Arts & Humanities Campus News

10th annual Spotlight on the Arts festival set for November

The monthlong festival includes more than 60 events and exhibitions in the literary, performing and visual arts. (Submitted photo)

More than 60 events in the literary, performing and visual arts

The University of Georgia Arts Council will celebrate its 10th annual Spotlight on the Arts festival this November with more than 60 events and exhibitions in the literary, performing and visual arts.

Highlights of the monthlong festival include Grammy-winning acts at the Performing Arts Center, a Signature Lecture by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, a University Theatre production of “Rent,” Georgia Writers Hall of Fame events and a Signature Lecture panel discussion with Jennifer Crandall, creator the Emmy-nominated documentary project “Whitman, Alabama.”

Many events are free or discounted for students, and all are welcome.

“For 10 years, Spotlight on the Arts has showcased the University of Georgia’s exemplary programs and scholarship in the arts and humanities,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Achieving this milestone is a testament to the talent and dedication of our outstanding faculty, staff and students.”

Additional information on the 2021 Spotlight on the Arts festival is below. For details and a complete schedule, see the calendar at

Events and Inspiration

Celebrating its 25th season, the Performing Arts Center will bring two of classical music’s most dynamic stars—Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos and Beijing-born pianist Yuja Wang—to Hodgson Hall on Nov. 1. At the Student Spotlight event on Nov. 2 at Tate Plaza, student performers including a cappella ensemble Noteworthy, theatre company Next Act and the Redcoat Marching Band will share their talents.

The University Theatre production of “Rent” begins performances on Nov. 4. (Submitted photo)

From Nov. 4-14, University Theatre will present “Rent,” Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reimagining of Puccini’s opera “La Bohème.” Presented at the Fine Arts stage for the first time, “Rent” follows a group of destitute artists as they struggle with their careers, relationships and the pervading reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on their community.

The Athenaeum, the university’s recently opened contemporary art space at 287 W. Broad St., will host a solo exhibition of works by Trevor Paglen, a conceptual artist, writer and geographer who uses lens-based technologies and public records to explore places, objects and structures that are typically hidden from view. The New York-based experimental performance duo FlucT will give a free performance at the Athenaeum on Nov. 4.

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will host 10 performances for Spotlight 2021, with the university’s premier choral ensemble, the Hodgson Singers, kicking off the school’s events on Nov. 4. A Thursday Scholarship Series concert on Nov. 18 will feature the school’s Glee Clubs and Jazz Ensemble.

The Hodgson School and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts will present a performance by the Athens Hip Hop Harmonic, a community-engaged project of the UGA Arts Lab that brings faculty and students together with local hip-hop artists to create boundary-crossing original music. The Nov. 5 performance is the closing event in the virtual conference of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, of which UGA is a member.

The Dodd Galleries at the Lamar Dodd School of Art will feature work from undergraduate and graduate members of the school’s newly formed Black Artists Alliance, as well as work by Atlanta-based conceptual artist Pam Longobardi, who will deliver an artist talk on Nov. 10. Also on Nov. 10, College of Environment and Design associate professor Katherine Melcher will deliver a lecture titled, “Aesthetic Confessions: Questioning Taste in Landscape Architecture.”

“Collective Impressions: Modern Native American Printmakers” opens at the Georgia Museum of Art on Oct. 16. (Submitted photo)

The Georgia Museum of Art and the university’s Creative Writing Program will co-host a roundtable conversation supported by the Willson Center on Nov. 11 that features LeAnne Howe, the Eidson Distinguished Professor in American Literature. The conversation will center on the exhibition “Collective Impressions: Modern Native American Printmakers.”

On Nov. 13, Spotlight on the Arts Family Day will include performances, activities, demonstrations and workshops designed specifically for children and families. This free event will be held at various locations in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex.

The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which administers the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, will host two virtual events to honor 2021 inductees: Clarence Major will read selections from his works on Nov. 11, and Pearl Cleage will participate in a conversation with Valerie Boyd, Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, on Nov. 16.

The Department of Dance will present Young Choreographers Series: Untethered, which will feature nine works by senior dance students and four works choreographed by second- and third-year students, from Nov. 11-14. During the Department of Dance Performance Sampler on Nov. 12, students will perform faculty choregraphed works in a variety of styles.

Ranky Tanky takes the Performing Arts Center stage on Nov. 16. (Photo by Peter Frank Edwards)

On Nov. 16, two Grammy-winning acts will showcase the rich heritage of African American roots music in “Southern Journey: An Afro-Americana Celebration!” at the Performing Arts Center. The double bill features Ranky Tanky—a band that mixes Gullah culture and Lowcountry traditions with jazz, gospel, funk and R&B—and Dom Flemons, a multi-instrumentalist virtuoso. Also on Nov. 16, the 4 minutes, 33 seconds contest—named in an homage to John Cage’s landmark composition—will highlight research in the arts conducted by students.

Adam Gopnik’s Nov. 17 Signature Lecture, titled “Catching The Bullet: What I’ve Learned About Art, Science, and the Foxtrot,” is co-sponsored by the College of Environment and Design’s HGOR lecture fund, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the Willson Center.

Learn more about the Creative Mindz Dance Crew in “Whitman, Alabama.” (Submitted photo)

The Georgia Museum of Art will host eight ongoing exhibitions during Spotlight 2021, including “Whitman, Alabama.” This Emmy-nominated documentary project by filmmaker Jennifer Crandall brings poet Walt Whitman’s words to life through the voices of modern-day Alabama residents. On Nov. 18, the museum will host a Signature Lecture panel discussion featuring Crandall and co-organized by the Willson Center.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin and soprano Jessica Rivera, both of whom are Grammy winners, will share the stage of Hodgson Hall in the Performing Arts Center on Nov. 21.

The Special Collections Libraries will present four exhibits as part of Spotlight 2021, including “Not Only for Ourselves: The Integration of UGA Athletics.” The Main Library is hosting the exhibit “Georgia Trailblazers: Honoring the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at UGA,” which is part of the university’s broader commemoration of its desegregation anniversary.

The concluding day of the festival features a timely conversation between Jill Sonke, director of the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida; Maryrose Flanigan, executive director of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru); and Nicholas Allen, professor in humanities and director of the Willson Center, that explores “Art, the Pandemic, and Public Health.”

“The members of the University of Georgia Arts Council have put together a world-class series of events and exhibitions for the 10th annual Spotlight on the Arts festival,” said Marisa Pagnattaro, vice provost for academic affairs and chair of the UGA Arts Council. “I hope this festival inspires people to deepen their engagement with the arts and humanities, both during the month of November and throughout the year.”

Members of the UGA Arts Council include representatives from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, College of Environment and Design, creative writing program, department of dance, department of theatre and film studies, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia Museum of Art, The Georgia Review, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Hugh Hodgson School of Music, Ideas for Creative Exploration, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Performing Arts Center, UGA Press, UGA Libraries and Willson Center.

More information on the 2021 Spotlight on the Arts festival, including a complete schedule of events, can be found on the calendar at

Additional Spotlight information will be listed on the Arts Council Facebook page (, Twitter feed (@UGA_arts) and Instagram (