College of Visual and Performing Arts
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

A Remarkable Season We Will Never Forget!

May 26, 2020

The 2019-2020 Great Performances at Mason season brought so many wonderful artists to the Center for the Arts, and while we wish we could have celebrated through to the very end of our schedule in person with you, we look forward to when we can safety return to the Center to commemorate our 30th Anniversary in the coming year. Before the summer months set in, we would like to highlight some of our favorite 2019-2020 memories with you.

The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Audra McDonald headlined the 14th Annual ARTS by George! Benefit, raising critical support for Mason student scholarships, as well as for the Mason Community Arts Academy, the Green Machine Ensembles, and the Great Performances at Mason series.

We kicked off the Center’s inaugural season of Mason Artists-in-Residence Program, featuring community engagement activities with hundreds of participants leading up to performances by LADAMA and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and NEA Jazz Master and composer Maria Schneider participated virtually during a fascinating Mason Arts at Home conversation (Schneider’s appearance with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra has been rescheduled to a future date).

We welcomed hundreds of families back for our second year of the Center for the Arts Family Series, and we cannot wait to offer more exciting arts opportunities for the young—and young at heart—in the future.

During the 2019-2020 season we welcomed more than 425 households as part of our Friends of the Center for the Arts, who joined us for performances and visited with us in our Friends lounge throughout the season. Your support as a Friend is invaluable and we are so thankful for each of you.

Audiences had so many favorites this season. In addition to the Mason Artists-in-Residence performances, some of the runaway hits include:

  • An Evening with Audra McDonald
  • Taj Express—the Bollywood Musical Revue
  • Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons alongside Max Richter’s Recomposed by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra led by Daniel Hope, violin
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock® Celebrating the Holydays

In mid-March, when the Center needed to close out of precaution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our entire staff pivoted to cultivate uplifting digital arts content through Mason Arts at Home. We were blown away by the generosity of the artists and audiences who joined us during this innovative time in our programming history, leading to more than 168,000 video views. If you missed some of the content, nearly all can be viewed here on our Mason Arts at Home YouTube playlist and updates will be shared periodically throughout the summer. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes and the latest updates. 

As Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, shared in early March, “We like to say that the arts create community. This isolating moment challenges and inspires us to find new ways to make that promise true. And the mission has never been so vital.”

We will create community together again soon, and for now we’ll treasure these memories from a wonderful 2019-2020 season with our audiences and artists.