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9 Capital Region Venues And Museums Offering Free Remote Entertainment During The COVID-19 Crisis (Updated)

There's still plenty to do around the region—online, that is—from Caffè Lena's Stay Home Sessions to The Hyde Collection's virtual tours.

Hyde Collection
The Hyde Collection, one of Upstate New York's preeminent small museums, has made its exhibits available for free online.

It’s not always easy to stay entertained in self-quarantine—especially staring down week two of all nonessential businesses being shuttered because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Thankfully, a little virtual help is on the way. Unable to open their doors to the public, a number of local venues, businesses and museums have taken what they do best and made it digital, including live streaming concerts, creating online art projects and even offering virtual dance and workout sessions. And it’s all completely free!  Loaded with lots of e-fun, this list should keep those of you in the Capital Region from bouncing off the walls for another couple of weeks.

Caffè Lena
Saratoga Springs’ signature folk venue has converted its upcoming lineup into a live streaming series called the Stay Home Sessions. Tune into YouTube for the next couple of weeks (maybe more) to catch free live performances broadcast from Lena’s iconic stage. (The venue had actually been live-streaming its events anyway, so pandemic or not, the feed will continue long after the virus is gone.) The live stream of The Civil Wars’ John Paul White from March 13 was viewed by nearly 500 people from around the globe.

Hyde Collection
In order to continue offering patrons and members the access they deserve, many global art museums have launched “virtual” tour options. And Glens Falls’ incredible Hyde Collection is part of that growing list. The museum has gone completely virtual, offering up free online access not only to its permanent collection of artwork, which spans thousands of years of art history, but also to temporary exhibitions, including a famous etching series by Spanish master painter Francisco Goya. The museum has even placed its audioguides online and is adding art classes and other projects to its YouTube channel.

Northshire Bookstore
There’s never been a better time to crack open a book. Just this week, Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga announced a brand new online series called Northshire Live, a kind of weekly e-club for bookworms. Every Thursday starting on April 2, Northshire will host a virtual event that features authors discussing their works via Zoom. For the first Northshire Live event this Thursday, National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin will discuss a current work-in-progress, plus his most recent book, Born To Fly, about the first women’s air race across the US.

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Why not get ready for the summer track season early? The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is offering a variety of online content including educational programming, digital social interactions for all ages and the museum’s popular Foal Patrol, an interactive web series that gives viewers a unique and up-close look at the breeding and foaling process. Also, check out the racing museum’s Facebook page for other racing resources and a new #HistoryThroughArt series that shares posts about artwork from the museum’s collection.

Tang Teaching Museum
Get ready for some fine art (and crafts) at home. Last week, Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum launched Tang at Home, an online resource for creative art-making projects and activities, all inspired by artwork previously exhibited at the museum. The first art project on Tang at Home’s list is called Empowerment, and it discusses Upstate-based, mixed media artist Alisa Sikelianos-Carter and her work Crown Me.

Arthur Zankel Music Center
Speaking of Skidmore, the college’s Arthur Zankel Music Center is sharing a Throwback Concert every weeknight at 7pm on its Facebook page. Each Throwback Concert post includes a link to a live-streamed show held at Zankel, everything from a 2016 Filene Scholarship Winner’s Concert to a performance from this past December by Pulse, Skidmore’s own found objects percussion group.

Capital District YMCA
Having a little less space (or gym equipment) doesn’t mean a good workout still isn’t possible. In fact, it’s been made a lot easier with the help of the Capital District YMCA, which for two weeks now has been posting Virtual Fitness workout videos on its YouTube channel and Facebook page. The Virtual Fitness series includes videos for both kids and adults, and each installment is led by a Capital District YMCA instructor.

Saratoga Springs Public Library
The Saratoga Springs Public Library (SSPL) isn’t keeping things quiet during the quarantine. The library is offering free e-books online, plus digital access to dozens of magazines. The library is also still offering some online readings and postings through its new e-program, Hanging @ Home with SSPL. Best of all, if you don’t already have a library card you can easily sign up for a digital card. (Glens Falls’ Crandall Public Library is similarly offering some electronic resources and readings.)

Tango Fusion
Saratoga-based dance partners Diane Lachtrupp Martinez and Johnny Martinez, who perform as the educational dance duo Tango Fusion, are offering free online dance classes every Monday and Tuesday starting at 6:30pm. Monday classes will feature waltz, swing, cha cha and advanced hustle, and the Tuesday classes will include beginner and intermediate salsa as well as West Coast swing.

Jeff Dingler
Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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