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Fall Arts Celebration to offer a variety of events for the community

  • "Water: A Vision in Dance" will take place Oct. 28.
  • A reception for the exhibition "Art of Today: Contemporary Collections from Chicago" will be held on Sept. 12.
  • Violinist Ingrid Matthews will be featured during the performance of "Water on the Mind: A Baroque Musical Journey," which will take place on Sept. 23.
  • Jill Lepore will deliver her lecture "American History from Beginning to End" on Nov. 5.
  • The Holiday Celebration "Beloved Songs of the Season" will be held on Dec. 2
  • Ellen Bass, left, and Kevin Young will give readings of their poetry on Oct. 3.

Posted on July 30, 2019

The lineup for this year's Fall Arts Celebration will invite audiences to behold the power and mystery of water, see history differently and more.

Each year, Grand Valley offers an engaging mix of arts events to enlighten visitors and to recognize the local community's role in the university's success, said President Philomena V. Mantella.

"We're looking forward to gathering together to experience the inspiration and entertainment this dynamic lineup offers," Mantella said. 

Below is a full list of Fall Arts Celebration events. For more information, visit

Art of Today: Contemporary Collections from Chicago

Exhibition Dates: Aug. 23-Nov. 1

Exhibition reception: Sept. 12 from 5-7 p.m.

Art Gallery, Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus

Since the late 1960s, contemporary art has sought to challenge boundaries and engage a world that is rapidly becoming culturally diverse, technologically developed and globalized. In the United States, Chicago serves as an important center for this kind of art. By working with Chicago-based artists, gallery owners and collectors, Grand Valley has purposefully developed a collection of contemporary art over the last 15 years. Drawn from GVSU’s collection and enhanced with additional loans from Chicago, "Art of Today" celebrates Grand Valley’s desire to share compelling imagery with the community. The exhibition brings together more than 40 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media. 

Water on the Mind: A Baroque Musical Journey

Monday, Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

Water has transfixed the imagination and creative artistry of the human race since the earliest days on Earth. See that inspiration come to life through works such as the “Storm Scene” from Marin Marais’s opera"Alcyone," and Georg Philipp Telemann’s orchestral suite,"Hamburger Ebb und Fluth." This piece musically depicts the rise and fall of the ocean while invoking the story of Neptune and his son, Triton. Rounding out the performance is Handel’s "Water Music," composed in 1717 for a barge party given by George I on the River Thames, and Antonio Vivaldi’s fiery violin concerto, "La Tempesta di mare" (The Sea Storm). Famed Baroque violin virtuoso Ingrid Matthews, a solo violinist with Toronto Tafelmusik Ensemble, will perform the composition that concludes the concert.

An Evening with Ellen Bass and Kevin Young

Oct. 3 with poetry readings at 6 p.m.

L.V. Eberhard Center, second floor, Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Acclaimed poets Ellen Bass and Ellen Young will read their works. Bass is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book, "Like a Beggar" (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), was a finalist for several notable literary awards. Previous books include "The Human Line" and "Mules of Love," which won The Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the first major anthology of women’s poetry, "No More Masks!" (Doubleday, 1973).

Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and is poetry editor at The New Yorker. His newest book of poetry is "Brown" (2018). Also an essayist, and curator, Young's "Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels," was the winner of an American Book Award. His work "Jelly Roll: A Blues" (2003), was a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. 

Water: A Vision in Dance

Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Louis Armstrong Theatre, Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus

In this performance, BedYich Smetana’s "The Moldau" traces the path of this mighty river from its origins deep in the Bohemian Highlands to its final journey bringing life and sustenance to the Czech people. Debussy’s "La Mer" presents a musically evocative, suggestive image of the sea in all of its beauty. Bringing these works to life in a new choreographic vision is BODYART, a New Orleans–based dance theater company founded and directed by Leslie Scott. Focusing on the intersection of movement and technology, Scott and the artists of BODYART will unite dance, video and the music of Smetana and Debussy performed by a full orchestra in an absorbing multimedia experience.

American History from Beginning to End

Lecture presented by Jill Lepore

Nov. 5, at 6 p.m.

Eberhard Center, second floor, Pew Grand Rapids Campus

What do you see when you look at the last 500 years, instead of the last five minutes? What can a long view of the past teach? Lepore wants you to see history differently. The preeminent narrative historian of her generation has picked up a neglected historical genre and breathed new life into it by addressing the “asymmetries” of historical evidence. Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. One of her latest books is "These Truths: A History of the United States" (2018), which is on The New York Times' Best Seller list. Her most recent book, "This America: The Case for the Nation," was published in May.

Holiday Celebration: Beloved Songs of the Season

Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids

David Willcocks' brass choir settings of the most beloved Christmas carols capture the essence of the holiday, while John Rutter's magnificent "Gloria" is one of the holiday masterpieces of the classical repertoire. The performances of the works from these British composers will be accompanied by a cappella selections sung by the GVSU University Arts Chorale.