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AU Arts

A home for the visual and performing arts at American University.

AU Arts

The arts have a prominent role at American University. Rotating exhibitions at the AU Museum in the state-of-the-art Katzen Arts Center emphasize regional, national, and international contemporary art. The Department of Performing Arts, comprised of Arts Management, Audio Technology, Dance, Music, and Theatre/Musical Theatre, provides dynamic, connected, expressive, and fulfilling experiences for all of our majors, minors, and participating students. The Department of Art encompasses Studio Art, Art History, Photography, and Graphic Design.

To stay up-to-date on performances, exhibitions, and events, join the AU Arts mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Questions? Call 202-885-ARTS or email us.

Event Spotlight Faculty Music Concert

Saturday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

American University music faculty take the stage! Instrumental and voice faculty collaborate in a varied program that ranges from Brahms to Cabaret. Featuring Susan Derry (voice), Mary Gottlieb (piano), Barbara Hollinshead (voice), Kevin Jang (violin), Osman Kivrak (viola), Nobue Matsuoka (percussion), Bill Wielgus (oboe), and Barbara Wilkinson (piano.

Tickets to Faculty Music Concert

Faculty Music Concert Headshots

AU Arts Events

Dana Hart-Stone

Spring at the AU Museum

Learn more about current exhibitions and see the museum event calendar.

  • The Very Idea! Art of Brian Kavanagh
    Howard N. Fox, Curator
    Rosemary M. DeRosa, Co-curator
  • New Perspective on the New Thing:
    A Photography Exhibition Documenting DC’s Revolutionary Community Arts Center, 1966-1972

    Joel Jacobson, Photographer
    Tom Zetterstrom, Photographer
  • The Tree around the Corner
    Barbara Kerne, Artist
    Vivienne M. Lassman, Curator
  • Art and the Demands of Memory
    Works by Second Generation
    Holocaust Survivors

    Trudy Babchak
    Michael Steiner Borek
    Coos Hamburger
    Micheline Klagsbrun
    Kitty Klaidman 
    Dalya Luttwak
    Miriam Mörsel Nathan
    Margot Neuhaus 
    Chaya Schapiro
    Mindy Weisel

    Aneta Georgievska-Shine, Curator

  • Dana Hart-Stone: Kaleidoscope
    Dana Hart-Stone, Artist
    Brian Gross, Curator
  • A Drawing Like No Other: Marilyn Brought Back to Life in 9,000,000 Marks
    Billy Pappas, Artist
    Gary Vikan, Curator
  • The Human Flood
    Ellyn Weiss, Artist
    Sondra N. Arkin, Artist
    Laura Roulet, Curator
  • Image: Dana Hart-Stone, A Western Trip (detail), 2016. UV cured acrylic ink on canvas, 120 x 162 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Brian Gross Fine Art.

Dance promo

DANCEWORKS 2024Artistic Direction by Erin Foreman-Murray
Ronya-Lee Anderson, Director, American University Dance Company
Choreography by Ronya-Lee Anderson, Esperonto Bean, Orange Grove Dance, and Rose Xinran Qi
April 19-20, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students with ID

Rediscover the power of live dance in our increasingly virtual world. The American University Dance Company brings DANCEWORKS 2024 to the Greenberg Theatre stage with original choreography.

Featuring guest choreographers Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves, artistic directors of Orange Grove Dance, a multimedia dance company that "creates visually athletic experiences through the lenses of dance, film, and design." Dancers will present contemporary dance repertory by independent artist Rose Xinran Qi, whose work is informed by her extensive background in contemporary, postmodern, ballet, and Chinese dance. The company will also perform a new dance theatre piece by faculty choreographer Ronya-Lee Anderson and a new club and street styles work by dance faculty member and guest choreographer Esperonto Bean.

Blue geometric artwork

Infinite Geometries: Exploring the Arts of the Medieval Islamic World
Dr. Joanne Allen
January 22-March 1, 2024
Katzen Rotunda

This exhibition comprises drawings, oil and watercolor paintings, intaglio and relief prints, and fabrics based on the art history of the medieval Islamic world, in particular the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the most complex, decorative, and awe-inspiring building in early medieval Western Europe.

Abstract interior sceneHolding Hands, Holding Space
January 26-March 2, 2024
Katzen Rotunda
Curated by Taylor Sizemore and Marie B Gauthiez

American University’s Studio Art MFA program presents Holding Hands, Holding Space, a group exhibition curated by Taylor Sizemore and Marie B Gauthiez in the Katzen Arts Center Rotunda. This exhibition brings together sixteen artists; eight students from AU’s Studio Art MFA Program and eight students from other local university MFA programs.

Learn more

Faculty Music Concert HeadshotsFaculty Music Concert
March 2, 7:30 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

American University music faculty take the stage! Instrumental and voice faculty collaborate in a varied program that ranges from Brahms to Cabaret. Featuring Susan Derry (voice), Mary Gottlieb (piano), Barbara Hollinshead (voice), Kevin Jang (violin), Osman Kivrak (viola), Nobue Matsuoka (percussion), Bill Wielgus (oboe), and Barbara Wilkinson (piano).

American University Symphonic Band
Matthew Brown, conductor
April 13, 3 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

The AU Symphonic Band tackles two large scale works that each musically depict a remote frozen landscape. Oscar Navarro's "Expedition" imagines a journey deep into the waters of Antarctica, and Franco Cesarini's "Poema Alpestre" captures the vastness and majesty of the towering Swiss Alps. These two lengthy and challenging works highlight the richness of the Symphonic Band literature and showcase American University's talented wind, brass, and percussion students. Also featuring "Take Flight," a new composition by AU student Bailey Hobbs.

In Nature's Realm: Our Environment and Care for the EarthIn Nature’s Realm: Our Environment and Care for the Earth
American University Chamber Singers
Daniel Abraham, director
April 13, 7:30 p.m. and April 14, 3 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

This program celebrates the beauty of our planet and the diversity and power of nature. Art has always celebrated nature. To revel in the beauty and power of nature is even more important than ever as we consider the impact we have on our planet. Reconnect with the expansive qualities of nature by hearing how composers have considered nature's awesomeness across time. Including works by Antonín Dvořák, Rachel Portman, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Dan Forrest, Frank Ticheli, and others.

Some Spring Swing
American University Jazz Orchestra
Joshua Bayer, director
April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

Swing into the season with the AU Jazz Orchestra playing Big Band swing, funk, and straight-ahead Jazz from a variety of composers. Featuring special guests from the Georgetown University Jazz Ensemble.

American University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Brown, director (AU Symphony Orchestra)
Casey Cook, director (AU Chorus)
April 27, 7:30 p.m. and April 28, 3 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall
Tickets: $10-$15, free for AU students

The AU Symphony Orchestra and Chorus collaborate to perform a lesser-known but important oratorio by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The program also includes Saint-Saëns' Symphony no. 2 in A minor, the world premiere of a work by AU student composer Matthew Lipka, and soloist Madeleine Corrigan, AU student and winner of the annual Concerto and Aria competition, playing the first and second movements of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto no. 1.

The Herstory of Henri IV Pt. 1 The Herstory of Henri IV, pt. 1
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and directed by Kate Eastwood Norris
February 28-March 2
Katzen Arts Center, Studio Theatre
$10-$15, free for AU students

Poor Hal. Her mom, the Queen of England, wants her to step up and fight in an impending civil war, while her buddy Falstaff wants her to stay at the bar and keep the party going. What is a young princess to do? Equal parts comedy and tragedy, Henri IV pt. 1 is a gender-bent adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous coming-of-age story about a young woman not only trying to figure out her place in the world, but also what sort of world she wants it to be.

Content: staged violence and death, simulated sexual acts, drug and alcohol consumption, body shaming, and loud noises.

Spring AwakeningSpring Awakening
Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater Music by Duncan Sheik
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Directed by Nadia Guevara
Music Direction by Kristin Stowell
Choreography by Maurice Johnson
April 4-6
Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre
$10-$15, free for AU students

Spring Awakening explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion that is illuminating and unforgettable. The landmark musical is an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality, and rock and roll that is exhilarating audiences across the nation. The winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, told by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater through what Entertainment Weekly called "the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade."

SPRING AWAKENING is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI:

Content: Sexual content, abuse, rape, abortion, death, suicide, violence, strong language.

Double ConsciousnessJerrell Gibbs

March 21, 6:30 p.m. RSVP on Eventbrite for 3/21

Jerrell Gibbs (b. 1988; Baltimore, MD) opposes deceptive perceptions of Black men by questioning master narratives and their connection to a muted visual history. Gibbs’ paintings are acts of resistance, asserting power over visual stereotypes. He paints the Black male figure with adornments, such as flowers, and contextualizes them in moments of peace, rest, and solitude. These gestures function to dismantle the visual misrepresentation of violence, trauma, and pain. 

Cynthia Daignault

April 11, 6:30 p.m. RSVP on Eventbrite for 4/11

Cynthia Daignault received her degree from Stanford University. She has presented solo exhibitions and projects at many major museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum of Contemporary art, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, MASS MoCA, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and White Columns. Her work is in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Walker Center for Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Daignault is a regularly published author, and editor of numerous publications. The first major monograph on her work, Light Atlas, was published in 2019, and a new paperback edition will be released in early 2024. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2019 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a 2016 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts Award, a 2011 Rema Hort Foundation Award, and a 2010 MacDowell Artist Fellowship. She lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2024, she will present a new monumental commission at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

In the AU Arts Community

Student actors practice fight choreography

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Student Actors Raise Their Swords

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Joanne Allen, Geometric pattern from the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus, 2021 (detail)

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Artist and Art Historian: Professor Joanne Allen’s Solo Exhibition Opens

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"Head Over Heels," photo: Jeff Watts

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Announcing Spring 2024 Performing Arts Events

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