Dancing skeletons, spooky pumpkins, bubbling cauldrons and a haunted house will all make appearances on the exterior of University of Virginia’s Rotunda this weekend in celebration of Halloween this year.
The projection mapping show, a type of art installation, will be on view Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 11 p.m. The display will take place on the University Avenue side of the Rotunda and is open to the public.
Three vignettes accompanied by haunting music will cycle over the outside of the centerpiece of the University, transforming the iconic building into a massive movie screen.
The roughly 90-second mini-shows will transform the Rotunda into a graveyard with jolly, dancing skeletons, a haunted house and an animated Halloween music box, with a rising moon and rotating, ghoulish pumpkins, caldrons and purple skulls.
This will be the first time the Rotunda is used for a Halloween-themed show, but not the first time it has been the backdrop for projection mapping. Charlottesville artist Jeff Dobrow has put on several such art installations at UVA, including a series called “Brighter Together,” held from March to May this year, to provide an outdoor source of joy and art during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new project continues Dobrow’s partnership with the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts and the Division of Student Affairs.
This weekend’s outdoor show offers members of the UVA and local communities a free, fun way to experience art and celebrate Halloween while remaining safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Great Rotumpkin” show is one new way to celebrate Halloween this year, after the University canceled the annual Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn event to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19.
Stay tuned to President Jim Ryan’s social media accounts Friday morning for details about a spooky new virtual Halloween costume contest he is putting on in coordination with UVA’s Lawn residents.
UVA students can also get in the Halloween spirit by joining one or both events being put on by the University Programs Council. “Mortals vs. Monsters,” a haunted laser tag game, takes place Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Slaughter Recreation Center. Later that day, students can also attend a screening of the 1978 John Carpenter classic horror film, “Halloween,” in Newcomb Theater at 7:30 p.m., where there will be free popcorn and candy.