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Events Calendar

Mars: Astronomy and Culture

Exhibit image of Mars

Exhibit image of Mars

Date and Time

Monday, October 22, 2018
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


  • Haas Center for Performing Arts » 1121 - GVSU Art Gallery


“My hope is that the exhibition helps people better understand the science and beauty of the only other planet in our solar system that could support human life, as well as the importance of Mars in culture during the last 120 years.”    - Jay Belloli, Exhibition Organizer and Curator

The planet Mars has fascinated humanity since early in human history. The Chinese observed it before 1000 BCE. The Egyptians knew of the red planet as well, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire was aware of it by the sixth century BCE. It enthralls us even more now because it is the only planet in the solar system that could be made to support human life.

Beginning in the mid-1600s, scientists first created astronomical drawings of Mars. This was followed by ground-based photographs in the early 20th century, and then those from numerous spacecraft, the first of which began to reveal details of the Martian surface in 1965. With the recent discoveries of the Curiosity rover and continued popularity of science fiction film and literature, people all over the world are engaged with the exploration and popular culture of Mars.

Mars: Astronomy and Culture brings together photographs, drawings, movie posters, book covers and video projections. In doing so, it connects the recent scientific images of Mars to the entire history of photography of the red planet, and to the drawings by famous astronomers that preceded the development of photography. Crucially, it shows the impact of Mars on popular culture even before the twentieth century.

Mars: Astronomy and Culture is presented in partnership between the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery, the Center Art Gallery at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and The Holland Museum in Holland, Michigan.

This exhibition was curated by Pasadena Arts Council for the Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. It is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council’s EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship Program.

Added Feature:  Experience Mars 2030 VR in the GVSU Art Gallery during the run of this exhibition!


Mars Events located in the lobby of the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts Performing Art Center:

Grand Valley State University Fall Arts Celebration 2018
Art Reception
September 13, 2018 - 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Visit the Fall Arts Celebration website for more events.

Martian-Themed Halloween Event
October 31, 2018
Come dressed as your favorite Martian!
Sponsored by GVSU Housing

Mars: Astronomy and Culture will be on exhibit August 24 – November 9, 2018 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.   Always free and open to the public. Visit our website for more information on this exhibit.



Art Gallery, 616-331-2563



This event also occurred on 8/24/2018, 8/27/2018, 8/28/2018, 8/29/2018, 8/31/2018, 9/4/2018, 9/5/2018, 9/7/2018, 9/10/2018, 9/11/2018 and 33 others


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