Sky Arts streams free shows online including Portrait Artist Live
James R | On 28, Apr 2020
Sky Arts is taking some of its programming online for free during the coronavirus lockdown – including a weekly series of live Portrait Artist sessions.
The weekly format, based on Portrait Artist of the Year, sees celebrity sitters pose live in their own homes, with audiences invited to paint along at home – wherever in the world they are based. It kicked off on Sunday 26th April, with dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, sitting for viewers for a four-hour session while Christabel Blackburn (winner of this year’s series of Portrait Artist of the Year) painted him from her home – while providing tips for those painting along.
Hosted by Joan Bakewell, the programme will run every Sunday for four weeks and feature other celebrity sitters, with previous series winners taking turns to paint live and help viewers at home participate. Each episode will be available to watch online throughout the week so more people can participate, and a highlights programme will be shown on Sky Arts. Members of the public will be invited to post questions to get advice as they paint and also submit their final paintings via Instagram (@artistoftheyear) with the show’s judges, Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan, highlighting their favourites.
Sky Arts is also making selected shows available for free on the Sky TV YouTube channel, including performances, concerts and documentaries from the channel’s substantial back catalogue. Highlights include episodes of Celebrity Portrait Artist of the Year, episodes from acclaimed documentary series Treasures of the British Library, the story of a destroyed portrait of Churchill from Mystery of the Lost Paintings, and live concerts from Queen, The Bee Gees, Shania Twain and Take That.
Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, says: “Our mission at Sky Arts is to make the arts more accessible, support practitioners, and get more people participating and making stuff. So with Portrait Artist of the Week and our new free YouTube collection we’re hoping to get people joining in whether it’s painting a portrait, immersing yourself in a journey into an artist’s life, or enjoying a classic rock concert in your living room. Right now, we need a fix of culture more than ever and this is just the tonic.”
Programmes available on YouTube now include Sir Simon Rattle Conducts An Imaginary Orchestral Journey, Mystery of the Lost Paintings, Comedy Legends: Tommy Cooper and Treasures of the British Library.