The University of Central Florida will join the inaugural season of downtown Orlando’s new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts by hosting a 10-day arts festival in April, organizers announced Thursday.
The center is planning a year full of concerts, Broadway shows, dance performances and other events, including the UCF Pegasus Arts Festival scheduled April 6-16. The new $514 million center is scheduled to open in November.
“The Dr. Phillips Center is a fantastic space and will be a draw from all over Florida and indeed the whole world,” said Paul Lartonoix, assistant vice provost who attended Thursday’s schedule announcement at the Aloft Orlando Downtown hotel. “This space allows us the opportunity to partner and create an event that will show off the UCF arts, including film, music, studio art, theatre, digital media, dance, animation and gaming.
“Much of the Orlando community knows that UCF is arts friendly but few know the depth that the university invests in the arts. UCF is very active in many arts disciplines in our academics, but we are also very involved in the Orlando arts community. We want everyone to know we are an arts university.”
Organizers are still working on details for the festival, but plan to feature the UCF Orchestra, UCF Big Band, visual/digital media installations, ensemble and dance performances, displays from the School for Visual Arts & Design, video game jam, theatrical performances and other works.
Part of the festival will be set aside for showcasing the arts to recruit high school students from all over the state. Those performances will be designed with a focus on education and to get participation by the high school student audience. The performances will encourage innovation and creative thinking across all disciplines, and present examples of that from UCF.
“This annual festival will provide the platform to share with all of Orlando and the Central Florida region not just the products and performances of the university’s arts units, but to feature the collaboration with our community partners,” said Jeff Moore, director of the School of Performing Arts and artistic director of the new festival. “UCF’s commitment to partnerships is well established and the festival celebrates these relationships as it demonstrates UCF’s strong positive impact in Central Florida and beyond.”
Moore said he hopes the festival expands to two weeks at the Dr. Phillips Center in the coming years.