Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

Arts and culture activities for your health and wellbeing

Our collective health and wellbeing has taken center stage as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.  While extraordinary advances in science have delivered vaccines and new hope, for over a year we’ve had to consider what wellbeing means on a personal and global level. We’ve also asked ourselves how best to cope in an era of tremendous stress, grief and isolation.

Many of us intuitively turned to arts and cultural activities as a source of comfort and healing. To honor World Health Day and support our recovery and resilience, we are launching a new experience: Arts + Health & Wellbeing.

Artists have always deeply understood the healing power of the arts from music, poetry and painting to dance and design. Technological leaps in brain imagery and biomarkers are now helping scientists confirm what we’ve all sensed: art heals. Evidence shows that many forms of art can play an important role during treatment and recovery of people living with illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD. More broadly, the arts relieve stress, anxiety and depression, boost our mood and create stronger connections to ourselves and others.

Like regular exercise or a good night’s sleep, the arts are proving important to our health and wellbeing.

The best discovery is that the arts are for everyone. Regardless of experience or talent, you can enjoy their health benefits today. Take a moment to support your own health and wellbeing — start by doing “The Cultural 5” with the World Health Organization, or enjoy a daily dose of arts and culture activities below:

Opera singer Renée Fleming

1. Try these breathing exercises with Soprano singer Renée Fleming to help increase breath capacity — for many who have experienced COVID-19, breathing is a challenge, one that can remain difficult after they recover from the most acute phase of the illness. Renée Fleming shares breathing exercises with anyone trying to regain better breath after illness.

Dr. Adam Perlman and boxer Ryan Garcia talk about creativity

2. Talk about mental health - Dr. Adam Perlman from the Mayo Clinic and boxer Ryan Garcia explore creativity and the role it plays in mental health and wellbeing.

Art emotions map

3. Dive into a sea of images and explore which artworks represent your emotions. Scientists from The University of California, Berkeley conducted research on the emotions evoked by artworks through time, and across cultures. We asked 1,300 people to describe how certain images make them feel, and plotted these feelings on an interactive map for you to explore. Find how your emotions compare to others.

For the imperfect people image

4. Watch "For the imperfect people," a spoken word video on the topic of mental health, written by students of SocialWorks’ OpenMike program, and in collaboration with Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab. Learn about the science behind how spoken word and poetry can help people heal emotionally while creating community connections and reducing stress and isolation.

Slow your body down with Stille

5. Slow down your body tempo with Stille (Silence Film), an experimental film aimed at giving viewers a visceral and meditative experience of silence, viewed through the lens of the German film director Thomas Riedelsheimer.

A new audio guide for our Augmented Reality Galleries

Since we launched our first Pocket Gallery in 2018, people all over the world have used the augmented reality (AR) feature to explore virtual art galleries ranging from Vermeer to Indian miniatures. With many of us missing the opportunities to explore, we have now collaborated with cultural institutions including the Jean Pigozzi Collection and J. Paul Getty Museum to create three new Pocket Galleries - one of which includes a brand new audio guide feature. Just open the camera tab in the Google Arts & Culture  app to get started.

The virtual exhibition space of Jean Pigozzi’s Pocket Gallery invites you to discover highlights from its African and Japanese collections  featuring 40 of its most important artworks ranging from renowned painter Chéri Samba to emerging new talent. These treasures are frequently lent to museums across the globe, but until now have never had a dedicated building of their own, making this Pocket Gallery a truly unique space.
Image of the inside of the Getty AR Pocket Gallery

Continue your journey with a Pocket Gallery presented by the J. Paul Getty Museum, bringing together celebrated works across 200 years of art history. Here you’ll meet cheerful crowds welcoming you to join, whether you’re craving music and merriment, dinner gatherings, or a city stroll. Dive in and experience the joys of dancing with Henri Rousseau, stolen kisses with Jean-Antoine Watteau, and concerts with Gerrit van Honthorst, all from the iconic LA-based collection.

A new way to experience a virtual exhibition space is by using sound and narration -  a feature we are testing first with the guided “Brushes with the World” Pocket Gallery. Here, in each room a narrator will give a short introduction as you follow along on a tour of larger-than-life artworks. Gaze upon immersive landscapes - from Georgia O’Keeffe’s dreamy depiction of Machu Picchu to Hokusai’s majestic vision of Mount Fuji - and take in the city views of  Zaha Hadid’s London or Habeeb Andu’s Lagos. As you approach each masterpiece, you will hear a bespoke soundscape inspired by the locations and objects in the paintings. Some paintings are even accompanied by additional commentary to help you learn more along your voyage. Featuring artworks from 27 cultural partner institutions that depict scenes across 24 countries. This gallery is available now on Android and coming soon on iOS.

Together, with our partners, we are always experimenting to find new ways to bring people closer to art and culture and we hope these new Pocket Galleries will help you - not just to explore a diverse set of artworks, but also to feel connected to destinations around the world. 

Find the galleries in the Camera Tab of the free Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS and jump inside to explore each one from there.

Why Do We? – Answers to art & culture over tea

The past twelve months have been incredibly troubling — so staggeringly hard, so tragic, so challenging — but we have not walked alone. 

As a historian, I know we’re at our strongest if we look forward and back. Through 70,000 years of our shared human experience, we’ve been forced to deal with plague, pandemic, isolation, trauma, and fear of the unknown. And we’ve tried, together, to find solutions and paths through phenomenal life challenges. Because we often create our way out of a crisis, we can see the way women and men across the world have worked through big life questions in science, technology, art and culture from prehistory to the present. 

When the pandemic locked us up a year ago, we had to travel in our minds. For me, less time on the road meant more inspiring digital conversations with friends. Exploring Google Arts & Culture's online collections, I wanted to spend a few minutes — a brain-refreshing tea break — to call on the know-how of friends and experts and dive into some of life's big questions. 

So we came up with Tea with B, a 5-episode series to explore these questions with guest stars ranging from authors, comedians, and poets. 


When it comes to understanding the power of human storytelling, who could be better to call upon than award-winning author Margaret Atwood? She and I delight in some of the earliest evidence of human creativity by exploring the ancient Chauvet Cave paintings in France. These people weren't just recording what they saw: They were recording their imaginations, creating epic visual narratives.


I also had to get on the line to the most poetic individual I know, Booker Prize winning author Ben Okri, to understand why we make poetry. Medieval Sufi mystic and global bestseller Rumi is a mutual favorite. Sharing his verses and their beautiful illuminations, we discuss the cathartic and transformative nature of poetry – Ben arguing that poetry is soul.

Westcar Papyrus

Pretty much as soon as lockdowns began, the world created and shared comedy online. In the depths of isolation, like so many, I’ve really been in need of some laughs, so I called my mate, the comedian Shappi Khorsandi. Exploring an ancient Egyptian papyrus, we reveal that comedy has come a long way since the time of the Pharaohs, that humor has real political power, and that jokes (including bad ones!) are as old as time.

Lion Man

I’m a big fan of myths both ancient and modern. In chatting with award-winning author, comic book creator & screenwriter Neil Gaiman (who agrees with me that a lot of the ancient myths featured buzzed teenagers), it felt vital to get an inside scoop on our love of superheroes. I show Neil a brilliant figurine from 40,000 years ago – half man, half lion - which proves we've been playing with the idea of superhuman powers long before Superman answered the call!


One thing I'm always fighting for is the rediscovery of voices suppressed in history, including those of women. My old friend Kate Mosse, bestselling author and founder of the Woman's Prize for Fiction, is just as passionate about this as I am. Though women have typically been written out of history, when we look back to the Neolithic period, artworks celebrating the female form suggest that female power was a foundation of the earliest human communities.

These chats have been a joy, a chance to explore our shared human story across thousands of years. Whether locked down or liberated, I’m definitely planning more. I want to explore questions like what love means, why we play sports, why we love baking bread, why we’re addicted to music — the list is endless. Because even when our bodies aren’t free, our minds can be!

Music, Makers & Machines

In 1895, Thaddeus Cahill, an inventor from Iowa, started work on the world’s first electromechanical musical instrument. Weighing in at 200 tons and measuring 60 feet long, the Telharmonium was a colossal machine for producing and sharing music on the telephone.

In the 126 years since, electronic music has evolved in similarly bold and ingenious ways, a testament to the magic that occurs when human beings build and interact with machines. We listen to it while working out, riding the subway, studying for exams — and hopefully soon again at the clubs and festivals that have made it what it is today.

Music, Makers & Machines, the new exhibit from Google Arts & Culture and YouTube, celebrates the history of electronic music: its inventors, artists, sounds and technology. More than 50 international institutions, record labels, festivals and industry experts have come together to capture the crucial role electronic music plays within wider culture, from the WDR Studio for Electronic Music to Blacktronika to the “Diva of the Diodes” Suzanne Ciani. There are more than 250 online exhibitions, an extensive archive of photos, videos, 360° tours and 3D-scanned objects, including synthesizers and the door of Berlin’s legendary Tresor techno club.

In the spirit of pioneers like Cahill, you can also compose your own electronic music. Use the augmented reality feature of AR Synth to mix and match five famous synthesizers in a virtual electronic music studio.

MUSIC: Let’s get to know some of the legendary tracks and artists:

MAKERS: Go behind the scenes in studios and see iconic inventors in action:

MACHINES: Play with the instruments that made the tunes: 

Electronic music brings people together from all walks of life and from all over the world. Its community has always been one of creativity and shared experiences. And while it may take a while until club doors open again, fans and musicians keep connected through new online forums and formats.

We hope that Music, Makers & Machines will let you explore and appreciate the stories of electronic music and celebrate the creativity of its makers. Find the project on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android and at g.co/musicmakersmachines .

The words of women artists, in the museum and online

The artwork captions at a museum seem like such a small thing. Yet those short texts provide essential information: the identity of the artists. What would happen if we stopped and read them carefully?

We might realize the significant lack of space and voice given to women artists. That’s one of the reasons behind the National Gallery of Rome’s radical six-year program, Women Up. It brings together many of our works by women artists, while also focusing on the representation of women and the damage done by residual stereotypes. It also highlights what happens when we bring in a more balanced perspective on gender.

Making a meaningful contribution to the visibility of women in the museum means thinking outside the confines of our physical space, and exploring new curatorial techniques. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Google Arts & Culture to bring the entire program online, along with access to one of the most important Italian feminist archives and the new exhibition “lo dico lo — I say I,”  which brings together the works of 40 Italian women artists from different generations.

To introduce the women behind the works, we’ve compiled more than 130 of their stories. You can explore unsettling collages made by Hannah Höch; the brilliant photographs of Dora Maar; the incredible surrealist canvases of Meret Oppenheim; and even the artistic performances of Marina Abramovic, in which the body becomes a powerful expressive language.

We’ve also digitized over 16,000 documents from the Carla Lonzi Archive: The photographs, critical essays, invitations to exhibitions and writings for Rivolta Femminile guide us through the life and work of the noted art critic Carla Lonzi to understand the reasons for a radical position that changed the history of Italian feminism. For the first time Google Arts & Culture automatically transcribed over 4,000 documents using OCR (optical character recognition), transforming the experience of archival materials by making them text-searchable.

And finally, there’s the exhibition “Io dico Io — I say I,” which opens today at the National Gallery and on Google Arts & Culture and features the work of over 40 Italian women artists. Eleven of them turned the camera on themselves, from their homes, and talked about their work and participation in the display. As they speak, the digital exhibitions of their works allow us to enter their world and get up close to every detail.

By curating these projects and exhibitions, and partnering with Google Arts & Culture to make them widely accessible, the National Gallery of Rome is proud to be making itself more and more socially responsible and inclusive.

South Africa is an explorer’s paradise

Nelson Mandela once described South Africa as the most beautiful place on earth, with its breathtaking scenery, wildlife safaris, active adventures, vibrant culture and friendly people. I’m thrilled to announce that, starting today, you can explore what makes the country so spectacular through our new online exhibition -- South Africa: an explorer’s paradise. Through over 500 high-resolution photographs and videos, 20 expertly-curated stories and 55 Street Views, you can join a safari to meet lions and elephants, or feel the rhythm of the cities and visit ancient geological sites. Step inside the oldest caves in the world and zoom into vast savannas, lush forests and sparkling oceans. 


Here are four places to start:

A lioness in Kruger National Park

A lioness photographed on a night drive at the Kruger National Park, from the collection of South African Tourism

Aerial view of Hole in the Wall in the Eastern Cape, from the collection of South African Tourism

Aerial view of Hole in the Wall in the Eastern Cape, from the collection of South African Tourism

1. Meet the Big Five in the South African bush  

South Africa is famous for its awe-inspiring safaris, which allow visitors to experience the raw wonder of nature. Part of what makes the experience so special is the opportunity to see the Big Five: lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos and elephants. Get to know these remarkable animals through exhibitions like Superstars of the South African Bush, or explore breathtaking views of the South African bushveld in Game Drives: A South African Experience.
White River Rafting

White River Rafting in Free State, South Africa, from the collection of South African Tourism

2. Explore the country’s hidden gems

Do you know the myth of Hole in the Wall, about a young woman who falls in love with a sea deity? Or that Table Mountain is home to species that can’t be found anywhere else on earth, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog? Get to know some of our country’s best kept secrets.

the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga

View of the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, from the collection of the South African Tourism Board

3. Take a virtual active adventure

If you’re the outdoorsy sort, South Africa has a lot to offer, from multi-day hikes and panoramic mountain views to rock climbing and rafting down roaring waters. Be sure to Head over to the Place of Great Noise where the raging waters of the Augrabies Falls  meet the Orange River, South Africa’s longest river.

4. Travel to 55 locations with Google Street View

Use Street View to explore South Africa’s most breathtakingly beautiful sites: Visit Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain; experience the rocky plains of the Cederberg, where you can view the five-meter-high Maltese Cross; or amble through the lush Big Forest Tree Walk, taking in the ancient foliage around you.

For us at South African Tourism, today marks the start of formalizing a relationship and partnership with Google that will play a crucial part in the sector’s recovery. We know that digitally-led is the norm and through our partnership we hope to equip the sector with the necessary skills to thrive and adapt in a digital environment.

Curious to see more? Check out g.co/sharesouthafrica or download the Google Arts & Culture app.

Step aboard Discovery with virtual reality

Editor’s note: On the anniversary of the first launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, we’ll hear from Dr. Ellen R. Stofan, planetary geologist and the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, about a new 360 film on board the Shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope.

Since the dawn of spaceflight, only a few hundred people have experienced space firsthand. But since the beginning, there have been moments that captured the world’s imagination and challenged our collective Earth-bound perspective. Of the many orbital endeavors that have made headlines through the decades, one of the most enduring and prolific has been the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble has been called one of the most important single scientific instruments of all time. The data it collected has deepened our understanding of the natural world—from the edge of our solar system to the age of the universe—and the images it has returned have brought the startling beauty of the cosmos to people around the world.

Today, on the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s maiden voyage, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Google Arts & Culture have teamed up to bring visitors into the orbiter like never before. Two of the astronauts who helped deliver Hubble to orbit as part of STS-31—Maj Gen Charlie Bolden  and Dr. Kathy Sullivan—take us on a 360 journey inside Discovery at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Inside Space Shuttle Discovery 360 | National Air and Space Museum

The video was captured using Google’s Halo camera, and takes us along with the astronauts as they climb aboard the spacecraft together for the first time in 28 years. Charlie and Kathy show us what life in space was like from dawn (they saw 16 sunrises and sunsets each day) to dinnertime (sometimes eaten on the ceiling), and relive the moment they deployed Hubble after years of planning and training.

STS-31 is just one great example of why Discovery was called the champion of the Shuttle fleet—and why it is now on display as part of the Smithsonian’s national collection. Discovery flew every kind of mission the Space Shuttle was designed to fly, from Hubble’s deployment to the delivery and assembly of International Space Station modules and more. Today, we’re celebrating the orbiter’s 39 missions and 365 total days in space with this special immersive film, 15 digital exhibits, virtual tours, and over 200 online artifacts.

As we enter a new era of spaceflight in the years ahead—with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the development of Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope—I hope this new collection demonstrates the remarkable progress we’ve made toward unlocking the mysteries of the universe, and how much farther we can go together. Explore the magic of Discovery Space Shuttle on Google Arts & Culture

For Louis Armstrong’s birthday we tune in to “Tiger Rag” on a Gramophone

In 1934 the trumpeter, singer and movie star Louis Armstrong visited a studio in Paris to record his song “Tiger Rag” on a phonograph record that people could play on home gramophones. And while later recordings of “Tiger Rag” made it a celebrated jazz standard, the original recording that captured Armstrong’s passionate and original interpretation faded from memory.

To mark the birthday of Louis Armstrong 117 years ago, Google Arts & Culture and the record label Deutsche Grammophon teamed up to restore and digitize phonograph records like “Tiger Rag” from the label’s archive, and to tell the story of Emile Berliner, who invented the grammophon player and records that brought the music of Armstrong and many other artists to the masses.

In the summer of 1888, thirteen years before Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Emile Berliner travelled to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to unveil his gramophone player and record. Together, they represented the first iteration of the record player as we know it today, and a technology that would outlast every other audio format until the invention of digital formats. For the first time, music lovers everywhere could purchase their favorite songs and enjoy them at home. Later on, Berliner would also launch Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s first record label, as an attempt to commercialise his groundbreaking invention.

Deutsche Grammophon is home to one of the world’s oldest sound archives and still releases music today. Although much of the early archive has been lost due to war and natural decay, there are still thousands of recordings—from jazz and classical, to opera and even spoken poetry awaiting to be listened to again.

With Google Arts & Culture, Deutsche Grammophon is restoring and digitizing hundreds of these previously unpublished cultural treasures. Some of them will be played for the first time in decades; all of them will be made available to the public in high-quality.

In addition to these recordings, Google Arts & Culture launched 12 online exhibitions curated by Deutsche Grammophon with background material on Emile Berliner and the label’s heritage. All of the above is accessible via the Google Arts & Culture website at g.co/deutschegrammophon, as well as the Android and iOS mobile apps.

Join us in celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday and Emile Berliner’s inventions by listening to the original recording of “Tiger Rag” here.

Brush up on Chinese modern art with Google Arts & Culture

For the last century, the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing has been the preeminent school of art education in China. Some of the most renowned masters of Chinese modern art trained at this hallowed institution and many of their works are stored in the CAFA Art Museum.


Opened in 2008, the CAFA Art Museum was designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.

For CAFA’s 100th anniversary, Google Arts & Culture is taking the masterpieces in its museum to the world, for a new generation of art aficionados to enjoy. These include some iconic and rarely-exhibited works by the father of Chinese modern art Xu Beihong, like Tian Heng and His Five Hundred Followers and Behind Me.


Xu Beihong’s Behind Me depicts starving villagers waiting for liberation from the tyrannical rule of Emperor Jie of the Xia Dynasty. Xu painted this in 1931 after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in Northeast China.

Xu, was the first President of CAFA. Although he lacked a formal art education, his talent was evident from an early age and he received financial assistance to study painting in Japan and Europe. Xu was obsessively dedicated to reviving Chinese art, which he thought had gone to seed because of its over-reliance on traditional Chinese methods of painting. He often spent more than 12 hours a day painting, integrating the best of Western and Chinese techniques. Xu’s works exemplify the realism that became a defining characteristic of Chinese modern art, and you can see over 100 of these pieces on Google Arts & Culture today.

Starting today, anyone with an internet connection can now explore Xu Beihong’s masterpieces, as well as the works of other Chinese modern art pioneers. The exhibit includes 27 ultra-high resolution images digitized with Art Camera that you can zoom into to explore fine details that may escape the naked eye. You can even step inside the CAFA Art Museum, exploring four floors of artworks with a 360° visual tour.

Visit and explore the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum on Google Arts & Culture today, available on desktop, iOS and Android.

#ThisisFamily: how we’re celebrating Pride

It’s the middle of the middle month of a choppy year and I’m thinking about how we stay steady. I’m thinking about ballasts, the heavy things—weighty, substantive—employed in ships to lend balance. My ballast is my family, and I’m lucky enough to have a few. There’s the family of my blood, those mad geniuses who share my last name; the family of my friends, wild spirits exploring the limits of what’s possible; and, last but not least, the family I walked into when I came to Google.

This Pride, Google and Google’s LGBTQ+ community are celebrating families big and small, chosen or inherited, as part of #ThisIsFamily. We encourage you to post on social media about the people who make up your family (no matter how you define it) and to donate to nonprofits like PFLAG, It Gets Better and GLAAD. Google.org has pledged to match up to $100,000 in total in donations to these three organizations during the month of June.

That’s not the only way we’re celebrating Pride. In typical Google fashion, we’re helping you connect with the world around you (and having a bit of fun) across our products:

  • In Google Maps, this year's parade routes are paved with rainbows.
  • You'll find rainbow "easter eggs" scattered through Google Search and G Suite, and you can join the fun from your desktop by switching your Gmail to a Pride theme for the month of June.
  • Google Play Newsstand has a special feature page for Pride-related coverage.
  • On YouTube, we're celebrating the LGBTQ+ creators who are #ProudToCreate a better future with their imagination, creativity, talent, and truth through our YouTube Spotlight Channel, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • We continue to help businesses declare their establishments "LGBTQ+ Friendly" or "Transgender Safe Space" on their business listings in Google Maps and Google Search.
  • One year on from our initial donation to the LGBT Center of New York in collaboration with the National Parks Foundation, Google.org is contributing another $500,000 (for a total of $1.5 Million) to the Center to help with the digitization of LGBTQ+ history. The project is called Stonewall Forever, and we need your help to find, preserve, and share the untold stories of LGBTQ+ history.
  • Google Arts & Culture has a dedicated Pride collection celebrating LGBTQ+ history, with 20 exhibits and over 2,700 artifacts, part of which comes from the Stonewall Forever project. 

Ballasts, like families, help us stay steady amidst commotion. Paradoxically, maybe, these heavy things also lift us up.

Celebrating Pride, from our families to yours.