Arts & Culture

UK Fine Arts Brings Joy to the Bluegrass for the Holidays

Open Studio, an evening of art and celebration, will run 6-9 p.m., Dec. 1. Video: Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing.

Listen above to the new dean of UK College of Fine Arts, Mark Shanda, talk about the college on the Nov. 17 episode of "UK at the Half."


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 27, 2017) From university artists' personal studios and the Singletary Center for the Arts' stages to The Square in downtown Lexington, the talented students and faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts will ring in the holiday season with everything from the best in visual arts to classic annual offerings of music and dance. With Open Studio, "Collage" and "Celebration of Song," as well as the touring production of Moscow Ballet's "The Great Russian Nutcracker" at Singletary, there is something sure to tug at the heartstrings of audience members of all ages Dec. 1-18.

O Come All Ye Art Lovers to Open Studio

As is tradition at UK College of Fine Arts, holiday celebrations will begin with Open Studio. UK School of Art and Visual Studies will throw open its doors to the public for this beloved visual arts event at the university's Art and Visual Studies Building. Open Studio gives the public a chance to see the state-of-the-art working facility, as well as view and even purchase artwork by students and acclaimed UK faculty.

As part of this UK holiday event, the studios of graduate and select undergraduate students will be open with these young artists present to talk about their ongoing projects. A variety of artwork will be on display including metalwork, fiber, paintings, photographs, drawings, ceramics, plaster casts, printmaking and woodwork. Much of this work can be purchased for that special someone this gift-giving season.

Open Studio also includes the Carey Ellis Juried Student Show, featuring the best UK art students' work over the last year. To round out the festivities there will be arts and crafts for children, a graduate student exhibition, live music, and food and drinks.

Check out Open Studio from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at the Art and Visual Studies Building located at 236 Bolivar St. This event is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is suggested.

‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ 'Collage' Turns 20 This Year

Watch highlights from the 2016 "Collage" concerts above. 

Featuring the critically acclaimed vocalists of the UK Choirs and other celebrated musicians from UK School of Music and the Lexington community, "Collage" will warm audiences' hearts this winter for the 20th year Dec. 2-3, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

A Central Kentucky holiday tradition, "Collage" is presented by the UK Choirs under the direction of Jefferson Johnson, and Lori Hetzel, associate director of UK Choral Activities. The concerts showcase the department's highly praised student groups, UK Chorale; UK Choristers conducted by Elizabeth Wilson; UK Women's Choir; and UK Men's Chorus, as well as the UK Choir's a cappella groups, the acoUstiKats, Paws and Listen and Blue Note. The concert is fast-paced and a visually exciting program featuring the best of holiday music from around the world.

Along with the UK Choirs, this season’s concerts will feature performances by Associate Professor Dieter Hennings on guitar; the UK Trombone Quartet led by Assistant Professor Bradley Kerns; UK Mega-Sax 2 led by Professor Miles Osland; UK Blue Steel, a steel drum band; the UK Holiday Clarinets led by Associate Professor Scott Wright; and crowd favorite, the GrassKats, a bluegrass band led by Johnson.

In addition to showcasing the UK Choirs and musicians at the UK School of Music, each year "Collage" features the rich talents of the Lexington arts community. This year’s concert is no exception as it will include performances by the Lexington Singers; the Lexington Singers Children's Choir; the handbell ensemble Alluring; and the Lafayette High School Madrigal Singers.

The curtain rises on "Collage" 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Singletary Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 for general admission, $14 for children and UK students with a valid student ID, and $24 each for groups of more than 15. Tickets can be purchased at the Singletary Center ticket office by calling 859-257-4929, visiting, or in person. A processing fee will be added upon completion of transaction.

Oh What Fun to Sing Along at 'Celebration of Song'

See a performance of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" performed by UK Opera Theatre at 2016 "Celebration of Song" above. Video courtesy of Alltech.

Join UK Opera Theatre and the Central Kentucky community as it gets in the spirit of the season at the old-fashioned holiday sing-along concerts, "Celebration of Song," Dec. 10, at The Square. The concerts are free and open to the public. 

Conducted by Director of UK Opera Theatre Everett McCorvey, and presented in partnership with Alltech, "Celebration of Song" features performances of favorite carols by award-winning vocalists from UK Opera Theatre and special guest artists.

Due to popular demand, there will be two performances of "Celebration of Song" again this year at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at The Square, located at the corner of West Main Street in downtown Lexington.

Ring in the Holidays With 'Nutcracker' and More at Singletary

Watch the Moscow Ballet perform the Overture from "The Great Russian Nutcracker" above. 

Join in a holiday tradition celebrated by people around the world as the Moscow Ballet returns to the Bluegrass with their production of "The Great Russian Nutcracker" Dec. 18, at Singletary Center for the Arts. Or if you are looking to enjoy the season by taking in more local talent, Singletary Center will be home to several holiday offerings from the Lexington Singers, Bluegrass Area Jazz Ambassadors, Bluegrass Youth Ballet and Woodford County High School.

Direct from Russia, Moscow Ballet’s "Great Russian Nutcracker" has been hailed as a “knock out” by The New York Times. Audiences are sure to be enchanted by this production for the whole family with larger than life magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and Russian-made costumes and sets. "The Great Russian Nutcracker" will grace the Singletary Center stage 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18.

Tickets for "The Great Russian Nutcracker" range from $68 to $28 based on seating location. For an extra-special experience, individuals may purchase platinum and gold circle tickets for $175 and $102 respectively. Platinum ticket buyers will receive a premium Nutcracker doll and a Moscow Ballet book with each ticket purchased. In addition, platinum ticket buyers will have a meet-and-greet opportunity before the performance which will bring purchasers back stage on a guided tour. Gold circle ticket buyers will receive a Nutcracker doll and the official Moscow Ballet book with each ticket purchased.

Leading up to the Moscow Ballet event, Singletary Center will host the Woodford County High School Winter Choir Concert. This program will begin 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the Singletary Center Concert Hall. Tickets for this concert are $6 for general admission.

Next up, Singletary Center will host the Lexington Singers annual performance of George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. The concert will feature talented guest soloists, including UK alumnus and Metropolitan Opera tenor Gregory Turay, a baroque orchestra and, of course, the Lexington Singers. Tickets for "Messiah" are $30 for general admission; $25 for senior citizens; and $10 for students.

The Bluegrass Area Jazz Ambassadors (BAJA) will warm up the season with the sounds of holiday jazz music beginning 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12. The annual "A Jazzy Holiday Concert" features Central Kentucky’s best jazz musicians, including many UK alumni, students and faculty. Tickets for "A Jazzy Holiday Concert" are $9 for general admission, $4 for children and students, and free for UK students with valid ID if purchased at Singletary Center ticket office before the day of the concert.

For those interested in a shorter version of the "Nutcracker," the Bluegrass Youth Ballet will present "The Nutcracker in One Act" 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Based on a novel by E.T.A. Hoffman, Bluegrass Youth Ballet's production is a kid-friendly take on the magical tale of holiday adventure. Tickets for "The Nutcracker in One Act" are $20 for general admission, $17 for seniors and students, and free for children 2 years old and younger. Discounted tickets are available for UK faculty and staff, and groups of 10 or more can get tickets for $15 directly from the Singletary Center ticket office.

To purchase tickets to these events at Singletary Center, contact the Singletary Center box office by phone at 859-257-4929, online at, or in person. Fees will be applied upon completion of transaction.

The UK College of Fine Arts is the vibrant arts hub of UK. It's an incubator for creativity and discovery, offering quality educational opportunities for students and engaging arts experiences for the community. The college is comprised of the School of Music, the School of Art and Visual Studies, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Arts Administration Program, the Singletary Center for the Arts and the UK Art Museum.

photo of combined choirs at "Collage" 2016
photo of Open Studio 2016
photo of Open Studio 2016
photo of Open Studio 2016
photo of GrassKats perfoming at "Collage" 2016
photo of "Collage" banner
photo of "Celebration of Song" concert banner
photo of Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" banner