Virtual arts and culture events are bursting out all over in May

Spring flowers, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day: It must be May.

Following on the heels of April’s DisOrient Film Festival, this month is packed with events for film lovers, from a host of Ducks After Dark events to screenings and Q&A sessions with Golden Globes winner and Oscar nominated producer Mollye Asher, the Department of Cinema Studies’ 2020-21 Harlan J. Strauss Visiting Filmmaker.

Celebrate Latino art and the life of Frida Kahlo on May 5. Numerous events are also planned for Asian Desi Pacific Island Heritage Month, including discussion panels addressing anti-Asian violence, an Asian night market and a Vietnamese Student Association culture show.  


Join Jessica Zapata, founder of Arte Latino, and the UO for a celebration of Latino arts May 5. “The Heart Milagro: A Cinco De Mayo Celebration of Latino Art” is a Zoom workshop that celebrates the art and life of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo, 'Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,' 1940Participants will have an opportunity to create the Heart Milagro, which represents love, healing and gratitude as well as longing.

Nina Amstutz, assistant professor of history and art and architecture and 2017-18 Oregon Humanities Center faculty research fellow, will present a books-in-print talk May 7 titled “Caspar David Friedrich: Nature and the Self.” Amstutz provides analysis and discussion of the painter’s intersection of landscape painting, self-exploration and the life sciences in Friedrich’s 19th century work.

Using a documentary style, photographer Amir Zaki explores digital technology’s potential to disrupt authenticity. On May 6, join Zaki for “Building and Becoming,” a virtual presentation of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series. On May 20 Natalie Ball will present “Power Objects,” and on May 27 Mario Ybarra Jr. will give a George and Matilda Fowler Lecture on his past projects and the role of the artist in creating and finding ways to tell family stories and other marginalized narratives in “I Did It for Revenge!

Science and art collide May 20 with “Drawing from the Deep: A Paleoart Workshop with Ray Troll” featuring artist Roy Troll and paleontologist Edward Davis, who will explore the natural history of Oregon’s colossal spike-toothed salmon.


All month, Ducks After Dark will host a variety of fun activities, starting May 6 with a Zoom interview with Broadway performer, TV actor, writer and director Tyrone L. Robinson, known for his work on the short “Un(H)armed.”

Toga party scene from 'Animal House'Join fellow Ducks on May 13 and get ready to SHOUT (or be appalled) for a screening of the iconic National Lampoon film “Animal House” in the Erb Memorial Union’s Redwood Auditorium. Even if it hasn’t aged all that well, the historic value of the movie may be in the scenes that were partially filmed on the UO campus and around the Eugene area in 1978 and include Johnson Hall, the food fight in the EMU’s former fishbowl, the since-torn-down A.W. Patterson house that housed Delta Fraternity, and Otis Day & the Knights performing out at the Dexter Lake Club.

On May 20, test your knowledge of musicals! Ducks After Dark Presents: Musical Theme Kahoot will host an online trivia challenge and a chance to win gift cards. Finally, on May 27, tune in for a Zoom interview with actor Jonathan Lipnicki, whose credits include “Jerry Maguire,” “Stuart Little” and “Little Vampire.”

May 14-19, students, faculty members, staff and the community are invited to a free virtual screening of the Mollye Asher-produced film “Swallow” followed by a remote Q&A event May 19. Asher is this year’s Department of Cinema Studies Harlan J. Strauss visiting filmmaker and producer of the Chloe Zhao-directed, Oscar-nominated film “Nomadland,” which also will be screened May 21-26 and followed by a live, remote Q&A discussion with the producer May 26.


Drop in at Lawrence Hall May 3-6 and view “Ataraxy,” featuring the cathartic works of Zia Oshun.

Image from 'Ataraxy' exhibit The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s 360-degree virtual tours site has a new exhibition for patrons to enjoy from afar. “Every Word was Once an Animal” blends art, science, dance, music and olfaction to explore the overlapping forces of nature and culture between humans, animals and language. Stroll through the museum at your own pace using circle icons to navigate from location to location. Zoom in on individual artworks, read object labels and descriptive texts and access informational links and exhibition brochures or study guides. New galleries and tours will continue to be added to the museum’s website.


Thirty-seven plays in 97 minutes: Eight actors will wend their way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (Revised)” May 28-30 and June 5-6. This live and in-person (yep, it's live) performance will only be open to UO students, faculty and staff at the Robinson Theater.


Composer and arranger Nan Schwartz will present “The Art of Arranging” May 5-7. Her virtual spring residency will include a master class on the art of arranging, a composing workshop, a film scoring session, rehearsals of her work and discussions on making a career in the music industry.

Part of the Oregon Bach Festival’s 2022 season will include “Holes in the Sky,” a May 7 lecture-recital with pianist Lara Downes that celebrates the power of female creativity. The concert will include discovered works by Florence Price and new works from Julia Adolphe, Clarice Assad, Angelica Negron, Paola Prestini, Elena Ruehr, Marika Takeuchi and others, as well as original arrangements of iconic songs by Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone.

Tune into KWAX-FM 91.1 for on May 14 for “KWAX Presents the OBF Vault: B Minor Mass,” an iconic 1996 recording of the Bach masterpiece conducted by Helmuth Rilling.

Abigail Fine, musicology professor and 2020-21 Oregon Humanities Center faculty research fellow will lecture about her book project “Sacred Traces: Composers, Relics and Art-Religion in Practice.” The project examines late 19th century art-religion and the devotees who treated composers as saints, ensuring the longevity of canons that are still a fixture in concert halls and curricula.

Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Join UO music theorist Drew Nobile on May 5 for “The Rise and Fall of the Chorus in Rock and Pop Songs” at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History’s monthly Ideas on Tap virtual pub talk. Explore how the rock and pop chorus has evolved since its emergence in the 1960s by registering to participate on Zoom, watching it live on the museum’s Facebook page, or catching it later on its YouTube Channel.  

Streaming resources

More than a year after the pandemic hit, people are hankering to get out, but until it’s completely safe to return to in-person venues, the internet continues to provide us with a virtual treasure trove of exhibits, collections, audio, video and images for online entertainment.

Watch nine films from the Museum of Modern Arts’ “Private Lives Public Spaces” exhibition, with commentary from the curators.

Visit the Issue project room and explore its freely accessible collection of very cool video and audio performances.

Be sure to check out the UO Channel for a variety of live-streamed events, Department of Art Visiting Artist Lecture Series videos, guest speakers and more.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications