Arts & Culture

2019-20 Arts Preview: This is 40 at UK Fine Arts

Watch the Postmodern Jukebox cover of Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like" above.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2019) From the University of Kentucky's art studios and galleries to its stages, the College of Fine Arts has been entertaining fans and patrons of music, theatre and the visual arts for decades. But for two of the university's most important venues — Singletary Center for the Arts and UK Art Museum — this year will be a celebration of 40 years of arts excellence.

As part of the UK's College of Fine Arts, the Singletary Center, UK Art Museum, Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Visual Studies, and School of Music will present a diverse selection of concerts, exhibits, theatre and dance offerings for audiences of all art forms. Here's a sample of what you have to look forward to in the coming year. 


The Singletary Center presents and hosts artistic, cultural and educational events for the campus community, Lexington and the Commonwealth. The center, named for the eighth president of UK, is a major cultural resource for the state. From its opening Nov. 1, 1979, the center has accomplished Singletary's wish to provide a succession of brilliant performances, which constitute impressive evidence of UK's commitment to the arts.

Hosting an average of 400 events annually, the Singletary Center has served over 3.7 million patrons in its history. The center provides professional, full-service venues for the creation, practical application, and dissemination of artistic, cultural and educational expressions by international, national, regional, university, and student performers, artists and speakers.

The center's 2019-20 Signature Series season builds on this success showcasing eight performances ranging from orchestral to jazz and blues to bluegrass. Get your tickets now for the following acts:

Tickets for all Signature Series events are on sale now at or can be purchased by calling 859-257-4929. More information on all performers in the Signature Series is available on the Singletary Center website:


Since its founding in 1979, the mission of the UK Art Museum has been to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky. The museum makes this possible through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures.

Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the UK Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. And, as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusivity the museum operates on a free admission policy, making the museum a welcoming environment for all art lovers.

To kick off its 40th year, UK Art Museum will be presenting multiple exhibitions this fall as well as several receptions, artist talks, workshops and lectures. This fall's two larger exhibitions will open next week. "Interwoven: Joan Snyder, Judy Ledgerwood, Crystal Gregory" brings together a trio of artists who make work deeply informed by feminism through their embrace of personal narratives, symbols and choice of motifs. They share an interest in varied texture, a dynamic use of color and gesture, and material and process. "Interwoven" opens Sept. 14.

"Bethany Collins: Benediction" explores how the Chicago-based artist uses drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures to interrogate words in order to reveal their potential to empower or betray us. The completed works address the struggle of the individual to navigate issues of race, power and histories of violence. "Benediction" also opens Sept. 14.

In addition, UK Art Museum is presenting six other smaller exhibitions, including:

To learn more about each exhibition and programming scheduled to accompany the shows, visit the museum online at:


The Department of Theatre and Dance will present an array of award-winning modern and classical works that promise to take audiences on journeys through life, and even fantasy, all from their seat in Guignol Theatre, located in the Fine Arts Building.

Tickets are now available for the following six productions being presented as part of the 2019-20 Main Stage Season:

  • “Black & 25 in America,” written and performed by 2010 theatre graduate Jeremy Gillett, Sept 13-14;
  • Tony and Academy Award-winning musical “Cabaret,” Oct. 31-Nov. 3;
  • Sophie Treadwell's “Machinal,” Dec. 5-8;
  • “Bike America,” by Michael Lew, Feb. 13-16;
  • “Amplified Dance Concert,” March 6-8; and
  • William Shakespeare’s rom-com masterpiece, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” April 23-26.

For  more information on each show and specific times and dates, visit UK Theatre online at

Tickets to "Cabaret" are $15 for students with a university ID and $20 for the general public. Tickets to all other shows are $10 for students with a university ID and $15 for the general public. To purchase tickets to UK Theatre and Dance's productions at Guignol Theatre, contact the Singletary Center ticket office at 859-257-4929, visit online at, or visit the ticket office in person.


Faculty will be in the spotlight as the UK School of Art and Visual Studies presents its first exhibition of the year. Bolivar Art Gallery will showcase a free public show dedicated to the work of a select group of UK faculty in “Faculty Series: VOL. III.” The show will open with a reception 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, and runs through Sept. 28.

A slight departure from the traditional "faculty show" format, the series occurs annually and represents only a portion of the faculty, with different artists exhibiting each year. In addition to the opening reception, two other events are scheduled for the exhibition. UK Art Museum Curator Janie Welker will lead a discussion on the work featured in "Faculty Series" beginning noon Friday, Sept. 6, and the exhibiting artists will take part in a talk on their work noon Friday. Sept. 20. 

For a list of future events and exhibitions at Bolivar Art Gallery, as well as gallery hours, visit


With more than 200 recitals, concerts and operas 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. And for jazz lovers, 2019-20 promises to be a special season as the school's jazz program celebrates 50 years of performances by the UK Jazz Ensemble, as well as 30 years of playing under the direction of Professor Miles Osland.

To open the season, audiences are invited to take in a concert showcasing the breadth of the school at School of Music on Parade, Sept. 13, at Singletary Center. This event features the school's large ensembles, including UK's Wind SymphonyChoirs, Symphony Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble; UK JazzCats and UK Opera Theatre; a cappella favorites Paws and Listen and the acoUstiKats; Wildcat Marching Band; and members of its distinguished faculty including the UK Faculty Brass Quintet.

School of Music on Parade is the first time UK's jazz students will take the stage, but audiences can catch them in action multiple times through the year as they celebrate the program's milestones, including the UK Jazz Ensemble 30/50 Anniversary Concert scheduled for Oct. 18, at Singletary Center.

The 2019-20 season will see the school's critically acclaimed UK Opera Theatre program stage three large scale productions at Singletary Center. Buy tickets now for:

  • Giacomo Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" and "Suor Angelica," Oct. 11-13;
  • "The Crucible," by Robert Ward (based on the play by Arthur Miller), Apr. 3-5; and
  • "It’s A Grand Night For Singing!" June 12-21.

Now in its 101st year, UK Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) will also present several concerts of its own in the 2019-20 season. In addition to performing with Gil Shaham in September, the orchestra will present:

  • Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, with guest artist and UK alumna Rachel Sterrenberg, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 8;
  • Rimsky Korsakov’s "Scheherazade," Dec. 5;
  • UKSO Valentine’s Day Concert, featuring Lexington Singers and the UK Choristers, Feb. 14; and
  • UKSO and Concerto Competition winners' concert, March 27.

And, these concerts are just a sampling of what the more than 25 UK School of Music ensembles will present in the year ahead. Other concerts of note include the UK Wind Symphony Fall Concert on Oct. 16; UK Choirs' beloved holiday concert "Collage" on Dec. 7-8; and UKSO and UK Choir's presentation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on April 24.

UK School of Music 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 of concert the day before the concert. Tickets can be purchased through the Singletary Center by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or in person at the venue.

To see a listing of all UK School of Music concerts, recitals and masterclasses, visit

photo of Postmodern Jukebox
headshot photo of Gil Shaham playing violin
photo of "Wackadoodle" by Judy Ledgerwood
photo of "Black & 25 in America" poster
photo of artwork from "Faculty Series: VOL. III"
photo of 2018 UK Jazz Ensemble