Are you feeling stir crazy? Blocked? Being boxed in by four walls for weeks on end isn’t the best way to spark your creative side—or is it?

As one of the photo editors at 5280, and an encaustic painter who is missing my studio, I know how essential being creative is for most of us—even if you think you can’t draw your way out of paper bag! So, I wanted to find a weeks-worth of activities to keep you busy, inspired, and creating. I found local institutions and artists (plus, some international folks) with ideas that will get you and your kids into that “flow” state that makes awareness of time disappear. And who doesn’t need that right now? Here’s some encouragement and prompts for both the arty types and folks who just want to doodle.

Monday: Color Inside the Lines

Boulder-based artist, muralist, and designer Debbie Clapper shares stop-motion videos of her graphic drawing that will inspire you to take up your own Sharpie pen. Good news: She has print-at-home coloring book pages (see above) starting at $1.20 for you to do just that.

Or, do you remember New York-based Shantell Martin’s massive sidewalk mural that wrapped around much of the Colorado Convention Center in 2017? Have you ridden in the Denver Art Museum’s elevator that’s papered with her work? Create your own version by going to Denver Art Museum’s Creativity Resource page to download her line drawing of faces, lines, and shapes.

Tuesday: Get Inspired

Each Tuesday, Denver’s think-outside-the-box Museum of Contemporary Art assigns an “art prompt” (think: fun homework assignment) on their Instagram feed. A recent one asked folks to pick up something with pages—a book, a magazine—and then “hop back on Insta and post a photo, video, or creation” about that experience using the “LetsMCA” hashtag.

Wednesday: Go Back to School

Joe Higgins. Courtesy of the Art Students League of Denver.

The Art Students League of Denver has virtual art classes every Wednesday. You can learn to make a mixed-media journal or how to use Japanese calligraphy in your art. While classes are are free to the public, you can make a donation to help keep this institution running.

Thursday: Draw Strength

Michelle Marin. Courtesy of Aaron Kinnane

If you’re not already on Instagram, Australian painter Aaron Kinnane’s call for folks to submit self-portraits might finally convince you to get started. Artists and non-artists of all ages post drawings of themselves and tag #portraitsinisolation to get shared on his feed, which is followed by more than 35,900 folks from around the globe. Most of the time there’s a quote about what they are going through or a message to inspire others.

Friday: Build It

Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya and the Art of the Brick

Got Legos? Denver Museum of Nature and Science had a call out to brick artists 18-years-old and younger to send their best design in for a chance to have their winning creation shown along with internationally known Lego artist Nathan Swaya in the summer’s Art of the Brick exhibition. The deadline has passed, but the inspiration to build remains. So pick up some bricks and share creations with all of your friends and family on social media. This definitely counts as a homeschooling STEM class.

Saturday: Recreate

Sure you love the great masters, but did you know that you can be IN one of those famous artworks? The Dutch Instagram account Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine (translated “between art and quarantine”) started the trend, followed by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, for recreating well-known paintings with whatever you have at hand. Many include toilet paper, of course, but if you haven’t been able to hoard enough, do a home treasure hunt and start assembling your own masterwork.

Sunday: Show Off

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A shout out to our creative community and beyond for their superb submissions to #artinsideout! • Join BMoCA for #artinsideout and help make the streets our museum! Use your windows as your own display and tag #artinsideout to bring your art inside to the world outside! • If you know the artist, tag them too! • #artinsideout #virtualbmoca #bmoca #art #arte #community #artcommunity #communityart #boulder #denver #colorado #windowmuseum #physicallydistant #sociallyclose

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Now that you’ve spent the week creating, place some of your art in your window to share with your neighbors and play along with Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art’s #artinsideout challenge. Then take a stroll through your neighborhood and find the art. You might just see something fun and arty that’s not even part of this project, like a neighbor’s collection of lawn ornaments that makes you happy. BMOCA is also reposting community artists’ work on their Instagram feed, so make a piece and tag it with #virtualbmoca. 

This story is part of The Stay Inside Guide to Denver. For more ideas on enjoying the Mile High City from home, click here.