Three upcoming events at the University of North Texas will feature the Paraguayan harp, breathtaking dance moves and a “factory” that reconnects people lost items.
The shows are part of the spring schedule for the Mary Jo & V. Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series, now in its 114th season.
Paraguayan harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz will perform 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Winspear Performance Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, 2100 North Interstate 35 East. He has played around the world for more than 30 years. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for UNT faculty/staff/alumni and can be bought at thempac.com. UNT students can get free tickets with ID in person at the MPAC box office.
Doug Varone and Dancers will perform “stripped” excerpts from the company’s repertory at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the University Theater in the Radio Television Film & Performing Arts Building, 1179 Union Circle. The dance company, founded in 1986, is known for its high energy and technical prowess. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for UNT faculty/staff/alumni and can be purchased at untuniontickets.com. UNT students can get in free with ID.
At the exhibition “Lost and Found Factory,” visitors will be asked by an intake clerk if they’ve ever lost an object — and then artists “find” them. The exhibition runs from 8 a.m. to midnight Feb. 27 to March 2 (Tuesday-Friday) at the Union Art Gallery on the second floor of UNT’s University Union, 1155 Union Circle. No tickets are required.
People may begin by jesting that they lost their “marbles,” said artist Michelle Illuminato, an assistant professor at Portland State University who created the exhibition at the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh. But quickly the conversation turns to objects that have deep personal value to them, such as their childhood blankets, a treasured memento of an important event or even, as one person described, their sense of lost romance.
Illuminato and a team of artists, which will include sculpture students from all levels of the College of Visual Arts and Design, will rediscover the lost items using paper, fabric, balsa, wire or other materials.
On the last night, visitors are invited to return to claim their objects. In Pittsburgh, this often brought an emotional response, such as one woman who talked about two white glass knobby lamps that her grandmother had. She received a drawing of two miniature lamps that looked just as she described.
“She was crying and said, ‘I never thought I would see these again,’” Illuminato said. “It’s really a wonderful surprise to see how delighted people are when they receive back their ‘lost object.’”
That interaction — and her interest in collecting stories — is why Illuminato likes the project.
“They’re not just responding to something that stands still in the room,” she said. “As an artist, I’m really interested in people’s stories and making work that allows people to engage and share those stories.”
These stories include a woman who asked for her mother’s dollhouse that had been stolen shortly after its purchase in the 1920s. She got a new dollhouse made out of paper. One man said he had lost his ability to create romance. He received a “found romance” sculpture that inspired him to ask a woman out.
“The artists who have worked in the factory read carefully the intake forms and take pride in responding to requests,” Illuminato said. “The ability to give back to someone — it’s very powerful and humbling.”
An artist lecture will take place 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the University Union’s Lyceum and the closing reception will run from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2.
Visitors for the Fine Arts Series events may park at Highland Street Garage and Union Circle Garage for $2 or at the parking meters on Highland Street and West Sycamore Street for $2.25 an hour. Learn more at http://transportation.unt.edu/visitor-information.