UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 13 Winter 20 Library
Jody Kielbasa | Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications

Welcome Back from UVA Arts!

Students are back which means Arts Grounds is buzzing once again - as much as it can in this new normal.

(L) UVA's Morven Farm transformed into a Drive-in Theater for the 34th annual Virginia Film Festival. (R) This is the 20th anniversary of Lighting of the Lawn, which was founded after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to bring unity and inclusion to the UVA and Charlottesville communities.
(Photo: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

As we enter the third semester of hybrid and distance learning, we highlight stories of continued innovation and inspiration in the arts at UVA. Our students and faculty have not slowed down, but continue to create, inspire, and engage. 

This work, of course, is made possible due to the incredible generosity of our community of donors, alumni, and friends. In this installment, we acknowledge UVA Arts Council Chair, Gretchen Tibbits and her tireless work and support to advance the mission of UVA Arts. We honor the legacy of Ruth Cunningham Cross and her love for The Fralin Museum of Art. Ruth was truly a treasure who championed the spirit of generosity and passion for art and she will be dearly missed. 

Our feature stories highlights the adaptability and resiliency exhibited by our faculty and staff. When the COVID-19 health crisis hit, Director of Interdisciplinary Archeology Program, Tyler Jo Smith, quickly realized that the Byzantine Art and Archeology Internship Program in Greece, where three students were meant to study last summer, would have to change. Instead of missing out on these important learning opportunities, they adjusted and provided a highly engaging experience. Similarly, the musicians and staff of the Charlottesville Symphony have found ways to share live and recorded musical performances with audiences across the state and the globe and the Dance program connected their students with legendary Dance Artists turned Arts Administrators, a unique networking and professional opportunity. 

Artists such as Matthew Burtner, world-renowned composer, and Brenda Patterson, Victory Hall Opera Co-Founder and Director of Music, push boundaries in fields of music and opera, creating art that warrants a discussion on global warming and performances that are accessible to the deaf community. Art has and always will be a platform for innovation and convening force, making artists some of the most important changemakers in our society. And, as I am sure some of you saw, we were honored to be included as a part of President Jim Ryan’s Holiday Greeting, featuring the Family Holiday Concert with the University Singers, Michael Slon, Benjamin Rous, and the Charlottesville Symphony at the University. Yet another innovative way of celebrating the Arts, and reaching and widening our audience with over 27,000 views to date.

We hope these stories bring you hope and joy and that we can celebrate this work with you in person soon!

Best wishes, 

Jody Kielbasa
Vice Provost for the Arts
Director, Virginia Film Festival
University of Virginia
Contact: uvaartsmagazine@virginia.edu

Letter from Installment 1, December 2020: 

Greetings and Happy Holidays from all of us at UVA Arts! Before we close the books on a historic and particularly trying year, I hope you join us in looking back, once more, as we explore stories of resilience, innovation, creativity, and passion from all across Grounds. Though so many of us have been isolated and distanced from our friends and families, the arts have been the great convener, allowing us to not just connect, but to continue to celebrate and engage with our communities. I continue to be humbled and inspired by the students, staff, and faculty at UVA who have committed themselves to this work that brightens our lives and our world.

In the 1st installment of Volume 13,  you will read about artists who are pushing boundaries with their medium, serving as change-makers and educators. UVA’s Studio Art Department brought us two internationally acclaimed artists, Nick Cave & LaToya Ruby Frazier. Cave came to UVA for a spring residency where he shared groundbreaking methods for creative collaboration that could quite literally change the future of work in this field and Frazier taught us about intention, presence, & more collaboration. Artistic Director and Program Manager of UVA Acts, Cortney McEniry, is also making her own impact on the future of performance art as a means for dialogue about some of the most important and difficult topics of our time.

You will read about work being done to highlight groups of people whose stories are often left out of the spotlight.  For example, UVA Drama graduate and noted director and actor, Larry Goldstein, quickly adapted his play about life in an assisted living facility to be a series of readings and performances over Zoom. Aptly renamed, Serenity Hill… in the Pandemic offers a glimpse into the lives of both the residents and their families at this facility as well as the caregivers. The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection continues its impressive and renowned work of showcasing art and stories of Aboriginal artists with several stunning exhibitions and a collaboration with The Fralin Museum of Art.

And finally, we hear from WTJU’s director, Nathan Moore, about their commitment to being a hub for classical music listening and learning in Charlottesville. Which will, of course, include this month's many holiday favorites.

We are sending along this wonderful Holiday Concert for your viewing pleasure from the University Singers & Charlottesville Symphony! As always, we hope these stories bring you some joy and inspiration. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year! 

Read the next story

The 2020 Virginia Film Festival Goes Virtual & Adds Drive-Ins!!