After illuminating Old Dominion University's campus with the moon last year, the Barry Art Museum is bringing a new, red glow to Norfolk this fall.
"Mars Fest," ODU's second public arts festival, will take place from Oct. 14 to 16. Presented by ODU, Joan P. Brock and more than 60 campus and community partners, the collaborative festival will feature programmed performances, activities and "Mars," a large-scale sculpture of the red planet created by British artist Luke Jerram.
Jerram's red planet hovers at nearly 23 feet in diameter - an approximate scale of 1:1 million. Each centimeter of the sculpture represents 10 kilometers of the surface of Mars and pairs its galactic imagery with lights and custom surround sound.
Like last year's "Museum of the Moon" exhibition (also by Jerram), "Mars" will serve as a meeting point on 43rd Street between Hampton Boulevard and Monarch Way outside the Barry Art Museum.
"We are thrilled to host this installation by world-renowned artist Luke Jerram," said Charlotte Potter Kasic, executive director for the Barry Art Museum. "The irresistible enchantment of the red planet has captured the imagination of astronomers, revolutionaries, mystics, engineers, writers, artists and scientists alike."
Kasic also noted the artwork comes at a poignant time as NASA prepares to launch its Artemis rocket to the moon and eventually return astronauts to the lunar surface.
With activities from 6 to 10 p.m. each day, attendees can sip on the "Red Planet Red Lager" (a special brew from COVA Brewing Co.), shop the "Martian Market" curated by the Selden Market, visit the Arts@ODU Supernova Stage for live music and observe the actual red planet through telescopes with Back Bay Amateur Astronomers. NASA Langley will also be on site inside the Barry Art Museum to lead hands-on activities.
Mars Fest is free and open to the public. Visit the Barry Art Museum's website for a full list of programs and sponsors.
Leading up to the festival, ODU's IDS Game Design, Development and Criticism program, the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and the University's Video Game Design Club will host Mars Jam.
From Oct. 7 to 14, participants will have a week to create a video game. The finished games will be featured at the Last Resort Video Game Arcade on the last day of Mars Fest. Click here for more information and to sign up.