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Top 10 ways to explore the arts at U.Va.

Exploring art is not just for the humanities majors — it is necessary for all of us.

If you're looking for a way to explore art on Grounds, look no further than the Fralin Museum of Art.
If you're looking for a way to explore art on Grounds, look no further than the Fralin Museum of Art.

As the fall leaves trickle down by the dozen, talent at the University and in the Charlottesville community is in full bloom. It can be easy to become caught up in school work at this point in the semester, but taking time to engage with art reveals abundant beauty in the world around us and puts stress into perspective. If a drawing of a circuit or a graphic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the closest thing you have seen to art in the past few months, here are some ways to experience more natural art.

1. Stop by the Virginia Film Festival

From now until Sunday, head to the Paramount Theater to check out films from across the globe at the annual Virginia Film Festival. Here, you will explore new films, hear from both accomplished and up and coming film artists and come to understand film’s deep impact on society. Special guests include actress Chrissy Metz and University alum Katie Couric. Click here for the daily event schedules. Admission is free for University students, so catch a trolley and immerse yourself in the art of cinema.

2. Visit the Fralin Museum of Art

If you're looking for a way to explore art on Grounds, look no further than the Fralin Museum of Art. Spend an afternoon perusing thought-provoking exhibitions, like the “Joseph Cornell: Enclosing Infinity” exhibition or “Structures,” running until February 12 and June 1, 2024, respectively. Take in the details — the precision, time and effort that went into making these works a reality.

3. “Hello, Dolly!” — goodbye, dorm room 

Enjoy a riveting display of song and dance while supporting University students by seeing the First Year Players’ production of “Hello, Dolly!” Set to open this fall semester, “Hello, Dolly!” is a great chance to see the sheer talent that exists on Grounds, from acting and playing instruments to creating intricate set designs. Many students are involved in the First Year Players’ productions — you may just discover that the student who sits next to you in geology class plays the show’s leading role.

4. Attend a Charlottesville Symphony concert

Enjoy the crescendo of sound and emotion at a Charlottesville Symphony event. Composed of music faculty and students of various studies, the symphony is a fantastic way to see peers and professors in a whole light — the spotlight. Take a seat and feel the passion and purpose behind every note.

5. Walk through the University Chapel

The Chapel is a quiet little gem of beauty on Grounds. No matter your faith or beliefs, taking a few moments to peer inside will leave you in awe of the intricacies of seventeenth century art. My first experience inside the Chapel was for an STS 1500 assignment, and I was struck by the architectural choices and stained glass design incorporated into this place of reflection.

6. Mozy around the Downtown Mall

The Downtown Mall is a place of immense life and spirit. Whether you are there to grab a bite or to catch a movie, keep your ears perked for music along your travels. There often seems to be music emanating from the center of the mall, so take a moment to stop and see what all the fuss is about. Just a few weeks ago I saw a father and daughter playing violin and accordion to toe-tapping Italian music in incredible harmony. There is always something musical happening at the Downtown Mall — go find it.

7. Catch a concert

There is always a music group performing on or around Grounds, from local bands to well-known global artists. In your ventures to the Downtown Mall, see who is playing at The Jefferson Theater or The Southern, two popular concert venues in town. I myself am very excited to see Journey perform with Toto soon after arriving back from winter break at JPJ.

8. See what is happening in the drama department 

If you missed the production of “Sense and Sensibility” last weekend, have no fear. The University’s drama department has an exciting lineup for this school year, with the fall dance concert and student-directed plays being the next events to come. Explore the talent that lies right here on Grounds — you will be treating yourself in the process.

9. Enjoy some a cappella or dance

After the a cappella groups pulled out all the stops for Family Weekend, we can expect more great entertainment to come — starting with the Flying V’s “rockappella” special Nov 4 at 8 p.m. in the University Chapel. Keep an eye out for their winter and spring concert dates and let their riffs fill you with good vibes. Some beats might get you in the dancing groove, so swing by the Ballroom Dance Club’s Winter Showcase this December. Let the rhythm lift your spirits.

10. Wander the Rotunda

The Rotunda is the central hub of Grounds, but how often do we actually take the time to explore it? Originally intended to be the University’s library, the Rotunda is a neoclassical architectural wonder, with intricate capital designs and strong influences from the Roman Pantheon, that all students ought to immerse themselves in. When you have some free time, head into the Rotunda and just look around — the connection between art and history will inspire you.


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