2014 Gregory Lecture brings Lincoln scholar to UGA

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Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, whose 2010 book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery received the Pulitzer Prize for History, will deliver the 2014 Gregory Distinguished Lecture.

Foner's lecture, drawn from a forthcoming book on the subject, is "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad." The lecture will take place Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium at the Georgia Museum of Art. It is open free to the public.

One of only two people to serve as president of the three major professional organizations—the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society of American Historians—Foner is one of the few historians to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes in the same year.

We are indebted to Amanda and Greg Gregory for their longtime support of the Franklin College and the department of history. This annual lecture, one of UGA's Signature events of the year, is not to be missed. Come to the museum and engage with one of the nation's great scholar-authors, Eric Foner.

University Theatre present 'The Great Gatsby'

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Great-Gatsby.jpgOne of the blog's favorite American novels and fictional protagonists comes to the Fine Arts Theatre beginning November 6:

University Theatre at the University of Georgia will present "The Great Gatsby," adapted for the stage by Simon Levy from F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel and directed by T. Anthony Marotta, on Nov. 6-8 and 12-14 at 8 p.m. with matinee performances Nov. 9 and 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Additional events surrounding this Spotlight on the Arts feature include a small opening night reception Nov. 6, "A Party with Gatsby" Nov. 7 and a special matinee for area high school groups Nov. 11.

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When Fitzgerald published the novel in 1925, "it was written about and gifted to a generation that, for the first time in America's history, was under the spell of the media," Marotta explained. "Americans were suddenly being supplied with a stream of images depicting how the ‘haves' look and live. We, mostly the ‘have-nots', have been watching closely ever since.

"While the era may look different and seem far away, we have much in common with people in this play, and the expectations they project onto the American Dream."

To make the connection between the past and the present, Marotta's team is creating an immersive experience in which audience members will be offered the option to receive text messages that supplement the action onstage during the performance. There will be a "phone-free" area for patrons that wish to opt out of this supplementary feature of the production.

Spotlight on the Arts, and how. This wonderfully ambitious production will be one of the great highlights not just of this year's festival but of the academic year. Good luck to our students and faculty. Let's come out and enjoy this great effort. Tickets here.

Graduate Acting Ensemble: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

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Danny.pngThe Graduate Acting Ensemble in the department of theatre and film studies will present a two-night engagement Oct. 21-22 in the Cellar Theatre of the Fine Arts Building - Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley:

A violent maniac and a neglectful mother walk into a bar, but the only punch lines are the scars they carry with them. Danny wants to fight his way out of this vicious world, and Roberta wants punishment for her awful life choices. When they cross paths one night in a dingy Bronx bar, they might be each other's last hope for redemption.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. The production contains adult content and themes, so discretion is advised. The Graduate Acting Ensemble is comprised of MFA students in the department and advised by professor Ray Paolino.

'State of the Art' exhibition includes UGA professor, alumni

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crystal-bridges.jpgImagine you're a major research university, with aspirations for rising in the ranks. Everything from your endowment to annual extramural funding dollars can be included in quantifiable metrics you use to measure your progress. But there are other aspects of your impact that can be more difficult to quantify. For example, how good is the history department? How strong is your art school? Clear metrics on those endeavors rarely pop up, but when they do, as in a survey of contemporary artists in a national exhibition, we should take notice:

A national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is highlighting the work of two alumni and one faculty member from the University of Georgia's Lamar Dodd School of Art.

"State of the Art : Discovering American Art Now," on view through Jan. 19, features more than 100 American artists selected as the result of over 1,000 studio visits by Crystal Bridges curators who traveled the country seeking to discover artists whose work had not yet been recognized nationally.

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"A large national exhibition featuring 100 prominent working American artists today provides a terrific survey of the creativity and inventiveness from across the country," said Chris Garvin, director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. "To have three artists and one curator affiliated with UGA as part of this exhibition is a great distinction that places us at the forefront of artistic practice in the United States."

Just so, professor Garvin. What Crystal Bridges is attempting to do is very ambitious - create a national museum of international renown, deep in the heart of Arkansas - but what our art school is doing is no less ambitious. A very important constituent part of the learning environment in a major research university, a thriving art school would be missing if we didn't have one. But we do. 

Spotlight on the Arts: Opera Theatre

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2014 spotlight.jpgWe'll be highlighting a few of the upcoming Spotlight on the Arts events, and first but not least is the UGA Opera Theatre production of 'Hansel and Gretel':

 University of Georgia Opera Theatre will present "Hansel and Gretel" in a three-night engagement Nov. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall.

The performance, part of both the UGA Spotlight on the Arts Festival and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music's 2nd Thursday Scholarship Concert Series, also features the Georgia Children's Chorus, dance department and UGA Symphony Orchestra, conducted by professor Mark Cedel.

The quasi-children's opera is the best-known work of 19th century German composer Engelbert Humperdinck.

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UGA's production of the opera will be sung in English, using a libretto unique to the performance that draws upon several translations. Presented as a fully-staged concert production, the opera features Marisan Corsino as Hansel, Elisabeth Slaten as Gretel, Chalis Montgomery in the dual role of the mother and witch, Isaiah Feken as the father and Alexis Minogue as the Sandman and Dew Fairy, two spirits encountered by the children in the forest.

"Beyond beautiful singing, musical elements, melodies and an understanding of the text, I find the most important element in any opera to be the relationships between characters," Burchinal said. "You can dress things up in all manner of fantastic settings, but the characters' interaction is at the heart of whether or not we believe what is happening in the opera. The goal is to always find a way to create reality onstage."

That's what the spotlight is for - live performance on a stage, with music, costumes, singers and musicians. All with a great story. Come out and support our students and faculty in the Opera Theatre. It's a great experience, with extraordinarily skilled performers in a friendly environment. Step into the Spotlight. #UGASpotlight