By Amber Kennedy

The Old Dominion University Libraries will host the second Arts in the Libraries Virtual Festival from March 21 to 25, an event that will feature art, a lecture series, digital exhibits, dance and music performances and a zine-making workshop. The Gordon Art Galleries, the University Theatre and faculty are co-partners with the Libraries for the festival.

"Our Arts in the Libraries Virtual Festival is designed to showcase all the unexpected treasures we have available for the community to discover, from rare art books to historic ceramics to our special collections of music recordings and composer sketchbooks," said Lara Canner, curator of Music Special Collections at the ODU Libraries and lead planner of the event. "Our Libraries have so much to explore beyond the page."

Canner encourages visitors to plan their exploration by going to the Arts in the Libraries Virtual Festival site to find the full schedule of music performances, digital exhibits, virtual tours and past presentations. Registration for the event's lecture series began March 8.

Among the week's events are a screening of Assistant Professor Priya Vashist's film "Yet So Far," which explores queer romance and South Asian identity; a lecture from Robert Wojtowicz, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, on the Hampton Roads art scene 200 years ago; and "Here Us Out: Methods of Theatre Performance as Activism," a presentation by Assistant Professor Brittney S. Harris that merges theatrical performance, community building and conflict resolution.

"Using the virtual stage to engage participants with our new performance space as a unifier really shifted the theatricality of community-engaged theatre. No longer were the participants simply audience members but were asked to reflect and contribute beyond their screens," said Harris, who presented in the 2021 virtual festival.

The possibility of bringing arts collections out of the stacks, virtually, inspired ODU's Hofheimer Art Library and Diehn Composers Room staff to organize the first Arts in the Libraries event in the spring of 2021. Attendees discovered that within the walls of ODU Libraries were Bronze Age pottery from Cyprus, rare artist books, a historic film collection and an Emmy.

"The Libraries' Virtual Arts Festival offers a great opportunity for faculty to highlight the work of their students in the classroom and how it dovetails with their own scholarly research. It's wonderful to have the library as an ally in trying to bring active research into the education of our students," said Jared Benton, director of ODU's art history program.

For more information and for assistance with registration, contact Canner at

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