After being forced to cancel last year’s event due to the pandemic, UCF Celebrates the Arts returned with gusto April 2–10 to showcase creativity, innovation and collaboration at Dr. Phillips Center in downtown Orlando. The annual event, which started in 2015, brings together UCF musicians, theatre practitioners and visual artists from the UCF campus to the Orlando community in an array of offerings.

This year’s festival featured both in-person and virtual events that provided UCF students a chance to showcase their incredible talent and ingenuity.

Group of ballet dancers pirouette on stage
A Knight of Dance was held in Dr. Phillips Center’s Walt Disney Theater and featured 17 original dances from genres such as tap, ballet, Pointe, contemporary, lyrical and jazz. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Woman with headset stands next to man seated at sound board under a tent
Student production manager and theatre major Emma Carbone works behind the scenes in the audio booth. (Photo by Tony Firriolo)
Group of saxophonists perform on stage
The Flying Horse Big Band, which is under the direction of saxophonist and American jazz musician Jeff Rupert, performs at festivals and concert halls regionally and nationally. (Photo by Hannah Estes ’17)
Scene from outdoor production of Grumpiest Boy in the World: Man stands on a ladder dressed as construction worker with another man standing near him
Theatre students Lucas Laguer and Andre Braza during a production of The Grumpiest Boy in the World. UCF’s Theatre for Young Audiences Program launched in 2004 and has become one of the top programs in the country. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Man sings into a microphone while wearing a mask as the sun sets behind a building in the distance
Theatre student Karlo Buxo performs during A Knight to Shine: A Musical Theatre Showcase. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Black woman in costume lift up tea cup and saucer while sitting in a wooden chair on stage
Hannah White performed in A Knight of Opera, which featured children’s opera Carmenella followed by scenes from famous operas. (Photo by Tony Firriolo)
Three dancers wearing dress shirts and pants with suspendersjump on stage
Theatre student Gerald Kitt (center) defies gravity during A Knight of Dance. (Photo by Tony Firriolo)
Zoom screenshot of 4 UCF alums: Justin Matthew Sargent Damian Barray, Austin Palmer, and Jerusha Cavazos.
The virtual “Arts On” event was hosted by Justin Matthew Sargent ’08 and featured fellow theatre alumni Damian Barray ’14, Austin Palmer ’17 and Jerusha Cavazos ’14.
tuba player on stage
Music performance student and member of the UCF Wind Ensemble Justin McKinney plays the tuba. (Photo by Hannah Estes ’17)
Two students paint on canvas a skeleton reaching up one hand, and reading with the other
At Creative Clash, artists from the School of Visual Arts and Design participate in a speed-drawing event to create art on a given theme. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Woman with pony tail uses thick black marker to draw on canvas as classmate observes near her
Attendees of Creative Clash vote once the time limit has been reached to help choose a winner. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Woman dances on stage, poses with hands crossed over head
Theatre student Esmeralda Nazario gives a cabaret-style performance during A Knight to Shine: A Musical Theatre Showcase, which included songs from popular Broadway musicals including Waitress, Chicago, Wicked, West Side Story and more. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
socially distanced crowd separated into structured pods set up on lawn in front of downtown Orlando buildings at sunset
This year’s festival was mostly held outdoors on the lawn in front of downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
black and white photo of student unpacking instruments from their cases on a table backstage
Lauren Ray and Isaac Borge prepare to take the stage as part of the UCF Symphony Orchestra on the final evening of Celebrates the Arts. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Black woman raises bow to violin
Health sciences student Radjeanny Bouzi warms up her violin ahead of the symphony orchestra performance. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Wide shot of Dr. Phillips Center's stage; Chung Park faces crowd, in standing ovation
The audience gives Chung Park’s symphony orchestra a standing ovation following their stunning performance, which nearly was canceled due to inclement weather. But the show must go on, and the concert was instead was moved from outside to the Walt Disney Theatre with no stage lights or sound only an hour before their performance was planned to begin. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Dancers form a stacked line on stage with a red backdrop
A Knight of Dance showcased the incredible talents of student, alumni and faculty choreographers and dancers. (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Six dancers on stage with a black starry backdrop behind them
A Knight of Dance (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Dancers form V on stage with purple background
A Knight of Dance (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)
Student drums outside in front of Dr. Phillip Center
Jacob Kight ’15 joined UCF Percussion to perform Inuksuit — a unique experience for both the performers and the audience. The musicians started at the stage and moved to surround the audience for an immersive sound experience. (Photo by Tony Firriolo)
Photo of student seated at drums on stage at night, view from behind
The chart-topping Flying Horse Big Band is composed of students in UCF’s jazz studies program. (Photo by Hannah Estes ’17)