First Night

Why an “Art Night” Is the Cozy, Creative at-Home Activity You Need Right Now

published Oct 7, 2022
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Once, in college, mere hours before a very long paper that we had barely started writing was due, my roommate and I did the only thing we could think of: We put on an hour-long YouTube video of Bob Ross painting a beautiful landscape and watched it all the way through. It was a procrastination tactic, sure, but it was also a reminder of the glorious escape that art provides. Whenever I come across a piece of street art, see a print in a friend’s home, or get to visit a new museum, I feel all the richer for it. Art makes the world around us better — so why not celebrate it right at home? There’s no reason everyone can’t consider themselves an artist, so in honor of Art Month at Apartment Therapy, here’s how to have your own art night at home. 

Curate the mood. 

Pull down that projection screen or turn on that TV or laptop. Navigate to the Google Arts & Culture site, where you can pick from over 1,000 museums and galleries around the world to tour virtually, from the Guggenheim to the British Museum. You can also take to YouTube to search for other exhibit tours, such as the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo. Alternatively, strike a more high-stakes tone with an art heist movie like “Red Notice,” a series like “Lupin,” or a docuseries like “This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist.” Whatever you do, be sure to don your best smock or the T-shirt you don’t mind getting a little messy, set out some empty frames to showcase your soon-to-be-made art, and turn on lots of lamps to create spotlights around your living room. 

Unleash your inner artist.

Allow me to be a high school valedictorian for a moment and say, the Oxford dictionary defines “art” as: “The use of the imagination to express ideas or feelings, particularly in painting, drawing or sculpture.” Especially in the comfort of your own home, don’t hold back from expressing your imagination! Try a freehand line drawing, a paint-by-the-numbers canvas, play around with some clay, or put on some music and make up an expressive dance as you go. If you’re looking to try something new but start small, consider repurposing your Altoids tin as a miniature easel and painting a still life of something you love in your home. I am enraptured by the realistic landscapes this artist shares on TikTok. Can you imagine how cute a gallery wall of tiny paintings would be?! 

Craft the snacks. 

Sometimes the best art is actually edible. Thank you to Mondrian-loving Apartment Therapy Deputy Lifestyle Editor Madeline Bilis for putting me on to this intricate, aspirational confection designed to look like one of the abstract paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Layered with different hues of white velvet cake and wrapped in chocolate ganache, the only trouble with making this dessert is getting through the six-hour process and then … somehow bringing yourself to eat this masterpiece. If that’s too much of a commitment, try your hand at recreating one of these whimsical slices of toast designed by artist @idafrosk, layered with fruit and veggies and made to look like famous works of art.

🪩Welcome to First Night, a series all about having fun at home. The first week of each month, we’ll publish a new idea for a creative at-home experience, from what to do, to how to decorate, to what to serve. Browse ways to make your next night in feel special here.