I moved to New York City so that I could spend my life immersed in the arts – dance, theatre, music, museums, site specific installations, street performances, all of it. I am fortunate to have been able to work professionally in the music business, the theatre and in the world of fine art. But…

…unless a musician, or artist, or dance troupe works out an arrangement to perform for free in public, there are so very many people around the world who will never have access to great works of performance, visual and audio art.

As a performer, I certainly understand the (theoretical, practical and philosophical) issues involved with filming performances and allowing them to be put up on YouTube or Vimeo and/or on private websites. Performers and directors need to make a living, too, you know, and they also have a right to have some sort of protection for their work and to have it executed and presented in a professional way.

Not easy to done unless there is expertise and financial backing behind such an effort.

But now the Google Cultural Institute is making it possible for more and more people to be affected by the various arts in a very compelling way:

“What I’m hoping is that they will realize that there’s much more to being on the Internet than just capturing a video and uploading it to YouTube. That’s important, for sure, but the idea here is to provide narrative, to provide behind the scenes, to provide context,” Amit Sood, the director of the Google Cultural Institute said in a recent video interview from London (via Google Hangouts, naturally).

I love this, because music, theatre, art, dance, opera are each and all emotional experiences, and it is possible to be affected by them even though one cannot be there to experience whatever artistic medium it is in person. The technology that Google is using to bring these experiences into our homes is fabulous and I hope it is expanded upon so that we feel like we are there in the theatre, at the museum, standing before the painting.

For so many years I have heard people say ridiculous things like, ‘No one reads between the covers books anymore,’ or ‘Who goes to the ballet?’ or ‘The theatre is too expensive,’ or ‘Museums are dead…you can see every painting online…’ But those statements are made by people who either cannot afford the price of a ticket to a museum, or to go the theatre or the opera or to a musical concert. It is easy to criticize therefore what someone cannot afford to participate in, or does not have access to. And it is also easy to assume that the arts are dead.

Far from it. I can’t get a ticket to Hamilton on Broadway. The last time I walked the High Line in NY City it was jammed with people, so was The Whitney downtown, and heaven forbid there is a major exhibition at one of NY City’s Museums. You’d be lucky to see 3 square inches of any given painting there are so many people waiting in line.

The Smithsonian, where admission is free, is the only exception to this crowding problem that I know of in the United States. Thus the draw of seeing art of all kinds on line.

I love technology. And I particularly love this use of technology – to bring art, artistry and artistic expression to anyone who can connect to the internet.

As far as I can tell, it is still primarily photographic in nature, but the photographs are stunning. While there are no full-length dance performances that I can find, there are many videos and some of interesting art exhibitions, such as this one, of blind Helen Keller visiting Martha Graham’s dance studio, which raised the goosebumps on my arms:


So here you go…join me on the Google Cultural Institute at:



I think it’s only the beginning and, well, I want more…more….MORE!

What is wrong that I cannot find Amit Sood on Google+????

About Amit Sood, Google’s Cultural Director, on The Guardian:


#GoogleCulturalInstitute   #AmitSoodGoogle   #Dance   #Music   #Art   #Theatre   #Photography