Don't Wait For Us To Come To You

Play From Home!

Take Part In The Art Now!

Daily life is rife with artistic possibility. Live it to the fullest, even when you're stuck inside.

Photo of Sausage Roll with Poem overlay

Each week, we post activity prompts for a range of artistic media. Just scroll down for all the prompts.

Choose any (from any week) that spark your interest, create away, and pretty please email us the results. Then enjoy the online exhibit that we create together.

Don’t worry about making it perfect—just make it really yours.

Every month or two, Neighborhood Stories will offer ticketed events that you can experience from home. No Zoom talking heads—just special new forms of theater that truly take you to a new place or perspective.

Now: December 1 – 31, let the sublime Mill Valley writer/actor Denmo Ibrahim take you on a neighborhood walk that proves that You Are Not Alone. You Are Not Alone makes a great gift for anyone who likes a good walk! Send Denmo to keep your loved ones company until you can see them in person.

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Preview the experience.

Ready to Buy this Experience?
Download You Are Not Alone (Pay-What-You-Can price gives you permanent access to this experience, and all money goes directly to the three creators.)

Activities

Week 6: December 30—Art as Commemoration and Reflection

It feels risky even to make resolutions this year, so let’s make art!

COMPOSE: An elegy for something you lost this year. 

CAPTURE: The wonder of experiencing a holiday for the first time OR the feeling (not the words) of your New Year’s Resolution.

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: Wearable art out of the leftovers from your holiday celebrations—wrapping paper, boxes, candle ends, food…

DOCUMENT: Something you’re proud of having accomplished this year. 

PHOTOGRAPH: Winter where you are.

Bonus end-of-year prompt—REFLECT: If one’s life really does flash before one’s eyes when they die, what life moments do you hope you’ll revisit at that moment?

Week 5: December 23—Art as Family Connection

Most cultures have a holiday that marks the darkest period of the year with a festival of food, light, and togetherness—assurances that we’ll survive the darkness. We feel the pull especially as we remain distanced. Let’s make art that bridges those distances.

SHARE: On video-chat with loved ones, read a poem that matters to you, sign a song to or with someone, show a piece of art—maybe not even your own—that moves you. How much will you learn about another by seeing the intangibles that make their lives feel full? 

DRAW/PAINT/PHOTOGRAPH: An abstract portrait of your family (biological or chosen) that emphasizes your connections.

INVENT: A pandemic-specific holiday tradition that you will want to keep in future years.

INTERVIEW, WRITE & PERFORM: Ask a loved one to show you a favorite portrait of themselves and a small item that means a lot to them. Then write something (play/poem/song/story) for them based on what you learned. Perform it for them if possible. (Directly inspired by Erika Chong Shuch‘s FOR YOU projects.

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: Something to convey warmth, light, or both to another person. A scarf? Cookies? Hand-dipped candles? A sweater with LED lights and a cookie pocket?

LISTEN/RECORD: Ask a member of your family to describe who you are as if to a stranger, including the roles you play in the family and, if relevant, how the family changed when you joined it. Do the same for them.

Week 4: December 16—Art as Honoring What is All Around Us

Choose a prompt from any week and send us a photo (or video or mp3) of your results for our virtual gallery.

DRAW/PAINT/PHOTOGRAPH: Your best feature (or that of someone you adore). Gift it or display it in a place of honor.

PRESERVE: a last piece of Autumn.

WRITE &/OR PERFORM: a monologue, short play, or piece of music inspired by someone you love. Perform it for them or gift it to them to perform themselves, whichever fits.

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: a new kind of safety mask to protect the wearer from something that is not COVID—unwanted kisses from aunties, seasonal depression, bill collectors…

LISTEN/RECORD: The sounds in your neighborhood at night.

Week 3: December 9—Art as Dealing with Reality

DOCUMENT: A usually busy place that is empty because of the pandemic.

TRANSFORM: Turn a common household item (maybe a sock someone has left on the floor for days) into art—create a museum exhibit sign to post on the wall just next to the found art.

WRITE: A sign to advertise something you lost this year—post in your neighborhood with instructions for passersby who find it. 

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: Something new with your pandemic stash—a meal you’ve never made before, a sculpture, a statement of how you feel now…

LISTEN/RECORD: Interview a loved one about someone else they love. Give the finished recording to both parties.

Week 2: December 3—Art as Seeing Differently

Many of these prompts could turn into great homemade gifts for whatever holidays you observe—and for winter birthdays.

DRAW/PAINT: An animal’s eye view of your yard or neighborhood (or your pet’s eye view of something in their daily life).

DOCUMENT: Your shelter-in-place pandemic stash.

WRITE/RECORD: A personalized guided meditation for a loved one (ideally someone who would never meditate in the traditional way).
(See also: You Are Not Alone, above—makes a great no-contact gift.)

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: Recreate a memento of something important from a loved one’s past.

PHOTOGRAPH: Photograph yourself missing someone you can’t see right now—with a subtle detail that will tip them off that they are the person you are missing.

Week 1: November 24—Art as Bountiful Nourishment

Many of these prompts could turn into great homemade gifts for whatever holidays you observe—and for winter birthdays.

DRAW/PAINT: How the land you occupy might have looked before there were roads and boundaries.

DESCRIBE: A fall food that has a special meaning to you. Include a drawing or photograph if possible. Recipes welcome. Yum.

WRITE: The script for a family conversation that you’re afraid to have. Write with complexity and hope. 

PERFORM: Sing a song (or dance a dance) of bounteousness.

CREATE WITH YOUR HANDS: An “advent calendar” to mark down any period of time: days until Christmas or New Years Eve, a birthday, maybe even Inauguration?

PHOTOGRAPH: Two people kissing.

LISTEN/RECORD: Ask a family member to relate a moment they felt deeply thankful. Ask for lots of details: time of day, season, what they could see, hear, smell, touch or taste, who else was there… Take a picture of them when they finish the story to remember that glow.

Our Inspirations

All good ideas have been done before in some fashion. Please check out the other amazing artists who helped inspire this project.

Yoko Ono.
Her art mixes playfulness, contemplation, and deep personal interaction by inviting audiences to participate in the completion of shared work. Her book Grapefruit: a Book of Instructions and Drawings is finally back in print and makes a great, inexpensive pandemic gift.

Learning to Love You More.
This 7-year artistic collaboration between Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July invited the public to take on artistic prompts as a study of life. The Learning To Love You More Exhibition Book made up of the completed “assignments” also makes a great, inexpensive gift.

For You.
This beautiful brainchild of inspiring Bay Area theatermaker Erika Chong Shuch existed before the pandemic but feels like it was created for it. Artists interview members of the public and build bespoke performance experiences for them. 

Play at Home.
This modern WPA project was created April 1, 2020, when five major American theater companies came together to commission micro-plays (10 minutes or shorter) designed to be performed by the public from home. Plays are searchable by kid-friendliness, number of performers needed, etc.,  make great group activities to break up long days lived in the same place, and allow anyone to stage a world premiere in their living room.

StoryCorps.
You’ve heard them. Did you know you don’t have to wait for them to come to you? Participate with your family any time—maybe even this weekend.