December 16, 2016

Creativity, in all its forms, ran rampant at the University of Virginia in 2016.

Works from world-renowned artists graced the Grounds, ranging from Andy Warhol’s pop art portraits to a rare showing of one of the world’s most famous books – William Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Alongside these treasures of the past, student artists – musicians, dancers, deejays, actors, painters, architects, filmmakers and more – showed the promise of the future, creating original works that wowed audiences at UVA and beyond.

Take a look back at just a few of the highlights.

A Visit from The Bard

UVA was one of 52 institutions nationwide hosting an edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio during a national tour marking the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. Printed in 1623, the folio is the first compilation of his works, with 235 copies surviving today.



An Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library exhibit, “Shakespeare by the Book,” celebrated the First Folio and the history of Shakespeare in publication with artifacts ranging from James Madison’s personal copy of “Hamlet” to a specially designed watch that uses flashing lights to send out Sonnets 18 and 130 in Morse code.

An Icon at The Fralin

Iconic works from pop artist Andy Warhol – including his portrait series of Marilyn Monroe and a diamond-dusted portrait of Queen Elizabeth II – were on display at The Fralin Museum of Art, which also announced a new director, Matthew McLendon, this year.

The museum spent more than a year seeking additional pieces to reunite some of Warhol’s most famous portrait series for the exhibition, called “Andy Warhol: Icons.”

A New Mural for the Corner

English professor and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove’s poem, “Testimonial,” is the centerpiece of a new mural gracing an exterior wall of the Graduate Charlottesville hotel on University Avenue.

Painted by muralist David Guinn, the mural focused on one line as a clarion call of the UVA experience: “The world called and I answered.”

A Landmark at the White House

A team of faculty and students from the School of Architecture was selected to renovate the White House Kitchen Gardens, which First Lady Michelle Obama planted in 2009 to encourage a national conversation around health and wellness.

The team designed a revised layout with a new threshold, an entryway with an arbor, a wider walkway and a gathering area with a table and benches, all based on the theme of “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one.

A Cancer Survivor Leaving His Mark

Sandy Williams, a 2016 graduate who is now a Aunspaugh Fifth-Year Fellow in UVA’s McIntire Department of Art, was diagnosed with lymphoma during his senior year of high school. He continued his medical treatments at UVA, ultimately beat cancer and discovered a new passion for art.

“I loved the personality of it and the passion that my professors have for it,” he said of his attraction to art. “It was something that I could do to express myself, to talk about things, to investigate the world in a unique way, but still have an impact on the world.”

A Wealth of Student Talent

UVA’s student artists shone in 2016. Second-year student filmmaker Michelle Miles – who won the “Best Short Documentary” award at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival – threw herself into UVA’s arts community and advocated for accessibility on Grounds to help wheelchair-bound students like herself.

Graduate art student Zuhal Feraidon, born in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, was dubbed a “dangerous woman” by the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities for her art that seeks to change perceptions of Afghan women at home and abroad.

2016 graduate Logan Dandridge also used his art to challenge perceptions, with a semi-permanent installation on Grounds called “Beyond Skin Deep: The UVA Experience.” It featured photos of UVA students, faculty and staff and their reflections on their time on Grounds.

A High Fashion Exchange

In a project led by UVA’s Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, students partnered with Aboriginal textile artists in Australia to design, sew and exhibit couture clothing, led by associate drama professor Marcy Linton and Kluge-Ruhe education and program coordinator Lauren Maupin.

Their garments starred in a February fashion show at the Jefferson Theater, along with music, clothing and jewelry created by indigenous designers.

A Facebook Live Opera

Third-year student Wesley Diener gave the UVA Facebook community a live look at one of his rehearsals as he prepared for an upcoming audition.

Diener, a music major, plans to pursue opera professionally after graduation. He attended an intensive two-month American Vocal Academy program in France this summer and tries to fit in around two hours of voice practice every day, often staying in rehearsal rooms in Old Cabell Hall until closing time.

A Rollicking Theatre Festival

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival featured swashbuckling pirates, Charlie Brown and even a one-man comedy show by famed “Seinfeld” writer Pat Hazell.

The annual summer festival, now in its 42nd year, attracts actors and directors from around the country to collaborate with UVA drama students and faculty and delight local audiences.

A Summer Spinning Records

Local middle and high school students tried their hand at radio production this summer during WTJU’s third annual Summer Radio Camp.

WTJU, UVA’s student- and community-run radio station, plays music from a wide variety of genres, hosts community concerts and events and gives students – whether in middle school or at UVA – an opportunity to learn more about radio careers.

A Perfect Stage

Among its many other functions, UVA’s Lawn makes a great stage for student art. On a typical day, you might find dance groups, a cappella groups, bands or artists set up in the grass or on the steps of the Rotunda or Old Cabell Hall.

During a photo essay focused on the Lawn, UVA photographers captured both the UVA African Music and Dance Ensemble rehearsing and a jam session by a Bluegrass Workshop from the McIntire Department of Music.

A Snapshot of Student Dance

UVA’s Salsa Club was one of many student groups featured on the University’s Snapchat account this year.

There are more than 20 student dance groups at UVA, in addition to a dance minor offered through the Department of Drama.

A Milestone Anniversary

Founded in 1871, the UVA Glee Club celebrated its 145th anniversary this year. It is the oldest musical organization at UVA and one of the oldest collegiate all-male choral groups in the country.

This year, alumni and former conductors returned to Grounds for a reunion concert celebrating the anniversary alongside current members and Grammy Award-winning conductor Frank Albinder.

A Celebrity-Studded Film Festival

The year came to a close in grand style with the 2016 Virginia Film Festival, featuring appearances from stars like Shirley MacLaine, Werner Herzog, Colin Firth, Liv Ullman and Danny McBride.

The festival showcased several films likely to feature heavily on the 2017 awards circuit, including “Loving,” a true story of a Virginia couple’s fight for their interracial marriage, shot entirely in Virginia, and “La La Land,” a modern-day musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.