Arts Council places ‘Spotlight on the Arts’

In 2011, members of UGA’s visual, literary and performing arts programs and facilities were invited to a meeting to explore collaboration. With support from the Office of the Provost, the Arts Council was born with a mission to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts and an environment conducive to artistic innovation. To that end, the council created the Spotlight on the Arts festival, a nine-day event now in its third year.

Book lovers, film and theater buffs, tech geeks and devotees to music-from baroque to rock ‘n’ roll-can find something to love at this year’s Spotlight on the Arts festival. The nine-day festival, set for Nov. 6-14, features a Tony Award-winning playwright, a Grammy Award-winning soprano, art-making robots and a music composition performed on Google Glass among the more than 60 events on tap.

The offerings include guest performances by British baroque quartet Red Priest, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and five-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Kathleen Battle, as well as UGA Opera Theatre presentations of “Hansel and Gretel” and University Theatre productions of “The Great Gatsby.” The 2014 Spotlight on the Arts festival also includes events featuring Academy and Tony award-winning playwright Alfred Uhry, who will be inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

One of the most buzzed about events is the free five-band Spotlight • Slingshot concert on College Square, which will feature an orchestrated performance of 1970s band Big Star’s legendary “Third” album.

“Each year, the Spotlight on the Arts festival shines a light on the breadth and the quality of arts programming at the University of Georgia,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This year’s festival truly offers something for everyone, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet.”

The Spotlight on the Arts festival is an annual showcase for the UGA’s offerings in visual, literary and performing arts. Last year, more than 15,000 people participated in Spotlight on the Arts events, ranging from film festivals to open dance classes.

The festival gives students and members of the community additional opportunities to participate in tours of the Georgia Museum of Art led by the museum’s leaders, and attend poetry readings and book talks as well as dramatic performances. Exhibits range from pottery and paintings to relics from the early days of the Athens music scene.

More information on the 2014 Spotlight on the Arts festival, including the complete schedule of events, can be found at as well as on the Arts Council Facebook page ( and Twitter feed (@UGA_Arts).

Members of the UGA Arts Council include representatives from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Creative Writing Program, the department of dance, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Georgia Museum of Art, The Georgia Review, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Performing Arts Center, Special Collections Libraries, the department of theatre and film studies, the UGA Press and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. More information about these units is listed below.

Creative Writing Program


The Creative Writing Program, part of the English department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, began with the vision of a beloved faculty member of English, Dr. James Kilgo. Throughout the 1980s, Kilgo led groups of undergraduate students to Sapelo Island each summer. By the 1990s, creative writing became a formal degree program with workshops offered in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including Masters and Ph.D. concentrations, and creative writing classes for undergraduates in English and other majors.

Facility: The Creative Writing Program offices are located in Park Hall.
Students: About 100 undergraduate, 30 graduate
Worth noting: The program hosts events throughout the academic year, bringing both well-known and up-and-coming writers to campus and the Athens community. Some notable writers include Lydia Davis, Heather McHugh, Michael Ondaatje, George Saunders and Natasha Tretheway. The popular graduate-student run VOX series features fall and spring semester readings at CINE in downtown Athens.

Department of Dance


Dance classes have been taught at UGA since the 1930s, and the department was officially created in 1978.

Facility: The dance building was formerly the Women’s Physical Education Building, constructed in 1928. The building underwent extensive renovation in 1997-98 and what is currently the New Dance Theatre was formerly home of the Georgia Gym Dogs.
Students: Several hundred students participate in dance classes each year, with about 25 majors and 50 minors.
Worth noting: The department provides a variety of performance company options focused on pre-professional training, student choreography and student performance. The companies perform for local, community, state, national and international audiences.
Facebook: UGA Department of Dance
Twitter: @UGA_Dance

Georgia Museum of Art


The Georgia Museum of Art first opened to the public in 1948 and was named the official art museum for the state of Georgia in 1982.

Facility: Since 1996, the museum has occupied a contemporary building in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex that houses more than 10,000 objects of visual art. The museum was remodeled and expanded in 2011, receiving Gold LEED certification. Admission is free. The museum is open to the public Sundays from 1-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays to 9 p.m.
Students: The Georgia Museum of Art Student Association regularly organizes free Student Nights at the museum. Student docents are trained to offer tours, and the museum has a robust internship program for students in 11 majors.
Worth noting: The museum always has key works on display from its permanent collection, as well as traveling and in-house organized temporary exhibitions.
Facebook: The Georgia Museum of Art
Twitter: @GMOA

The Georgia Review


Founded at UGA in 1947 and published continuously since then, The Georgia Review has become one of America’s most highly regarded journals of arts and letters. Each quarterly issue offers a diverse gathering of short stories, general-interest essays, poems, reviews and visual art. The Georgia Review has twice taken a top prize in the annual National Magazine Awards competition and has been a finalist numerous times in various categories. The journal marked its 65th anniversary with an anthology of 28 short fiction works titled “Stories Wanting Only to Be Heard.”

Facility: The Georgia Review’s offices are located on the seventh floor of the main library.
Worth noting: Single copies, subscriptions, back issues and merchandise can be purchased from the office during standard business hours and from the journal’s website. Student rates are available, and special gift subscriptions are offered for the holidays.
Facebook: The Georgia Review
Twitter: @GeorgiaReview

Hugh Hodgson School of Music


The School of Music, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is named after visionary professor Hugh Hodgson, an Athenian and UGA alumnus who became the university’s first music professor in 1928. Hodgson chaired the Department of Music from its inception until his retirement in 1960.

Facility: In fall 1995, the School of Music moved to its current home at the Performing and Visual Arts Complex. Performances are held in the Performing Arts Center or the school’s 180-seat Edge Recital Hall, named for Robert Edge, a UGA Rhodes Scholar (1960) and a student of Hodgson’s.
Students: About 350 undergraduate, 250 graduate
Worth noting: The school features nearly 400 performances annually in the UGA PAC’s Hodgson and Ramsey halls, as well as the school’s 180-seat Edge Recital Hall and state-of-the-art Dancz Center for New Music.
Facebook: Hugh Hodgson School of Music
Twitter: @UGAMusic

Lamar Dodd School of Art


Founded in 1937, the School of Art is named for Lamar Dodd, who headed the department from 1939 until his retirement in 1972.

Facilities: Its facilities include its main building on East Campus, ceramics building, Thomas Street building and Broad Street studios. The school has two dedicated galleries as well as rotating displays throughout the main building. The galleries are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Students: More than 1,000 students majoring in studio disciplines plus art history and art education, including graduate degrees offered in 10 disciplines
Worth noting: The Lamar Dodd School of Art is one of the largest units in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and is one of the largest university art programs in the nation.
Facebook: Lamar Dodd School of Art
Twitter: @ldsoa
YouTube: /LDSOA

Performing Arts Center


The Performing Arts Center, opened in 1996, houses two acoustically superb concert halls: the 1,096-seat Hodgson Hall, named for School of Music founder Hugh Hodgson, and the 368-seat Ramsey Hall, named for Bernard Ramsey, UGA’s most generous individual benefactor to date.

Worth noting: The PAC records many of its concerts for broadcast on American Public Media’s “Performance Today,” the most popular classical music program on public radio, reaching 1.4 million listeners across the country.
Facebook: UGA Performing Arts Center
Twitter: @ugapac

Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries


Georgia’s newest cultural attraction is a 115,000-square-foot archival research facility designed with a museum component to exhibit artifacts from Georgia’s storied past. UGA’s three special collections libraries-Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Walter J. Brown Peabody Awards and Media Archives-hold historical and cultural artifacts of state and national significance.

Facility: The libraries are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and are closed on university holidays and home football game days. Guided tours are given each Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Worth noting: Certified LEED Gold, the facility includes a 30,000-square-foot, largely subterranean vault. The vault is kept at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 percent humidity to preserve archives and artifacts.
Facebook: Richard B. Russell Jr. Building Special Collections Libraries
Twitter: @ugalibsref

Department of Theatre and Film Studies


The department’s roots reach back to 1893, when students formed the Thalian Dramatic Club, one of the oldest college dramatic clubs in the country. In 1931, the club merged with a rival club to become the Thalian-Blackfriars, the university’s official theatrical club, and by 1932, the new “University Theatre” was offering its first season ticket campaign. In 1939, the Department of Dramatic Art was created and in 2004 its name was changed to the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, nearly a decade after the department had expanded to incorporate the study of digital media.

Facility: The Fine Arts Building houses the 682-seat Fine Arts Theatre, renovated in 2010, and the 100-seat Cellar Theatre, as well as classrooms for the department.
Students: About 200 undergraduate theatre majors and film studies majors, with 42 graduate students.
Worth noting: The department’s alumni include visual effects artist Chris Wells (Captain America, X-Men, Avatar), celebrity chef Alton Brown, actors Monte Markham, Wayne Knight, Kyle Chandler and members of the cast of “Walking Dead” and “Vampire Diaries.”
Facebook: UGA Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University Theatre at UGA
Twitter: @UGATheatre, @UGATheatreFilm
YouTube: UGATheatreFilm
Instagram: ugatheatrefilm

University of Georgia Press


Since its founding in 1938, the primary mission of the UGA Press has been to support and enhance the university’s reputation as a major research institution by publishing outstanding works of scholarship and literature by scholars and writers throughout the world. A full member of the Association of American University Presses since 1940, the press is also the oldest and largest book publisher in the state, producing some 80 new books a year and with more than 1,500 titles in print. Press authors and their works are often honored by a variety of scholarly, literary and regional organizations.

Facility: The UGA Press is located on the third floor of the main library.
Worth noting: UGA Press books can be purchased directly from its website, at the campus bookstore, in person at its offices in the main library, or at any other brick-and-mortar or online book retailer. It also has a small art gallery in its lobby, which is currently exhibiting work by Shannon Candler.
Facebook: University of Georgia Press
Twitter: @UGAPress
Instagram: ugapress

Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts


Founded as the Humanities Center in 1987, it was renamed the Center for Humanities and Arts (1997), then the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts (2005), in honor of UGA benefactors and Georgia business leaders Jane and Harry Willson.

Facility: The Willson Center is currently housed in the Psychology Building, while renovations are underway at its new home at 1260 S. Lumpkin St.
Worth noting: The mission of the Willson Center is to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts. The center presents lectures, symposia, public conferences, exhibitions and performances by visiting artists and scholars as well as UGA faculty. These events are held in various venues on campus and in the community.
Facebook: Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
Twitter: @WillsonCenter