What to Expect in Fall 2021

A Message from Rick Davis, Dean

Dean Davis

I have been amazed (but not surprised!) by the creativity and resourcefulness of College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) students, faculty, and staff throughout the many months and constantly-changing circumstances of the pandemic.

We have led the way in keeping the campus animated this year by providing meaningful, safe, artistically satisfying opportunities and creating new ways to teach and learn, rehearse and perform. We’ve also taken an active role in the university’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) initiative, a signature priority for all members of the Mason community. All in all, I am very proud of our community of artists.  We have kept the lights on (and the windows open) in a supremely challenging time. And the best is yet to come!

Read the Dean’s full remarks here

As the fall semester approaches, CVPA is actively planning a transition back to greatly increased in-person teaching and creative work, consistent of course with up-to-the-minute safety guidance. Some of our programs will retain a significant online and hybrid component, in those areas where it makes logistical and pedagogical sense, and where student demand and interest show a preference. Overall, the university is planning for an active and exciting campus in the fall, with something like 75% of the in-person capacity of Fall 2019, and we will be doing our part to make sure that the arts are part of that excitement. If you have questions about a specific program, please reach out to that office for specific details – and of course I am always happy to hear from you.

We look forward to seeing you!

Rick Davis, Dean

Mason Announces Robust On-campus Presence for Fall

University President Gregory Washington is confident that the Mason community is prepared for a more normal campus environment this fall. With a goal of bringing at least 75 percent of instruction back to campus, Mason plans to restore our vibrant and safe campus environment while continuing opportunities for hybrid and online modes of learning. Masks, enhanced safety protocols, and testing will continue until public health guidance changes. 

Message to university community on campus reopening

A message of hope for the return to campus this fall.

Students from the School of Theater performed outside the Concert Hall for the first time since the pandemic began in front of a live audience, in Runaways.

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School of Theater students in 'Runaways'
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School of Theater students in 'Runaways'
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Live Instruction from Arts Leaders

Many of our faculty members have a long history of developing online courses and teaching in a virtual environment. When the pandemic hit, all of our faculty quickly adapted to the online teaching environment, experimenting with ways to share their knowledge that transcends the screen and creates the best possible learning experience for our students. 

Return to In-Person Performances

One of the many advantages to life at Mason is students’ access to incredible live performances on campus. The current plans for Fall 2021 include a return to live, in-person performances at the Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center, as well as other venues. Students have access to free tickets for these events, making your return to campus this fall even more exciting!

Physical Distancing & In-Person Safety Measures

Health safety is of utmost importance as we return to a more robust on-campus presence for Fall 2021. In addition to following the University protocols, CVPA faculty and staff are working to ensure safety practices and social distancing in our classrooms, studios, and rehearsal spaces. Careful scheduling allows for small groups of students to join together for instruction, with masks being worn and hand sanitizer readily available in the teaching spaces. Find the very latest FAQs (7/22/21) for the reopening of campus.

Window Wall Technology at the Live Center 

CVPA is proud to be the home for exceptional faculty who make innovative ideas reality, providing unique opportunities for Mason Arts students. Heritage Professor of Dance Christopher d’Amboise saw a need for video conferencing that allowed for life-sized, full-body interaction in educational settings. This idea propelled the creation of the Moving Story Window Wall, through which classes may be taught using live projections on the studio walls. This kind of cutting-edge approach is unique to George Mason University and allows us to expand our teaching and performance capabilities both during the pandemic and beyond.  Learn more about this technology.

Masterclasses with World Class Artists

Despite the challenges we have all faced through the pandemic, CVPA remains committed to bringing exceptional artists to our students. As many performers adapted their presence to encompass virtual performances, they have also generously agreed to share their time and expertise with Mason students. Whether through Zoom or the Moving Story Window Wall, these important interactions with leading artists have continued. In Fall 2021, we anticipate students having access to both in-person and virtual masterclasses. During Spring 2021, students were able to interact in both one on one and in small group settings to showcase their talents and receive coaching from world-class artists. Learn more about those experiences.