The Faculty Research Grants for the Arts provides funding for an annual collaborative public art project. This grant is open to teams composed of any combination of UVA faculty and students, and could take the form of performance or exhibition through visual art, music, dance, drama, media arts, or multi-disciplinary arts. It is also meant to highlight faculty research and to encourage the creation of new work that engages a University-wide audience.


PROJECT TITLE: Transient Landscapes: A Virtual Reality Experience and Performance-Based Installation


  • Matthew Burtner | Department of Music, composer/sound technology
  • Mona Kasra | Department of Drama, visual art/media technology
  • Matthew McLendon | Fralin Museum of Art, director & curator
  • I-Jen Fang | Department of Music, percussion
  • Daniel Sender | Department of Music, violin
  • With students from Ecoacoustics (MUSI 3400), New Music Ensemble (MUEN 3680), Percussion Ensemble (MUEN 3630), Chamber Music (MUEN 3630), Performance Concentration (MUPF 3950 and 4950), MICE (MUEN 2650)
  • With external collaborators, Matthew Duvall (instrument design) and Eighth Blackbird (chamber
    music ensemble)

Transient Landscapes is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project exploring the experiential affordances of new immersive technologies for creative practice alongside a performance-based installation. We explore artistic abstraction of scale in conjunction with real-world issues of landscape disruption in the Anthropocene, creating a novel performance-based and audience interactive artwork for the museum. The experience surrounds the real physical space of the audience with several transient landscapes and it allows experiencers to further tunnel into virtual reality immersive spaces exploring myriad poetic representations of beauty, stillness, change, and disappearance within an audio/visual experience. Additionally, the VR/360 environment features microscopic and macroscopic processes, scales of time and space that are typically outside of human perception. In this way, we challenge experiencers to imagine themselves as nodes of agency in an interconnected and globally emergent network that is reshaping the real-world environment.

2018-2019 (2 Grants Awarded)

PROJECT TITLE: Black Voices, Black Fire at UVA


  • Kevin Jerome Everson | Department of Art (Duties: Co-Director of film project)
  • Claudrena N. Harold | Department of History and Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies (Duties: Co-Director of film project)
Hampton Dirs. Kevin Jerome Everson & Claudrena N. Harold 7 mins., United States, 2019 Hampton features the University of Virginia gospel choir, Black Voices, returning from a triumphant concert in Hampton Roads.
Dirs. Kevin Jerome Everson & Claudrena N. Harold
7 mins., United States, 2019
Hampton features the University of Virginia gospel choir, Black Voices, returning from a triumphant concert in Hampton Roads.

We submit this proposal for funding for Black Voices, a film project that will examine the artistry of one of the institutional anchors of the African American community at the University of Virginia: Black Voices Gospel Choir (BV).

Set in late 1970s Charlottesville, Virginia and based on a true story, the film follows Black Voices as it prepares for a concert in Hampton Roads, embarks on a bus ride to the concert venue, and then returns to Grounds after a triumphant performance.  The film seeks to capture the wide range of processes, relationships, emotions, and formal gestures operating in African American gospel music. It also aims to convey the deep cultural meanings sacred music hold for people of African descent in America.

The script for Black Voices draws inspiration from what we call the gospel aesthetic, as well as interviews of two African American alumni: Chavis Harris, a charter member of Black Voices, and the late Debra Saunders-White, the former president of North Carolina Central who attended UVA between 1975 and 1979.  In their interviews (interspersed throughout the film through scripted performance), Harris and Saunders-White detail the centrality of Black Voices in helping them navigate the challenges at the University.  In explaining why he and his colleagues selected Black Voices as the choir’s name, Harris pointed to the cultural ethos of the Black Power era, as well as the political atmosphere of UVA. He noted: “There were times, like if you were walking on the grounds at night and you were an African American male, and if you were studying and decided to take a break and take a jog like students do all the time, you were probably going to get followed by the university police and stopped.” Such encounters intensified Harris’ and other black students’ desire for institutional spaces that would not simply challenge white racism, but also affirm their humanity.  In many ways, Black Voices was such a space not just for those in the choir, but also those students who appreciated gospel as an art form. This was the case for Saunders-White, who conveyed to us the story of the bus trip to Hampton, explaining that the University’s decision to allow the choir to use one of its buses was the first time she felt as if she actually “belonged” to the University.

Project’s Learning Objectives

In focusing on Black Voices, we would like to draw attention to a larger development in U.S. religious and music history.  Across the nation, from Indiana University to the University of Virginia, African American students integrating predominantly white colleges and universities during the late 1960s and early 1970s formed gospel choirs as a way to advance the art form of gospel music, maintain certain cultural traditions, and strengthen themselves spiritually. The names of these choirs ranged from Black Voices to Black Awakening (Virginia Commonwealth University).  These ensembles performed spirituals, traditional hymns, as well as the latest hits from the most popular gospel choirs and artists of the day. Our film will include some of this music.

Though typically viewed in isolation from the larger world of African American cultural politics, the historical significance of choirs like Black Voices cannot be fully understood without considering the work of other black artists and writers engaged in the process of reevaluating and redefining the meaning of black sacred music and its place in the black freedom struggle. In many ways, African American students’ sacred endeavors complemented the intellectual pursuits of scholars like Horace Boyer, James Cone, and Pearl Williams-Jones. These scholars viewed gospel music as an integral component of African Americans’ ongoing quest for self-definition in a nation that routinely denied their humanity.[1]   Williams-Jones, in particular, led the way in challenging writers to consider seriously the religious music of African Americans in their discussions on the black aesthetic. “If a basic theoretical concept of a black aesthetic can be drawn from the history of the black experience in America, the crystallization of this concept is embodied in Afro-American gospel music.”[2]  No longer, she maintained, could black arts writers concern themselves solely with secular forms of black cultural expression.  “In order to establish a black aesthetic definition as applied to black art forms, the implications of the black gospel church and the music associated with it should be brought into focus.”[3] Echoes of Jones’ arguments appear in the works of several black cultural artists, from Cannonball Adderley (“Country Preacher” and “Walk Tall”) to Donald Byrd (“Pentecostal Feeling” and “Cristo Redentor”) to poet Nikki Giovanni, who celebrated the black church as a “great archive of black music.”

As we have done in all of our film projects, we hope to capture the how local and national histories are intertwined. We also hope to provide additional opportunities for our students to hone their artistic gifts and craft, work collaboratively with colleagues across Grounds, and contribute to the retelling of this University’s rich history. This project will include students from Professor Everson’s cinematography classes as well as students from Professor Harold’s Black Fire and From Motown to Hip-Hop: The Evolution of African American Music courses.  We will also have participation from members of Black Voices. We anticipate the involvement of about 50 students.

We envision Black Voices as building on our previous work, which includes Sugarcoated Arsenic, We Demand, Fastest Man in the State, 70 kg, and How Can I Ever Be Late.

[1] See Horace Boyer, “An Overview: Gospel Music Comes of Age,” Black World 23 (November 1973): 42-48, 79-86; James H. Cone, The Spirituals and the Blues (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1972).
[2] Pearl Williams-Jones, “Afro-American Gospel Music: A Crystallization of the Black Aesthetic,” Ethnomusicology 19, no. 3 (September 1975): 373.
[3] Jones, “Afro-American Gospel Music,” 374.


PROJECT TITLE: Audio Drama Podcast Series 


  • Doug Grissom | Associate Professor, Playwriting, UVA Drama
  • Colleen Kelly | Chair, Professor & Director, M.F.A. Acting Program, UVA Drama
  • Nathan Moore | General Manager, WTJU
  • Lewis Reining | Producer & Content DirectoR, WTJU


Voice actors recording The Perfectly Circular Rock at WTJUAmerica is undergoing an audio storytelling resurgence, and it has been a long time coming. American radio drama peaked in the early 20th century, until television became ubiquitous and drew audiences away from radio fiction. But the innovation of the podcast has opened up audio storytelling to new creators pursuing new forms to reach new audiences. Commercial podcast networks like Audible are investing millions of dollars in new audio dramas, but the form has not made its way to academic settings yet.

A decade into this renaissance, audio drama podcasts have drawn in a new generation to vital, engaging storytelling – even while still developing as a form. In the contemporary podcast landscape, genre fiction has been strongly represented, partly thanks to the lasting influence of the famous radio dramas like Orson Welles’s “The War of the Worlds.” Meta story structures have also proven popular – particularly audio dramas like “Welcome to Nightvale,” “Limetown,” and others that borrow elements from actual public radio shows and podcasts like “Serial.”

As the form of audio drama continues to emerge and develop, UVA’s Drama department and WTJU Radio are undertaking an innovative academic partnership to produce a new audio drama podcast series. This project will culminate in an anthology series of audio dramas that explore storytelling forms with sound. Like other forms of dramatic presentation, this series will consist of stories well told, engaging audiences emotionally and intellectually. With an anthology format, the series will be able to experiment with elastic storytelling across a varied palette of styles and stories. Combining creative expression, academic rigor, and the practical experience of audio storytelling, we will contribute to defining the emerging form of audio drama.

This audio drama podcast series will be produced by Doug Grissom (Drama), Lewis Reining (WTJU), MFA and upper division Undergraduate students in Drama, and members of WTJU’s podcast network Colleen Kelly, Drama Chair, is in support of this proposal and has committed MFA and upper division Undergraduate students in Drama to serve as writers and talent for the podcasts. It will result in an anthology series of 12-18 episodes that are written, acted, produced, distributed, and marketed from the University of Virginia.

In Summer 2018, Prof. Grissom and WTJU staff will develop broad unifying themes around which playwrights will draft 12-18 standalone episode scripts. These themes will loosely tie together the otherwise standalone episodes. Prof. Grissom will develop an independent study for Fall 2018 centered around audio playwriting and a 3-credit course in Spring 2019 centered around directing, producing, acting, and distributing this series of podcasts.

During the Fall 2018 independent study, students will gain real-world experience in scriptwriting for this emerging medium. Students in the Spring 2019 course will undertake a tremendous curricular experience culminating in a tangible, widely distributed dramatic production. With dedicated staff support from WTJU, this class will carry out all steps of the production process, working as directors, producers, actors, sound designers, technologists, and playwrights.

As part of this course, the Drama department and WTJU will invite three visiting artists to the University – specialists in audio scriptwriting, voice work, and sound design. This course will provide students with an especially unique opportunity to engage deeply in writing for sound and creative sound design for the podcast medium.

As the Spring 2019 semester wraps up, the Drama department and WTJU will organize a public event to celebrate the series launch and introduce the podcast to a local audience. The event will feature a live performance of one of the episodes. WTJU and its podcast network will publish and promote this raft of compelling audio drama episodes into the real world podcast marketplace (iTunes, Stitcher, etc). In consultation with the Drama department, WTJU will carry out a full marketing campaign for this podcast. Marketing activities will include:

  • Create a website for the podcast with a domain to anchor its brand.
  • Write and circulate a press release to University and local media, national media via PRWeb,
  • and academic, Drama-related, and public media trade journals.
  • Pay for initial advertising on Google Adwords, Reddit Ads, and Facebook Ads.
  • Create robust, keyword-rich show notes for each episode.
  • Commission and use eye-catching logo/background art.
  • Identify culture writers at various publications writing about fiction podcasts and send them targeted solicitations.
  • Create and build out various social media accounts for the podcast.
  • Post short videos showing recording sessions and other behind-the-scenes production of the podcast
  • Produce promotional swag and run a giveaway contest, which listeners can enter by leaving a review on iTunes.

UVA’s Drama department and WTJU Radio are well-positioned to be a leader in this creative space, and support from the University of Virginia enables this pioneering collaboration. Very few higher education institutions have produced any audio dramas, and none have at this scale and commitment. Through this grant, WTJU and Drama look forward to enriching the culture of Virginia, providing a high impact student experience, and creating a lasting impact for audiences.



PROJECT TITLE: #UnseenCville More>


  • Carmenita Higginbotham | Associate Professor of Art History
  • Justin Reid | Director of African American Programs at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • Maggie Guggenheimer | Director of External Relations for Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • Kevin Jerome Everson | Professor of Art
  • George Sampson | Arts Administration
  • Jane Kulow | Director of Virginia Center for the Book and Program Director for the Virginia Festival of the Book
  • Sarah Lawson | Assistant Director of Virginia Center for the Book

“Society must accept some things as real; but he must always know that visible reality hides a deeper one, and that all our action and achievement rest on things unseen.”
– James Baldwin, The Creative Process (1962)

From Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, to National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, contemporary black artists are returning to the life and work of James Baldwin for inspiration. Thirty years after his death, this new generation is living out Baldwin’s charge: that artists be “the incorrigible disturber of the peace,” challenging audiences to critically examine themselves and their existence in various systems and spaces. Things Unseen seeks to creatively engage University of Virginia students in this ongoing and consequential movement.

In the City of Charlottesville and on Grounds at the University of Virginia, a critical reexamination of monuments, memorials, historic sites and buildings is currently underway. Through this proposed project, students will join this effort by reinterpreting their local physical landscape artistically, by using the words and writings of a collection of African American writers.

Things Unseen reflects a significant partnership between two University entities, the McIntire Department of Art and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH). Through community programs, scholarship, and digital initiatives, VFH seeks to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. Since its founding in 1974, VFH has been especially committed to sharing and centering the “untold” stories of underrepresented and marginalized populations, with a particular focus on African American, native, and immigrant communities.

This project is a collaboration between visual art communities at UVa (Art History, Arts Administration and Studio Art), and the broader Charlottesville area (VFH and the Festival of the Book). It will result in a series of public art installations co-created by students and faculty in Spring 2018. Working with Justin Reid (African American Programs at VFH), and Professor Carmenita Higginbotham (Art History and American Studies), George Sampson and Maggie Guggenheimer (Arts Administration) and Kevin Everson (Studio Art), teams of students will identify various sites specific to African American history in the city or Charlottesville, including at the University and its Arts Grounds. The students will curate excerpts from the writings of contemporary African American artists and cultural figures, mining these works for passages or quotes that provide complicating nuance and context to each of the selected sites. Students then will artistically render these quotes by converting the words of these African American figures into stencils, and then power-wash the texts into concrete surfaces (sidewalks, stairways, etc.) adjacent to the sites.

Student participants will be drawn from a new course offered by Professor Carmenita Higginbotham titled Race, Space, and Public Art and cross-listed in both Art History and American Studies that will examine the physical, social, and visual transformation of public space by large-scale works and art installations. This semester-long course (Sping 2018) students will learn about intellectual and methodological frameworks for understanding the political nature of public art in the United States. In the class, students will conduct primary research, tour sites in the local area, and gather key textual material pertinent to Charlottesville’s racial history. Students working in Arts Administration, overseen by George Sampson and Maggie Guggenheimer, will provide necessary planning and promotional support for the project. As a precursor to Professor Higginbotham’s spring course, Maggie Guggenheimer’s Arts Marketing: Theory and Practice (Fall 2017) students will assist in charting spaces significant to the history of Charlottesville and the University in consultation with VFH director of African American Programs Justin Reid, and develop a marketing plan for the project.

This builds upon recommendations from second-year graduate students at the VCU Brandcenter, suggesting that VFH reach new audiences by taking humanities content directly to public spaces through power washing installations. As a bridge between this recommendation and the spring course project implementation, the arts administration students will learn about public art project design, community partnership planning, and project marketing.

The arts marketing students will be invited to continue participating in Things Unseen in partnership with Professor Higginbotham’s students, who will implement the stenciling of quotes at 5-10 public sites on and off Grounds under the supervision of Higginbotham and Reid. Additional community volunteers will be recruited from VFH’s Virginia Arts of the Book Center (VABC), a community of artists exploring books and printmaking. VABC artists have considerable experience with commercial printing and can advise on technical components of the installation. During installation, students from Professor Kevin Everson’s filmmaking program will document the power-washing process through film. As Everson’s students create an archive of this new form of ephemeral public art, their films will link discussions about African Americans, space and history in the greater Charlottesville area.

To connect this project with a broad, public audience, Things Unseen will also coincide with VFH’s 2018 Virginia Festival of the Book, the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Festival will be held March 21-25, 2018, in various venues at UVA, including Culbreth Theater, and throughout Charlottesville. During the five-day festival, University students, faculty, staff, visitors, and community members will have the opportunity to meet and hear from one or more writers featured in the Things Unseen project. It is our hope that author Jesmyn Ward, or any of the eighteen black writers and poets featured in The Fire This Time, will be a presenting author at the 2018 Festival. Student contributors to the Things Unseen project will also be involved in a Festival program that will ideally include a public screening of the film made by Everson’s students. Finally, the Festival’s audience of more than 20,000 will be able to visit the power-washed sites and begin to learn and explore the “unseen” things that shape our collective consciousness and identity.

The learning outcomes for this project are both intellectual and practical. Students will combine classroom research with the physical process of art making as they actively reinterpret the physical landscape of the University and its local community, while analyzing and recontextualizing the words of leading black writers of the arts. Students will also learn about the history of the Charlottesville-University communities in which they live and contribute to greater understanding and involvement with these communities. Under the mentorship of University and VFH scholars, students will be exposed not only to the history and creative aspect of public art design, but also the business of marketing an artistic project while preparing documentation for future learning. Both aspects will allow students to gauge and measure success from the position of artist (as producer of cultural material) and administrator. An additional benefit afforded students will be learning how to present humanities content creatively to the public and deepening the significance of public art through active engagement with scholars and within ongoing community events.

In the latter months of the project there will be more flexibility in how the project’s work plan is structured. Specifically, there will be some fluidity in the composition of the students who will participate as newer students will be joining the project and students significant to its early planning will remain involved over the course of two academic semesters.

About Power Washing Stencils
Power washing stencils is a legal, environmentally friendly technique to make words and images visible on concrete. A stencil is laid on a dirty sidewalk (or similar area), and a power washer is used on top of the stencil to remove dirt where the stencil is cut. The result is a power-washed clean area displaying the stenciled word and image that shows up against the otherwise dirty ground. The image typically lasts for about three weeks and then naturally fades away. For a demonstration of this technique, visit:


PROJECT TITLE: (The) Other Lives


  • Mona Kasra | Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design, Drama
  • Peter Bussigel | Jefferson Teaching Resident in Interdisciplinary Arts

The word ‘lives’ in (The) Other Lives has a double meaning. Live means both to live or be alive and to be live as in performing live. New technologies urge us to reconsider both meanings. Internet technologies, social media platforms, and VR (Virtual Reality) headsets are not only changing who we are as humans, but also altering how we perform live on new performance stages—youtube, snapchat, IMAX, and videogames. New media art and performance is adept at exploring the intersections and overlap between these emerging modes of contemporaty liveness, combining the technological perspectives (A.I., virtual life, augmented life) and the cultural perspectives (community, poetics, entertainment).

This project navigates the space between these two lives—exploring how new and emerging technologies continue to (re)frame what it means to be and perform (a)live. Specifically, (The) Other Lives will explore the relationship between virtual and online performance (digital/mediated) and traditional performance (corporeal/embodied on stage). The focus will be on both the social and cultural implications of mediation, virtuality and new methods of connecting virtual and online performance with physical spaces.

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty members in Music and Drama and will result in a week-long performance installation in Spring of 2017. Led by Mona Kasra and Peter Bussigel, students from Video and Media Design (Drama) and Audiovisual Environments (Music) will spend the semester learning about digital and audiovisual technologies (sound, video, audiovisual programming, etc) and then come together to collaborate on interactive audiovisual projects. These experiments will provide the groundwork for a larger public piece, which will be co-created by faculty and students.

The learning outcomes for this project are both practical and theoretical. The performance installation will require research and hands on experimentation with projection mapping and digital performance techniques. Students will be exposed to both the affordances and frustrations of working with new technology.

On the theoretical side, the project will explore what it means to be (a)live and to perform live in the networked era. Along with the students, we aim to reimagine the possibilities of integrating Internet technologies, social media platforms, and virtual technologies into live performance, and to critically explore the 21st century notions of liveness and community. More importantly, we strive to enhance students’ understanding of the collaborative process by fostering a transformative learning space through interdisciplinary methods for teaching and practice.


Charlottesville Mall and Central Business District Master Plan, Lawrence Halprin & Associates, 1973.Halprin Collection, Penn Architectural Archive, University of PennsylvaniaCrowdsourced Cartography: Re-Envisioning the Halprins’ Legacy through Mapping and Movement

The history of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall is well documented and by most accounts the 1973 Master Plan by Lawrence Halprin and its centerpiece Downtown Mall have resulted in one of the nation’s most highly touted urban renewal success stories. Now, more than 40 years later, a special project at UVa, is looking deeper into the rest of the plan’s unfulfilled promise. The project specifically focuses on the area just south of the Downtown Mall including the Pollock’s Branch corridor and the Garrett Street neighborhood that was razed during the urban renewal process, an area of the city that is facing major changes yet again as the city looks towards redevelopment.

Crowdsourced Cartographies, following the legacy of Lawrence and Anna Halprin’s innovative public engagement processis an interdisciplinary public art and mapping project that will deploy hybrid techniques and theories of dance, photography, and landscape architecture in support of a series of community-based movement workshops, resulting in a crowd-sourced cultural landscape atlas. The mapping process will build on the traditional atlas model used to navigate and understand the world for centuries and expand the boundaries of traditional single-perspective cartography to include more embodied, place-based interpretations from multiple perspectives.

This project, one of many initiatives likely required to provide opportunities for local residents to have an impact on the practical outcomes of a future design process involving the future Pollock’s Branch Greenway, contributes an experience-based engagement practice through a variety of methods including visual art, kinesthetic awareness, interactive workshops, and live performance.

The project, in part supported by a Faculty Research Grant for the Arts from the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, brings together Beth Meyer, Dean of the School of Architecture and a noted expert on the history of the Downtown Mall and Lawrence Halprin’s design process; Katie Schetlick, a Lecturer in in the Dance Program within UVa’s Drama Department, whose choreographic work focuses on the politics of space; and Rob McGinnis, a Distinguished Fellow and Lecturer in the School of Architecture, who is a nationally recognized cultural landscape expert and landscape architect.

Image: Charlottesville Mall and Central Business District Master Plan,Lawrence Halprin & Associates, 1973.Halprin Collection, Penn Architectural Archive, University of Pennsylvania


Sound Cast of San Giorgio Maggiore Sound Cast of San Giorgio Maggiore
Expressions in Sonic Architecture from Palladio and Jefferson

A project by Matthew Burtner, Professor of Music & Anselmo Canfora, Associate Professor of Architecture

Situated between culture and nature, buildings respond to interactions with human and environmental energy. Elements of the built environment we associate with permanence actually change dynamically over time. They flex, shift and vibrate. Using special microphones and sensors we can listen to this material interactivity and recognize it as a latent form of musical expression. From the earth-bound foundation, to the walls and upper limits of the roof, soil, air, water and human activity in and around an edifice are alive with sounds. Like a giant acoustic instrument, performed by the environment, buildings sing. This project brings composers, architects, performers and historians together to explore the nuanced spatial ramifications of buildings as musical instruments. While exploring the interrelation between vibration and construction, we will design a new instrument for multichannel sound research, and we will create a new spatio-musical artwork examining phenomenological patterns rooted in the performance of materials. Our resulting artwork, Sound Cast of San Giorgio Maggiore, celebrates a unique connection between the buildings of Charlottesville and Venice through the architecture of Andrea Palladio and his disciple, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, like Palladio, understood sound and architecture as forces connected through harmonies. Just as he understood architecture as instrumental in creating the new nation, so Jefferson understood sound and music as a foundation of culture. As part of a larger exchange between Venice and Charlottesville, we will design a sonic cast of Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore and install it on Jefferson’s Lawn. Ancillary music historical research will investigate the music and soundscapes that fascinated both Jefferson and Palladio.

Matthew Burtner >
Anselmo Canfora >

More HereUVa Arts Magazine 

May Days: Crisis in ConfrontationMay Days: Crisis in Confrontation

A project by Kevin Everson, Professor, Department of Art & Claudrena N. Harold, Associate Professor, Department of History and Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.

A film project that tells the story of the anti-Vietnam War Movement from the perspective of James R. Roebuck, a northern-born African American who studied at the University of Virginia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Over a ten-day period of unprecedented student upheaval at the University, Roebuck, the first African American president of UVa’s Student Council, confronted a series of political challenges and existential dilemmas. This budding activist and future U.S. representative was the quintessential “militant insider” whose cool temperament and ideological flexibility proved quite useful as UVA appeared on the verge of imploding from within. His low tolerance for histrionics occasionally put him at odds with his white leftist friends, who frequently grew impatient with his judiciousness. And yet, Roebuck’s unwavering commitment to justice led him to principled positions in moments when others settled for political compromise. The political challenges and existential dilemmas confronted by James Roebuck during the ten-day crisis at UVA form the narrative center of this film project, May Days, which highlights one of the most turbulent periods in the history of not just the University of Virginia but the entire country.

Follow-up July 2015:  Thanks to support from the generous grant from the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, we were able to complete the filming of “We Demand,” a ten minute short which evolves around the antiwar activism of University of Virginia graduate student James Roebuck and his relationship with President Edgar Shannon. We have a rough draft of the film and are in the final stages of editing. We anticipate completing editing within the next few weeks and screening the film early fall. In addition to the film, we have original music from Courtney Bryan, a brilliant pianist who completed several versions of two compositions that dramatizes the political tensions on UVA grounds during May Day Crisis of 1970.

The film crew and cast consisted of students (most of whom are in Kevin Everson’s Cinematography courses), professors (Kevin Everson, Claudrena Harold, and Richard Warner (professor of drama who played Edgar Shannon), and outside artists. The filming took place between November 14-16, 2014 on and off the Grounds of the University of Virginia. Our locations on grounds included Carr’s Hill, as well as Lawn Room, West 50.

As was the case with Sugarcoated Arsenic, another film supported by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, it is our hope to submit the film to several film festivals.

UVa Arts Magazine 


Design-driven Manufacturing: Place and ProductDesign Driven Manufacturing: Place and Product

A project by Jeana Ripple, Assistant Professor of Architecture & Suzanne Moomaw, Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning.

Design Driven Manufacturing is a creative response to the need for more education in this area. Through collaborative courses, workshops and Web-based resources, the project will offer a new dimension to the creative economy, exposing students across the arts and design disciplines to timely research and critical needs in the local community and region.

 More Information  In the News 

Being in TimeBeing in Time: An Audio-Visual Composition for Wind Ensemble, with Real-time Control and Real-Time Ensemble Visualization

A project by Judith Shatin, Professor of Music Composition in the McIntire Department of Music and her team, including Ellen Bass, Associate professor of Systems and Information Engineering; William Pease, Associate Professor of Music and Director of U.Va. bands; David Topper, Technical Director for the Virginia Center for Computer Music; Joseph Adkins, a graduate student in Composition and Computing Technologies; Nathan Trantham, a master’s degree graduate in Systems Engineering; and Paul Turowski, a graduate student in Composition and Computing Technologies.

Being in Time will draw on the interdisciplinary strengths at the University in music and engineering to create a robust system that will use new technologies to enhance performance utilizing live and interactive audio-visual elements.

 More Information  In the News 

2012 – 2013

Black FireBlack Fire
A film project directed by College of Arts & Sciences professors Kevin Jerome Everson of the McIntire Department of Art and Claudrena N. Harold of the Corcoran Department of History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.

Through film, performance arts and a public exhibit, Black Fire will explore the complex history of the struggle for racial equality, social justice and cultural transformation at U.Va. between 1969 and 1985.

“This multidisciplinary project highlights how artists and scholars in the U.Va. creative community and beyond have relied upon, and continue to rely on, the arts to articulate new ideas about race, justice, community and the transformative potential of education in our modern world,” Elizabeth Hutton Turner, vice provost for the arts, said.

In addition to creating a documentary film, Black Fire will recreate the highly successful Black Culture Week, inaugurated in 1970 by the Black Students for Freedom, later known as the Black Student Alliance.

Black Fire Website 

The Stan Winston Arts Festival of The Moving Creature

A Project by the Fabrication Facilities of the Departments of Drama, Studio Art, and the School of Architecture
Fall 2012 – April 20, 2013

This Festival is directed by Steven Warner, Lecturer and Technical Director of the Department of Drama, Eric Schmidt, Studio and Gallery Technician of the McIntire Department of Art, and Melissa Goldman, the Fabrication Facilities Manager of the School of Architecture.

From giant urban mechanical puppets to wind-driven, beachcombing beasts to animatronic state-of-the-art movie monsters, moving creatures are a mix of joyful spectacle, precise engineering, fearless experimentation, and resourceful fabrication techniques. This interdisciplinary project will engage students from Architecture, Studio Art, and Drama in a yearlong collaborative workshop to research, to design, and to construct creatures that will come to life for The Stan Winston Arts Festival of the Moving Creature on April 20, 2013.

In the News   & Facebook