By Jonah Grinkewitz

The Barry Art Museum and Old Dominion University will once again light-up Hampton Roads from Oct. 13 to 15 with its third annual public arts festival “Fantastic Planet,” featuring works by Australian artist Amanda Parer.

From 6 to 10 each night, three of Parer’s illuminated large-scale humanoid sculptures will inhabit West 43rd Street on ODU’s campus outside the Barry Art Museum.

Inspired by the film of the same name, this playful, immersive series of artworks carries an underlying message of stewardship, environmentalism and our role on this planet.

“Through her massive sculptures, Parer humbles us to consider our relationship with the natural world and our responsibility to safeguard it for future generations,” said Charlotte Potter Kasic, executive director of the Barry Art Museum. “It is an invitation to all members of the community to come together, engage with extraordinary, world-class art and enjoy free programming and culinary delights featuring local talent.”

Two of the sculptures – “Poke” and “What’s That” – will be installed on the street level and one – “Over” – will look down on festival goers from the 43rd Street parking garage.

“Scale is a very important factor in this work. My intent is to allow the audience to experience a moment of humility and reflection amongst these large but peaceful giants, a sense that we as a species rarely get to feel,” Parer said.

More than 30 campus and community partners will contribute to this free festival, with programming that includes performances by ODU Dance, the Governor's School for the Arts, Monarch Marching Band, Diehn Choral, Virginia Arts Festival’s Rhythm Project steel drum band and local DJs. The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio will present glass art demonstrations, and there will be interactive activities such as custom T-shirt screen-printing, face-painting, arcade gaming with the ODU Video Game Design program, stargazing with Back Bay Amateur Astronomers and more. Keeping with the festival’s theme, everything from recycled merchandise to a custom “Pack it out” pilsner by COVA Brewing Company that uses Virginia ingredients will be sustainability sourced with minimal impact to the environment.

Additional programs alongside the festival include a screening of the 1973 “Fantastic Planet” film at ODU’s Michael and Kimthanh Lê Digital Theater and Planetarium, an Elizabeth River Trail glow bike ride and a pop-up exhibition inside the Barry Art Museum featuring ODU professors Jing Qin and Ryan Lytle titled “Nurture Nature.”

Fantastic Planet is sponsored by ODU, the ODU Educational Foundation and the Brock Foundation. For a full list of programs, please visit