The University of Georgia’s Spotlight on the Arts festival returns for its ninth year with dozens of virtual events and exhibitions in the visual, literary and performing arts from Nov. 4-20.
Highlights of this year’s 17-day festival include performances from Grammy-winning singer Kathy Mattea, multimedia work presented by UGA Theatre, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame keynote address and several exhibitions at the Georgia Museum of Art and Lamar Dodd School of Art, among dozens of additional events featuring all aspects of the arts. Virtual exhibitions include the 2020 Shelter Projects created by UGA graduate students and community-based artists that reflect on their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, select units will host in-person performances and exhibitions that maintain social distancing.
“Thanks to the faculty and staff for putting together a world-class festival during these challenging times so that this important campus tradition can continue,” said S. Jack Hu, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I am looking forward to the 2020 Spotlight on the Arts festival.”
This year’s Spotlight on the Arts events, organized by the sponsoring unit, include:
Georgia Museum of Art
“Family Day To-Go: The Art of Seating” will be presented free of charge on Nov. 7. This family day will be home-based using a free art kit that participants can pick up from the museum. This event complements the museum’s exhibitions The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design and The Seated Child: Early Children’s Chairs from Georgia Collections. The museum is open to the public for exhibition viewing through free timed ticketing to limit the number of people in the building at one time.
The Georgia Museum of Art will host nine exhibitions during Spotlight 2020, including romantic modernism, Roman baroque, Japanese ceramics, 17th century Spanish art and antique Egyptian art. On Nov. 14 and 15, in conjunction with the exhibition Sarah Cameron Sunde: 36.5/A Durational Performance with the Sea, the museum will offer visitors exclusive virtual access to this video-based installation through four 24-hour livestream events. The museum, along with the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, will present an artist talk and panel discussion by Sunde on Nov. 19 titled “Water, Immersion, and Community.” Several additional events at the museum complement its exhibitions, including a curator talk, Morning Mindfulness, Yoga in the Galleries, a Gallery Gumshoes family event, Toddler Tuesdays and a teen studio.
Performing Arts Center
The UGA Performing Arts Center will present “Music of the Spheres” by local violinist Itamar Zorman, part of the “About LIVE! by Georgia” series, streaming online in Studio HH from Nov. 4-6. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s streaming online series will feature high-quality, curated performances by the venerated New York City group, including top classical music stars who have performed in the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall over the years.
Art Chats, interviews that showcase dynamic, highly accomplished artists in informal chats about their work, will feature internationally recognized classical musician Wu Han. Grammy and CMA award-winning singer Kathy Mattea will conclude the festival on Nov. 20 with a concert filmed exclusively for UGA Presents. The UGA Performing Arts Center will host several live, in-person performances. These performances have capped attendance for those who wish to attend. Learn more about these in-person options with social distancing and safety precautions at pac.uga.edu.
Department of Theatre and Film Studies
The department of theatre and film studies explores the Black Lives Matter movement in an original online play, Breathe. This multimedia play was developed by UGA alumna Angela Hall under the direction of professor emeritus Freda Scott Giles. This unique, original theatre experience will see its development influenced by both its writer and the cast, responding in real time to the events that surround people daily. Livestream performances of the production will be held Nov. 5-9 and 11-13.
Special Collections Libraries
UGA Libraries events will include a virtual panel discussion featuring freelance filmmakers and footage archivists Judy Aley, Solomon Polshek and Rich Remsberg on Nov. 11. The filmmakers will discuss their experience completing media archival research at the Special Collections Libraries and developing content for big-name production companies such as HBO. This event caps off the 25th anniversary celebration of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection’s contributions to media preservation, scholarship and filmmaking. UGA Libraries’ galleries will be open to the public during the festival with social distancing practices in place, and visitors must wear face masks and maintain 6 feet of distance between other visitors. Live exhibitions on view include Election 1980: The Elephant in the Room, The Georgia Coast: Contested Splendor, The Strategies of Suffrage: Mobilizing a Nation for Women’s Rights, Experiencing Cortona: Celebrating 50 Years of UGA Study Abroad and Pylon: Tourists in Rock ‘n Roll.
Lamar Dodd School of Art
The Lamar Dodd School of Art will host five exhibitions during Spotlight 2020, including a virtual lecture on Nov. 20 by Fred Moten sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts in association with the 21st Century Faculty Research Cluster. Moten teaches Black studies, critical theory, performance studies and poetics in the department of performance studies at New York University. Various exhibitions will be on view at the Dodd School during the festival, including a faculty show, BFA Exit Exhibition, NYC Invitational at the Dodd and a collaborative MFA candidate exhibition titled Coupled. Additionally, video work titled “Mutter” by Philadelphia-based artist Lee Webster will be featured.
Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, in partnership with the Graduate School, the UGA Arts Council, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and Flagpole magazine, awarded 34 micro-fellowships through its Shelter Projects program this year. These projects were created by graduate students and community-based artists to reflect on their personal experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. All projects will be featured by the Willson Center in a virtual exhibition during Spotlight 2020. Also, alumnus and author of Cool Town, Grace Elizabeth Hale, will participate in an online conversation about Athens music on Nov. 12.
Ideas for Creative Exploration
Distinguished artist Silas Munro will deliver a remote presentation titled “W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America” on Nov. 11. Munro’s work addresses the relationship between designers’ personal identities, formal systems and strategies they utilize, and how both interact with the communities they serve. This event is sponsored by Ideas for Creative Exploration, the Institute for African American Studies, the Office of Research and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.
Hugh Hodgson School of Music
The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will premiere video content from their Faculty Artist Series during Spotlight 2020. Performances include Maggie Snyder, professor of viola, featuring her VIOLA2020 commissioned piece. Other music features will include a streamed Piano Extravaganza Concert and a virtual master class by Fernando Zuniga, professor of bassoon at the University of Costa Rica. The master class will be hosted by Amy Pollard, UGA professor of bassoon.
Department of Dance
The department of dance will present a socially distanced, site-specific dance with 10 dance majors titled Stairs, Chairs and Squares created by NYC choreographer Ellen Cornfield, artistic director of Cornfield Dance. This event is in coordination with the Georgia Museum of Art’s exhibition The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design. Dancers are learning choreography guided by Cornfield and her company dancers through rehearsals both remotely and on site at UGA, with rehearsal assistance facilitated by dance faculty Jason Aryeh and Rebecca Gose.
College of Environment and Design
The College of Environment and Design Lecture Series will present a lecture titled “Delicious Terror! Gothic Landscapes in Literature, the Arts and Popular Culture” by associate professor Shelley Cannady on Nov. 11.
The 4’33” Spotlight on Scholarship in the Arts Competition returns this year in a virtual format. The contest is open to graduate and undergraduate students working on an advanced project, conducting scholarly research about art or artists in any discipline. Students will submit a video presentation no longer than four minutes and 33 seconds that clearly describes their research topic, goals and methodology and why the project is important and original.
This year, two Signature Lectures will be presented during Spotlight on the Arts. The UGA Libraries, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library and The Georgia Review will present a livestream lecture, “Georgia’s Literary Past and the Future of Southern Letters,” by author and professor W. Ralph Eubanks on Nov. 8. This lecture is also part of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame 20th Anniversary Celebration. The department of advertising and public relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will present the virtual Signature Lecture, “Driven by Purpose: Philanthropy and Social Good,” by CEO and UGA graduate Maxine Clark on Nov. 11.
“The 2020 Spotlight on the Arts festival reflects our current times and timeless human experiences,” said Marisa Pagnattaro, vice provost for academic affairs and chair of the UGA Arts Council. “The arts and humanities have the power to connect people, and I encourage members of the campus community and people across the state and beyond to engage with the thriving arts at the University of Georgia.”
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 for Humanities and Arts.
More information on the 2020 Spotlight on the Arts festival, including a current schedule of events, can be found at arts.uga.edu. Additional Spotlight information will be listed on the Arts Council Facebook page (facebook.com/UGAarts), Twitter feed (@UGA_arts) and Instagram (instagram.com/uga_arts).