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Fall into the Arts: UK College of Fine Arts offers diverse selection of concerts, theatre, dance and art

By Whitney Hale
Special to KyForward

From the university’s art studios and museum to the stages of Singletary Center for the Arts and Guignol Theatre, students, faculty and staff in the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts will transport audiences around the world with a diverse selection of concerts, theatre, dance and art offerings beginning this fall.

UK Art Museum

UK Art Museum has opened the fall arts season with a selection of five exhibitions and installations celebrating local talents, writers and even the upcoming election.

“Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself” brings together several specific projects that are part of what he calls “The Archive,” his vast and detailed accumulation of photographs, receipts, articles of clothing, books, toys, furniture and bodily fluids, to name a few, all preserved and placed throughout his home/studio in Lexington. They tell the story of one man’s awareness of time, place and connectivity to others. “Saving Myself” kicked off a citywide retrospective of Bickett’s work with exhibitions and installations at other Lexington art venues, including Institute 193, Lexington Art League, UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital and 21c Museum Hotel.

“Mira Schor: Time & Flesh” showcases the work of a New York-based artist and writer who has made numerous contributions to feminist art history and contemporary criticism. Her paintings and drawings offer possibilities for representing the lived experiences of women, examining conditions of power, desire, voice and vulnerability. A modest sampling of Schor paintings, “Time & Flesh” is being presented with her participation in “Paying Attention,” the Bale Boone Symposium developed by the Gaines Center for the Humanities and the UK Art Museum to be held Oct. 3.

Also on display is “Donald Lipski: Pieces of String Too Short to Save,” industrial mesh cages filled with found objects. Since 1979, Lipski’s work has been defined by his ingenious manipulation of common materials in small and large sculptures and installations. Drinking straws, bits of wire, bottles, cigarettes, flags, musical instruments, and countless other everyday items have been assembled into precise formal studies. In his steadfast use of commercial objects, Lipski continues the legacy of 20th-century artists, including Arman, Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. His ongoing investigations into conditions of materiality, composition, and site specificity affirm a connection to the Dada, Surrealism, Pop, and Minimalism art movements.

“James Baker Hall: The Poet’s Eye” explores Hall’s twin passions — writing and photography. A Kentucky poet laureate, he led the UK creative writing program for three decades and published novels and books of poetry, as well as collections of his photographs. This exhibition includes Kentucky landscapes; a work from his series “Orphan in the Attic,” which explores childhood trauma; and a portrait of close friend Wendell Berry, among others.

Finally, with the upcoming presidential election in mind, UK Art Museum has gathered an eclectic selection of political portraiture in drawing, painting and video in “POTUS.” Gutzon Borglum, Joel Feldman, Harry Shearer, Edward Sorel and Gilbert Stuart are among the artists representing past and possible future leaders of our country, including Hillary Clinton, Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and George Washington.

All five exhibitions are free and open to the public and run through Nov. 27.

In addition to these exhibitions, UK Art Museum’s Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series will return this fall with two programs showcasing the work of Judy Linn on Oct. 21 and Nicholas Nixon on Nov. 11. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

For a list of tours, talks, lectures, workshops and symposiums presented in conjunction with UK Art Museum’s exhibitions and installations, visit: http://finearts.uky.edu/art-museum.

UK Department of Theatre and Dance

Next door in the Guignol Theatre in the Fine Arts Building, students in UK Department of Theatre and Dance will take audiences on a ride from a world of fantasy to the beautiful islands of the Caribbean as part of their Main Stage Season.

Just in time for Halloween, UK Theatre will present “She Kills Monsters,” an escape to a fantasy world of heroes and villains. Agnes is average. But when her teenage sister, Tilly, dies in a tragic accident, Agnes discovers Tilly’s “Dungeons and Dragons” notebook and sets off on an extraordinary adventure into the fantasy world of RPGs. “She Kills Monsters,” a witty epic with trolls, dragons, wizards and a “girl-nerd” will run Oct. 27-30.

The beloved Jane Austen classic “Sense and Sensibility” comes to the Guignol Dec. 1-11. This adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel follows the Dashwood sisters after their father’s death. In matters of love, do they follow their heart or their head? Reputation, rumors, and romance in 18th-century England are explored through the stories of Austen’s strong-willed female protagonists.

In January a variety of dance works from faculty and guest artists, featuring students in the UK dance minor program will take center stage. “In Flight: Dance Concert” will run Jan. 27-29.

The following month, UK Theatre will explore how things can go wrong for “Good Kids.” It was a great party … until everything changed. The kids at school are talking about Chloe, but Chloe can’t remember anything. Inspired by real events, “Good Kids” examines events before and after a rape by members of a high school football team. In an exceedingly digital world of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, this play explores how “truth” is subject to public scrutiny and interpretation. “Good Kids,” running Feb. 16-19, includes strong language and sensitive content; viewer discretion is advised.

Closing out the 2016-17 season, UK Theatre will present “Once on this Island,” April 20-23. In this musical, Ti Moune falls in love with a rich boy from the other side of the island after she saves him from certain death. Can love survive their cultural divide? The island’s arrogant gods place bets on the romance. This Caribbean-style adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” tells the legend of a capacity to love that transcends human life and social constructs.

Tickets for UK Theatre productions can be purchased through the Singletary Center ticket office by phone at 859-257-4929, online at www.scfatickets.com or in person at the venue. All applicable fees will be added to tickets upon purchase transaction.

In addition to UK Theatre and Dance’s Main Stage Season, the department also presents many readings and one-act productions throughout the year. For a list of all activities in UK Department of Theatre and Dance, visit http://finearts.uky.edu/theatre-dance.

UK School of Art and Visual Studies

Housed in the new Art and Visual Studies Building, the Bolivar Art Gallery is the primary gallery space of UK’s School of Art and Visual Studies. The gallery features exhibition programming showcasing work by visiting artists, as well as UK students and faculty in the School of Art and Visual Studies.

This fall, Bolivar Art Gallery will present “Suspension” featuring selections from a new body of work by artist Tia-Simone Gardner. Through drawing, installation and video, Gardner addresses what literary scholar Saidiya Hartman terms “scenes of subjection.” Each work explores an event, or sequence of events taken from the writings of black feminist activists of the 19th and 20th century, including Harriet Jacobs, Audre Lorde and Winnie Mandela. Gardner uses excerpted texts, architectural and diagramatic drawings to illuminate acts of spatial violence and resistance that are ultimately unrepresentable. “Suspension” will run Sept. 2-Oct. 8.

In conjunction with “Suspension,” and artist reception and talk will be presented. The reception will run from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. Garnder’s talk will follow the next day at noon Friday, Sept. 2. In addition, “Suspension” will be part of Lexington’s Gallery Hop from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. All events and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

Other exhibitions scheduled for Bolivar Gallery for 2016-17 are:

· “Island Life,” featuring the work of Kristina Paabus and Jessica Caponigro, Oct. 14-Nov. 19;
· ​Open Studio and the Carey Ellis Juried Student Art Exhibition, Dec. 2;
· “UNLOADED,” a group show curated by Susanne Slavick, Jan. 20-Feb. 18;
· “​Integral,” a group show curated by Lari Gibbons, Feb. 24-April 1;
· “Heirloom,” featuring the work of Emily Hanako Momohara, Feb. 24-April 1; and
· “Healing Sutras,” featuring the work of Erin Endicott, Feb. 24-April 1.

For a list of all events and exhibitions at Bolivar Art Gallery, visit http://finearts.uky.edu/savs.

UK School of Music

With more than 200 recitals, concerts and performances a year, UK School of Music alone could fill your calendar with a rich selection of music offerings that range from the classical to the contemporary.

The school is home to the popular UK Opera Theatre program, which will stage three large scale productions in 2016-17. This fall, UK Opera Theatre will present “Ragtime,” Oct. 6-9, at Singletary Center for the Arts. A sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America, “Ragtime” tells the story of three families in the pursuit of the American dream. Written by the award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, noted playwright Terrence McNally, and based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, “Ragtime” is the winner of the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations.

In the spring semester, UK Opera Theatre will present Gioachino Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” Feb. 24-26, at Singletary Center. Considered one of the world’s most popular comic operas, several of the opera’s most recognizable melodies have entered the general musical unconscious, most notably the introductory patter song of the swaggering Figaro, the barber of the title.

Next June, UK Opera Theatre will mark 25 years of the popular musical revue “It’s a Grand Night for Singing!,” running June 9-18, at Singletary Center. Kick off the summer arts season in the Bluegrass with this production featuring the best from Billboard to Broadway and starring more 100 UK Opera Theatre and the community performers.

Ticket prices for these UK Opera Theatre productions range based on seating location. Tickets can be purchased through the Singletary Center ticket office by phone at 859-257-4929, online at www.scfatickets.com or in person at the venue. All applicable fees will be added to tickets upon purchase transaction.

In addition to playing the opera performances, UK Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) will present six concerts of its own in the 2016-17 season. Two highlights of the orchestra season will include “All-American: Cliff Jackson plays Rhapsody in Blue” featuring beloved UK faculty member, pianist and vocal coach Cliff Jackson and the music of Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and George Gershwin on March 24 and the “Russian Spectacular with UKSO and UK Choirs” on April 21, featuring music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Prokofiev.

All UKSO concerts will be presented at Singletary Center. For a list of UKSO’s entire season, visit: http://finearts.uky.edu/music/ensembles/uk-symphony-orchestra.

For lovers of choral music, UK Choirs’ holiday concert, “Collage” and a concert featuring UK Chorale and the Kentucky Bach Choir will be must-see concerts. “Collage” featuring the combined UK Choirs, faculty and student musicians and community artists will take the stage Dec. 3-4, at Singletary Center. The concert with UK Chorale and the Kentucky Bach Choir will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor presented March 31, at Cathedral of Christ the King.

Major ensemble concerts are $10 for general admission and $5 for student admission including fees. UK students with a valid ID may receive a complimentary ticket from Singletary Center’s box office in advance the day before the concert. Tickets can be purchased through the Singletary Center by phone at 859-257-4929, online at www.scfatickets.com or in person at the venue.

In addition to the many concerts presented by more than 25 UK ensembles, the School of Music will also host the “Tribute to the Music of Thomas Chapin” and concerts presented as part the 83rd annual convention of the American Bandmasters Association (ABA).

The Chapin concert will feature guess artist Mario Pavone with UK jazz students and faculty Sept. 21, at Singletary Center. In the spring, several of the nation’s best bands will perform as ABA takes over campus March 8-10. Mark your calendars now to take in concerts featuring Dobyns-Bennett High School Symphonic Band, Ohio State University Wind Symphony, University of Louisville Wind Ensemble, UK Wind Symphony and “The Presidents Own” United States Marine Band at the Singletary Center.

To see a listing of all UK School of Music concerts, visit http://finearts.uky.edu/music.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

Whitney Hale writes for UK Now. Reach her at 859-257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

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