Arts & Culture

A Return to the Stage: UK Fine Arts Announces 2021-22 Seasons

photo of 4 cast members performing in UK Theatre's "Bike America"
photo of UK dance student peforming with campus landscapte behind her
photo of Fuko Ito's "Perennials Cradle 3"
photo of UK Percussion Ensemble performing in UK Parade of Music
photo of Michael Preacely and Angelique Clay in UK Opera Theatre's "Porgy and Bess"
photo of student looking at neon artwork at UK Art Museum's "Coloring" exhibition

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2021)  As the world continues to find a path to a sense of “normalcy” during a pandemic, University of Kentucky’s artists are navigating their own return to the stage. After more than a year of online and outdoor performances, UK’s music, dance, theatre and visual artists will find their way back to several in-person performances and exhibitions beginning this fall.

As part of UK's College of Fine Arts, the Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Visual Studies, and School of Music will join the UK Art Museum, who reopened to the public last fall by reservation, in presenting 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, including “Faculty Series: Vol. IV” currently running through Sept. 4, at Bolivar Art Gallery.                                                                   


With the Department of Theatre and Dance set to return to its beloved Guignol and Briggs Theatre stages, it is proud to announce its 2021-2022 Main Stage Season of thought-provoking, culturally conscious productions alongside a first-time collaboration between the university’s dance and music students.

Tickets are now available for the following five productions being presented as part of the 2021-22 Main Stage Season:

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

Tickets for the on-demand production of "The Laramie Project" are $10 for students with university ID and $12 for the general public and will be available via the Broadway on Demand site. Tickets to "Bright Star" 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 in-person productions at Guignol Theatre and Briggs Theatre, contact the Singletary Center ticket office at 859-257-4929, visit online at, or visit the ticket office in person.

UK Department of Theatre and Dance performances will be presented in compliance with the UK mask mandate


Faculty are in the spotlight as the UK School of Art and Visual Studies presents its first exhibition of the year. “Faculty Series: Vol. IV,” which is free and open to the public, is currently running through Sept. 4, at Bolivar Art Gallery.

A slight departure from the traditional "faculty show" format, “Faculty Series” occurs annually and represents only a portion of the faculty, with different artists exhibiting each year. This installment includes work in a variety of media including installation, photography, video, sculpture, book arts, ceramics, painting, drawing and mixed media from SAVS faculty Chad Eby, Marty Henton, Fuko Ito, Forest Kelley, Rowe Moser, Brandon Smith, Hunter Stamps, Heather Stratton and Lynn Sweet. A closing reception for “Faculty Series: Vol. IV” will be held 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2.

Another anticipated highlight expected to return this year is SAVS’s — and the university’s — most popular visual arts event, Open Studio. The free public event featuring student and faculty work, as well as the Carey Ellis Juried Student Show, is traditionally held the first Friday in December.

For more information on specific exhibitions and a list of future events and exhibitions at Bolivar Art Gallery visit

UK School of Art and Visual Studies and Bolivar Gallery exhibitions and events will be presented in compliance with the UK mask mandate


With a large selection of recitals, concerts and operas each 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.

To open the season, the extended Wildcat family and Central Kentucky audiences are invited to celebrate Parents Weekend with a concert featuring UK Symphony Band and UK Wind Symphony Sept. 19, at Singletary Center for the Arts. Other UK ensembles’ opening season concerts will follow, including the UK Jazz Ensemble and UK Lab Band concert on Sept. 30, UK Percussion Ensemble concert on Oct. 17 and the UK Chorale concert Oct. 19. All concerts will be staged in the Singletary Center.

The 2021-22 season will see the school's critically acclaimed UK Opera Theatre program stage three large scale productions. First up for UKOT will be Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme" in November, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" in March 2022, and the 30th anniversary production of “It’s A Grand Night For Singing!" in June 2022. For specific dates, times, locations and ticket information for UKOT events, visit

Now in its 103rd year, UK Symphony Orchestra (UKSO) has announced a 2021-22 season that will showcase beloved classical masterpieces alongside work from 10 living composers, including several Kentucky premieres. This season’s UKSO concert dates and featured works are:

  • Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” Sept. 24;
  • Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and UK Composer-in Residence Emeritus Joseph Baber’s Suite from “Frankenstein,” Oct. 29;
  • Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from “The Firebird” (1919 version) and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concert, Dec. 2;
  • Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, “Titan," Kaija Saariaho’s “Ciel d’hiver” or "Winter Sky” and Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Feb. 18;
  • Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” or “The Sea” and Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto, March 25; and
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Choral,” with UK Choirs, April 22.

All UK Symphony Orchestra concerts listed will be presented in Singletary Center. For the full concert programs and times, visit

These concerts are just a sampling of what the more than 25 UK School of Music ensembles will present in the year ahead. And mark your calendars now for UK Choirs' beloved holiday concert "Collage" on Dec. 4-5.

For more information on ticket prices for UK School of Music major ensemble concerts visit the UK School of Music website at and Singletary Center's website at

The Singletary Center is preparing to welcome audiences to events this semester but requests that everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, remain masked at all times. The safety policy applies to students, faculty, staff and community visitors.

To see a full listing of all UK School of Music concerts, recitals and master classes, visit


For visual arts lovers, UK Art Museum reopened to the public by reservation last fall. With several COVID-19 protocols in place, the museum has been a refuge for many the last year looking to tap into the healing, as well as the entertainment and educational, aspects of the visual arts.

This fall, UK Art Museum will continue to stage several new public exhibitions, alongside smaller shows featuring work from the museum’s own collection. All exhibitions are free and open to the public by reservation.  

Last month, the museum opened the “Coloring” and “Template Days: Avantika Bawa and May Tveit” exhibitions, which run through Dec. 11. The artists included in “Coloring” reveal how color can offer a range of physical and conceptual links — to the human body, nature, science and popular culture. Drawn from the museum’s collection and including several loans from artists, galleries, and collectors, the exhibition includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints whose dominant characteristic is color.

“Template Days” features two mid-career artists who both examine and work with industrial forms and materials, including cardboard and metal scaffolding. They work serially, each using templates to develop bodies of sculpture and printmaking that combine a rigorous investigation of form and process.

Later this fall, UK Art Museum will open “After,” “Sally Davies: New Yorkers” and “Space–Bodies–Objects.”

Some artists spend their entire lives reproducing the work or other artists in the form of engravings or other prints. Others were inspired by famed predecessors or made portraits to memorialize loved ones or the famous after their deaths. “After” contains prints reproducing paintings by Pieter Bruegel The Elder or Gilbert Stuart; 20th-century drawings of ancient sculpture; and portraits of Edgar Allan Poe and Gustave Flaubert. “After” will run Oct. 12-March 19.

Sally Davies has photographed the streets of New York for 35 years, but in her recent series “New Yorkers,” she made portraits of longtime city dwellers inside their idiosyncratic apartments and interviewed them about city life. Davies will speak at Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series on Oct. 22. “Sally Davies: New Yorkers” will be on display Oct. 12-March 19.

“Space-Bodies-Objects” includes several paintings that locate human or animal figures along with enigmatic objects in varied architectural settings. The spaces depicted combine aspects of inside and out, nature glimpsed through open windows and porticos, and interiors of uncertain scale. “Space-Bodies-Objects” can be seen Oct. 12-March 19.

For the spring semester, UK Art Museum will open two more exhibitions on campus — “Todd Hido: The Poetry of Darkness” and “Brilliant Illusions: Crafted Forms by Li Hongwei.”

Photographer Todd Hido spent decades exploring the mystery of suburban neighborhoods at night, finding them eerily lit by glowing windows that suggest hidden stories. Prompted by the threat of global climate change and a dark political atmosphere, his more recent landscapes examine a world seemingly on the edge of apocalypse. “Todd Hido: The Poetry of Darkness” will run Jan. 18-June 4.

“Brilliant Illusions: Crafted Forms by Li Hongwei” showcases the renowned ceramic traditions of ancient China through the fresh and dynamic expression of artist Hongwei, whose sculpture combines crystalline glazes on porcelain with polished steel in ways that reanimate the past and evoke a new future for this art form. “Brilliant Illusions: Crafted Forms by Li Hongwei” will be on display Jan. 18-June 4.

UK Art Museum's current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. To learn more about each exhibition and programming scheduled to accompany the shows, visit the museum online at:

UK Art Museum COVID-19 protocols

To keep patrons and staff safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Art Museum has several protocols in place. All visitors must pre-register for a timed appointment to view exhibitions. Reservations can be made here

In addition, all visitors must abide by the following guidelines when visiting any exhibitions or activities at UK Art Museum:

  • Face masks must be worn by all visitors older than 2 years of age.
  • Capacity will be reduced and controlled to 50 visitors at any time.
  • Temperature checks will be required for visitors and staff prior to entry.
  • Visitors showing signs of illness at any time will be asked to return when they are healthy.
  • Visitors must use provided hand sanitizer upon entry.
  • Social distancing is required and will be enforced.
  • Follow signs noting the direction of traffic in the galleries.
  • Credit or debit cards only; no cash permitted for any purchases. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.