Despite pandemic hurdles, the U of A contributed massively to Edmonton's local arts scene in 2020 and 2021

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on local and global arts scenes, the University of Alberta still managed to bring over 70 arts-related events to both the campus community and the wider Edmonton community during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The university typically hosts more than 30 public musical performances, plays, visual art exhibits and other art showcases throughout the year. Many performances are part of ongoing programs that happen yearly or monthly, whereas others happen on an ad-hoc basis. 

Many performances and exhibits can be attended for free, and they regularly showcase the talent of university students and faculty, contributing deeply to Edmonton’s cultural fabric.

The university’s Studio Theatre, located in the Timms Centre for the Arts, one of the most technically advanced university theatre spaces in North America, normally features the graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts acting class ensemble in four shows over the year. These productions represent the culmination of students’ training in acting and technical and stage management. 

In 2020/2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university hosted two plays online: Chrysothemis and Don Juan Comes Back from the War.

The pandemic also changed the campus music scene. The university hosted a limited number of ensemble performances and instead chose to highlight solo works that could be easily adapted to an online format. In place of live, in-person performances, which are normally held in dedicated performance spaces such as Convocation Hall and Studio 2-7,  we also continued to invite experts and fascinating speakers working in music, such as Susan Rogers, who was the staff recording engineer on some of pop-culture icon Prince’s most significant work, including the album Purple Rain.


The Fine Arts Building (FAB) Gallery, which presents student and faculty art, as well as the work of artists from outside the province, remained open to the public during the 2020/2021 academic year, but only by appointment to ensure patrons could keep a safe distance from one another.


Many challenging, thought-provoking exhibits visited the FAB gallery during this time, such as the multi-artist exhibit Dyscorpia 2.1 and the work of a number of talented Master of Fine Arts students.