social media, in more ways than one. Check out their Facebook for a great images from “Useful Beauty: Design Highlights from the Permanent Collection,” not to mention a virtual tour of the exhibit with Curator Ron Platt! They also hosted a virtual Yoga at GRAM, led by AM Yoga. Keep checking for more.

Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

The Public Museum is shifting to virtual in a big way, with an online collection database of more than 250,000 artifacts and specimens at The museum is also planning to add digital content for families, with activities, lessons and curriculum to keep kids engaged. Head to for more info and continuously updated digital content!

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculptural Park
1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

Frederik Meijer Gardens is doing two virtual visits every day! Tune in at 10 a.m. for Cozy Tales storytime for the kids, and at 2 p.m. for various livestream visits, such as Monday's "Butterfly Life Cycle in the Caterpillar Room."

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

This museum is offering virtual access to its exhibits and learning materials with virtual tours and more. Head to the website for a virtual tour and head to the DeVos Learning Center to view the youth-centered experiences online. 

Muskegon Museum of Art
296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon

Muskegon Museum of Art is using Facebook to post videos of its exhibitions as well as daily pieces from its collection.

Holland Museum
31 W. 10th St., Holland

The Holland Museum has made its entire collection of more than 90,000 pieces available online! There are photographs, newspaper clippings, technical drawings and much more.

Broad Art Museum
547 E. Circle Dr., East Lansing

MSU’s Broad Art Museum is staying connected with 3D models of its own collection, online posts about artists and articles featuring great art. The 3D models let you get even more up-close than you’d be able to in-person!


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