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If you’ve never had a chance to get to know Denver’s extensive collection of public artwork, now’s the perfect time to dig in — either virtually or on foot, in proper socially distanced form — by using online self-guided tour maps on Denver Public Art’s website. Some tours are themed, while others focus on certain areas of the city.

In the beginning, circa 1981, the Museum of Outdoor Arts was truly a museum without walls, founded by John W. Madden Jr. and daughter Cynthia Madden Leitner as a collection scattered around Greenwood Plaza, Marjorie Park and other outdoor spots in the Denver Tech Center. While MOA switched gears after its indoor home opened in City Center Englewood, it has continued to maintain and grow the outdoor collection, which you can explore both virtually on the website or on foot, using a downloadable tour brochure.

It's a sad day when you can't go inside Denver's brick-and-mortar museums, but there's no need to feel like you're missing out on the cultural experiences normally available in the city. Many museums — particularly art museums — have devised ways to share their collections virtually. At the Kirkland, that includes a 360-degree virtual tour of the museum's handsome, salon-style groupings of objects and artifacts, including decorative arts, regional art and the work of Colorado artist Vance Kirkland.
Courtesy Denver Art Museum

On any given day, you'll see only a fraction of the Denver Art Museum's vast collection as you walk through its galleries. When you're out and about and busy with life, that might be enough, but when you're stuck at home with nothing to do? That's the time to explore everything that's not on the floor, including collections that are in storage until the Martin Building partially reopens in June. And you can do that: It's all there online at the DAM's website, with several search ranges at your disposal.
MCA Denver

You know MCA Denver doesn't do things like other museums. It doesn't have a collection to catalogue online, and many of its events are all about inviting audiences to be a part of something communal, from hands-on workshops to lighthearted lectures. And while the museum is closed to the public, you can still participate in the serendipitous fun: Follow @mca_denver on Instagram for weekly prompts dropped on Tuesdays and submit your contribution using the hashtag #LetsMCA. The Insta page will also host artist talks, live streams and other content, beginning with video from MC Rakim's recent talk and performance hosted by the MCA at the Oriental Theater.

Brandon Marshall

From the comfort of your couch, explore the digital offerings of the Denver Botanic Gardens. Start your visit by going on the venue's YouTube channel to see the various parts of the gardens and learn more about them. Next, take a photo stroll through the Japanese garden, steppe gardens and more. The website also shows what's blooming, and once you've exhausted those options, you can check out the Instagram page for even more pictures. After all, even if the place isn't open, gardeners will be on hand to keep up the grounds, so you might as well watch everything grow.

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Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo has put effort into digitally sharing what its animal residents are doing whenever the grounds are closed. We're talking Instagram, daily Facebook Live feeds at 1 p.m. under the hashtag #bringthezootoyou, and tons of information about the creatures on the website. As a bonus, the zoo's social-media posts show videos of the new baby rhino, yet to be named, and other cute wildlife on the premises. Map out which animals you want to visit the next time the zoo gates open.

Although the Denver Public Library had to close its doors to the public, the institution's online platform is as robust as ever. DPL offers respite for stressed-out parents with ebooks, animated children's books and the Phone-a-Story program (720-865-8500), which allows you to pick English, Spanish, Amharic or Vietnamese selections. You can even chat with a librarian online and get answers to questions Google can't figure out. DPL offers free access to its Kanopy streaming service, too, which includes more than 30,000 film titles, as well as thousands of albums in an online music library and hundreds of releases from local artists.

If you're really desperate for art to look at, how about renting some on the fly? Joe Clark of Get the Gallery devised the art-rental service to be affordable and easy but handled with care, meaning that after you select something online, it'll be delivered to your door, ready to hang, with the option of having the concierge hang it for you for an additional fee. Prices range from $17 to $49 per month, according to the number and value of the pieces you rent. And Get the Gallery keeps it local by offering art by Colorado artists, another reason to feel good about what you see on your wall.
Courtesy RedLine Contemporary Art Center

RedLine has always put artists first. While the Five Points gallery, studio and event space may be closed, the nonprofit continues to offer solid resources for artists, providing an online list of grants, funds and residencies available now to help creatives in need. RedLine also asks artists to fill out a brief survey on its website, attempting to assess real-time needs. Executive director Louise Martorano is a bright light in dark times, working directly with the community on what can be done right now to meet artists where they are.

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