Jefferson Trust Projects Make an Impact on the Arts at UVA
Imagine the splendor of the night sky laid out before you as you look up from the…floor of the Rotunda? Through the Rotunda Planetarium project, sponsored by a grant from the Jefferson Trust, visitors are doing just that. The project uses an array of digital projectors located in the building's upper gallery and is presented alongside an exhibition and program of events that invite visitors to explore the history of the Rotunda Library in its first decade. The unique display is just one of the many initiatives funded by the Jefferson Trust, which since 2006 has provided over $3 million to the Arts at UVA.
Projects have ranged from documentary film projects to creative student ideas to innovative educational experiences for local schoolchildren and more. Other highlights of the Jefferson Trust-funded projects have included the Stan Winston Arts Festival of the Moving Creature, an interdisciplinary effort that engaged more than 70 students from the University's School of Architecture and Departments of Studio Art and Drama to honor the work and legacy of one of the University of Virginia's most successful arts alumni. Winston, who passed away in 2008, was a pioneering master in the field of movie and television special effects and is perhaps best known for his work in the Terminator series, the first three Jurassic Park films, Aliens, Iron Man, and Edward Scissorhands. Through a collaborative workshop, the cross-disciplinary team of students worked together to research, design and construct a collection of sometimes full-scale, and sometimes larger-than-life "creatures" that came to life for the festival and for several events that followed.
The Trust also funded the creation of a documentary film capturing residencies over nearly a decade featuring world-renowned dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones and company, who made regular visits to the University and engaged in dialogue with students, administration officials and Charlottesville community members representing a variety of academic, demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The partnership, created to explore the significance of the ongoing relationship between the Artist and the University, resulted in 100 Migrations, the film which captured his live performance on Grounds in 2008, as well as a 30-minute documentary film discussing the role of the Artists in the research university for television and festival audiences. The Jefferson Trust also supports the growth and development of visual artists at UVA through the Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize. Each spring, the Trust provides $2,500 to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate artist to help them expand students' opportunities for creative expression and to showcase significant student accomplishments in the arts at the University.