UK Fine Arts returns with wealth of dance, music, theatre, visual arts events this fall

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2022)  After a few seasons impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts is excited to return this fall with a wealth of arts events. UK’s music, dance, theatre and visual artists all have offerings on tap sure to thrill arts enthusiasts of all kinds.

As part of the College of Fine Arts, the Department of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Visual Studies and School of Music will join the UK Art Museum in presenting a diverse selection of concerts, exhibits, theatre and dance programming. Here’s a sample of what you should look forward to in the coming year, including “Faculty Series: Vol. 5” showcasing the work of a select of UK art faculty opening today at Bolivar Art Gallery.


The Department of Theatre and Dance announces a 2022-23 Main Stage Season featuring classics with a contemporary spin, several regional premieres and the annual dance concert with works by faculty and student artists.

“These productions spotlight the fantastic diversity of talent within our students, faculty and staff. There is a poignant mix of drama, dance, laughter, satire and serious discussion about the world we live in and, perhaps, the one we aspire toward,” said Stephen Wrentmore, lecturer and season producer for UK Theatre and Dance.

The following five productions will be presented as part of this year’s Main Stage Season:

For more information on each show and specific times and dates, visit UK Theatre and Dance online at

Tickets to all of UK Theatre and Dance’s Main Stage shows are available now through the Singletary Center for the Arts Box Office at or by calling 859-257-4929. Student tickets are $10 with a valid student ID and $15 for the general public, except for “Shakespeare in Love,” which is $15 with a valid student ID and $20 for the general public.


UK faculty are in the spotlight as the UK School of Art and Visual Studies (SA/VS) presents its first exhibition of the year. “Faculty Series: Vol. V,” which is free and open to the public, opens today, Sept. 1, and will run through Oct. 1, at Bolivar Art Gallery.

The “Faculty Series” occurs annually and showcases only a portion of the faculty, with different artists exhibiting each year. This installment includes work in a variety of media including photography, sculpture, painting, installation and mixed media from Becky Alley, Ivy Johnson Fleming, Crystal Gregory (with collaborator Alexa Williams), Jonathan McFadden, John Harlan Norris, James Robert Southard and David Wischer. An opening reception for “Faculty Series: V” will be held 4:30-6:30 p.m. today. In addition, the UK SA/VS faculty will present two gallery talks in association with the show noon Friday, Sept. 2, and noon Friday, Sept. 23, at Bolivar Art Gallery. The reception and gallery talks are free and open to the public.

Each year, SA/VS hosts a series of free, public talks with scholars and artists concerned with contemporary visual culture. The Fall 2022 Visiting Artist Series features lectures, exhibitions and workshops. This fall’s artists and presentations for the Visiting Artist Series below:

  • Daniel Gordon, an artist who mixes collage, sculpture and photography, 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, on Zoom;
  • Natalia Ivanova, a cultural organizer, curator and author, 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19, Room 217 of the Art and Visual Studies Building;
  • Katina Bitsicas, a new media artist, noon Friday, Oct. 7, Bolivar Art Gallery;
  • Shenequa Brooks, an Afro-Caribbean multidisciplinary artist 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, Bolivar Art Gallery;
  • Akihiko Miyoshi, a Japanese photography and digital media artist, 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, Bolivar Art Gallery;
  • Katrina Coombs, a Jamaican fiber and textile artist, 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on Zoom;
  • Rebecca Drolen, a photographer and educator, 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Photo Classroom in the Art and Visual Studies Building;
  • Etienne Jackson, sculptor, wood worker and metal fabricator, noon Friday, Oct. 28, Bolivar Art Gallery; and
  • Christy Matson, textile artist, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, Zoom.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

UK’s most popular student exhibition — the Carey Ellis Juried Student Show — will return this holiday season. The show, held in conjunction with the DMD (digital media design) Senior Exhibition, will run Dec. 2-10, at Bolivar Art Gallery. An opening reception for the shows will be held 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. The shows and reception are free and open to the public.

For more information on specific exhibitions and a list of these and other future events and exhibitions at Bolivar Art Gallery, visit


With a large selection of recitals, concerts and operas each year, UK’s School of Music alone could fill your weekly calendar with a rich selection of music offerings that range from the classical to the contemporary.

Beginning this Friday, “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series celebrating old-time roots of American folk music returns. There will be 12 different performances by noted soloists, duos and groups from Appalachia sponsored by the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and the UK College of Fine Arts. 

This year’s “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” artists and their performance dates are: 

“Appalachia in the Bluegrass” free public concerts will be presented at noon on Fridays, in the Niles Gallery of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, located at UK’s Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library

UK music students and faculty will return to the Singletary Center for the Arts stage as UK Bands presents the George Boulden III Memorial Concert beginning 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. UK Wind Symphony and UK Symphony Band will present a concert in memory of the late Professor George R. Boulden III (1961-2022), associate director of Bands at the University of Kentucky from 1995-2022, and director of the UK Wildcat Marching Band from 1995-2008. 

Several UK ensembles opening season concerts will follow, including the UK Jazz Ensemble and Lab Band Concert on Sept. 29 and the UK Chorale and UK Choristers Concert on Oct. 18.

This fall, the school’s critically acclaimed UK Opera Theatre program will make its return to the Lexington Opera House with its production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” The celebrated opera will take the stage Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Tickets for this production are available through the Lexington Opera House ticket office online at For information on other opera productions in the coming school year, including 2023’s “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” visit

Now in its 104th year, UK Symphony Orchestra has slated its concerts for the fall opening with Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” and Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. Other concerts will follow Oct. 28 and Dec. 1. All UK Symphony Orchestra concerts will be presented in Singletary Center. Additional concert program details and times will be posted here as it becomes available:

These concerts are just a sampling of what the more than 25 UK School of Music ensembles will present this fall. And mark your calendars now for UK Choirs‘ beloved holiday concert “Collage” on Dec. 3-4.

For more information on ticket prices for UK School of Music major ensemble concerts visit the UK School of Music website at and Singletary Center’s website at

To see a full listing of all UK School of Music concerts, recitals and master classes, visit


For visual arts lovers, the UK Art Museum will spotlight several public exhibitions this fall, alongside smaller shows featuring work from the museum’s own collection. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.  

In July, the museum opened the “Mortal Coil: James “Son Ford” Thomas & David Farris” and “The Life and Death of Charles Williams” exhibitions, which run through Nov. 26.

“Mortal Coil” brings together two accomplished musicians whose unique visual art focuses on the human body. James “Son Ford” Thomas (1926-1993) grew up in Mississippi and learned to play blues guitar by listening to the radio. His job as a gravedigger had a profound effect on his clay sculptures of animals, portrait busts and skulls, often adorned with teeth, hair, beads and foil. David Farris is a Lexington-based drummer and member of several local bands. He maintains an active drawing practice, altering newspaper images of sporting events with ink and filling notebooks with line drawings and animation sequences.

Charles Williams (1942-1998) was born in Blue Diamond, Kentucky, and as a child, he taught himself to draw by copying comic book figures like Superman, Dick Tracy and Captain Marvel. In the early 1960s, he enrolled at the Breckinridge Job Corps Center in Morganfield to learn practical job skills. There, he honed his writing proficiency, made photographs and developed his first regular comic strip, titled “JC of the Job Corps,” which appeared weekly on the back page of the Breckinridge Bugle — the camp newspaper. He continued to work on his art skills through his time as a janitor at IBM where he used scraps to create sculptural pencil holders, as well as his own elaborate yard show at home. Williams worked avidly until his untimely death in 1998, the result of AIDS-related complications and starvation. A few months later, an organization called A Moveable Feast Lexington was founded in his honor and tasked itself with providing hot meals to people living with HIV/AIDS in the region.

UK Art Museum’s other fall exhibitions, which opened Aug. 23, include “Rauschenberg: A Gift in Your Pocket from the Collections of Friends in Honor of Bradley Jeffries,” “Marlene McCarty: Thicker than Water,” “Louis Zoellar Bickett: Wrapped and Waxed” and “re:museum.” These four shows run through Jan. 7, 2023.   

“RAUSCHENBERG: A Gift in Your Pocket from the Collections of Friends in Honor of Bradley Jeffries,” highlights the work of Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), one of the 20th century’s most significant artists, who worked in media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and performance. His inclusive practice spanned six decades, during which he combined traditional art materials with ordinary objects from the urban and beachfront environments in which he lived. He cultivated new techniques that served his conceptual and aesthetic goals, and collaborated with scientists, technicians and various assistants.  

“Marlene McCarty: Thicker than Water” raises questions about memory, legacy, and the complex space that exists between nature and nurture. This show is the first time the Kentucky artist is exhibiting in her hometown. McCarty is known for her drawings that examine aspects of sexuality, articulation of power and social formation. Using graphite, ballpoint pen and occasionally watercolor, she has made composite portraits of teenage female murderers, as well as humans interacting with other primates. Informed by research, media images and historical data, her works are often unsettling and explicit, deriving their power from the combination of provocative content, monumental scale, delicacy of line and subtle shading.

“Louis Zoellar Bickett: Wrapped and Waxed” features works by the late Lexington artist — shrouded in fabric and painted or sealed in red wax — that are simultaneously elegant, eccentric and mournful. Bickett (1950-2017) was known for his rigorous practice of collecting and cataloging items from his daily life to form a vast archive whose purpose was to chronicle life in real time. Accumulated photographs, receipts, articles of clothing, books, toys, furniture and bodily fluids were preserved, tagged, and situated throughout Bickett’s home and studio. They collectively formed a portrait of the artist and his consistent subjects — religion, sexuality, family, place and time.

The exhibition “re:museum” centers UK Art Museum’s permanent collection and the museum itself through artworks, educational prompts and other incisive displays. The artworks on view draw from the Digital Learning Gallery, an online resource established through a UK Arts Extension Outreach Grant that connects art lovers from across the Commonwealth to the museum’s collection. Through “re:museum,” visitors have an opportunity to view objects up close, complementing online engagement with unique in-person opportunities. Each item on view in includes contextual background information, contemplative prompts and activities for a variety of ages and art experience levels. 

UK Art Museum’s current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. To learn more about each exhibition and programming scheduled to accompany the shows, visit the museum online at: