The UGA Arts Council is hosting Spotlight on the Arts, a nine-day festival through Nov. 11. The festival features more than 50 events, including theater and dance performances, art exhibitions, poetry readings, author panels and book signings, lectures and discussions on the arts.
The festival is part of a broader effort to engage the university community, especially students, in the arts at UGA, and to instill a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of the performing, visual and literary arts.
"It's important that students - particularly our incoming students - learn about the opportunities available to them beyond the classroom," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jere Morehead. "We hope that faculty, but particularly those teaching First-Year Odyssey seminars, will encourage students to visit the Georgia Museum of Art or attend a theater performance or dance or music concert on campus."
A complete listing of events is available at the recently launched UGA Arts website: http://arts.uga.edu
Festival highlights include:
- The opening of a Jack Davis exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art.
- Concerts by the Atlanta Symphony and Bela Fleck at the Performing Arts Center.
- A University Theatre production of Rita Dove's play "The Darker Face of the Earth."
- Performances by the Blue Man Group.
- A production of "Carmina Burana" by the UGA Symphony and Combined Choirs.
- A reading and lecture by U.S. Poet Laureate and UGA alum Natasha Trethewey.
The idea for the festival began when the UGA Arts Council -- composed of directors and department heads from various arts units on campus -- was convened by Vice Provost Libby Morris in fall 2011. Discussions by the group immediately focused on how to make the arts at UGA more visible to the university community, especially students, and to the surrounding community as well.
"We talked about the fact that we have these marvelous arts programs and venues, but they needed a higher profile," said Morris. "We discussed ways to raise awareness with various audiences on and off campus of the special opportunities that the university provides to experience the full spectrum of the arts -- from music to dance to theater to the visual and literary arts."
In addition to The Arts at UGA website, the Arts Council created a State of the Arts newsletter and launched Twitter (www.twitter.com/UGA_Arts) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/UGA_Arts) pages to get the word out about the festival and other arts events on campus. "While many of our individual arts units were doing an excellent job of promoting their own events and activities, there were no sources for overall information about the arts at UGA," said Morris. "The idea was to make it possible for people to get an overview of all the university's offerings in one place and then to be able to access more details about specific areas of interest."
As President Michael F. Adams noted recently, "It's not accidental that this community is on virtually every list of great places to live for everyone from millennials to retirees. A great part of that is the cultural life here in Athens. There are few if any places of 100,000 people in population in America where you have the breadth of art, music, dance and drama available to you that we have in Athens."