UMF and the town of Farmington offer a broad range of cultural events. This wealth of concerts, art exhibits, movies, readings, plays, and dance performances will fill out your education and open new worlds. You may find yourself inspired to sing or play in a musical group, choreograph a dance, mount your own art exhibit, or audition for a play; hidden talents awakened in you may end up changing your life. Keep your ears and eyes open for these events and opportunities, and you will be amazed at where they take your mind and your spirit.
Art Gallery and Exhibitions
The UMF Art Gallery has four to six exhibitions each year. Once a large barn behind 246 Main Street, now converted into a modern exhibit space, the UMF Art Gallery is open during the academic year from noon to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. The Art Gallery features artists from Maine as well as those from outside our region, demonstrating a variety of styles and media in contemporary art. Besides engaging the eye, the exhibits can challenge your aesthetic sense and cultivate within you an understanding of other cultures and viewpoints. Lectures and workshops complement the shows, and receptions give you an opportunity to meet the exhibiting artists and discuss their works.
Our permanent outdoor sculpture garden brings art outside the UMF Art Gallery walls, with a piece entitled "Farmington Bell" and an installation called "A Square on a Sphere" displayed on the lawn in front of the Art Gallery. The Mantor Library, the Einar Olsen Student Center, and other buildings on campus also display exhibits.
Musical Ensembles and Performances
Nordica Auditorium, on the second floor of Merrill Hall, is the spiritual center of musical life at UMF. The 400-seat hall with its ornate oak woodwork, brass chandeliers, and superb acoustics is equipped with a 14-rank pipe organ and a nine-foot Falcone concert grand piano, one of the best instruments in Maine.
You can treat yourself (free, as a student) to a wide variety of concerts throughout the year, including occasional noontime concerts and concerts by UMF's performing organizations, the Community Chorus, the Chamber Choir, the Community Orchestra and the Band.
The UMF Community Chorus has approximately 120 members drawn from the campus and community. It presents two major concerts each year with a spring program that features soloists and orchestra. Compositions cover a wide spectrum of music including recent performances of such masterworks as Bach's Cantata No. 4 and Adolphus Hailstork's "I Will Lift up Mine Eyes." No audition is required.
The UMF Chamber Choir is a select group of forty singers that performs music from the chamber-choral literature, such as cantatas, motets, spirituals, and madrigals. Auditions are held during the first week of the fall semester. Previous choral experience is a plus, but all interested students are encouraged to try out.
Instrumentalists are invited to join the UMF Community Orchestra and the UMF Band. The UMF Band performs a variety of popular and classical music while the UMF Community Orchestra's programs feature classical works by composers ranging from Bach to Bernstein.
Theatre UMF, the student theater organization, presents four to five productions each year. Auditions are open to all students, allowing everyone an equal chance to gain acting experience and hands-on technical experience, such as working on sets, lights, props, publicity, sound, make-up, and costumes. Students in design classes often design a production.
Theatre UMF is also proud of its strong directing program, which offers three levels of directing courses, involving a progression of experience usually available only to graduate students at large universities. Students begin by directing a scene and progress to directing a one-act play, presented with other one-acts in the fully mounted Spring Festival productions, culminating their experience with directing a full-length play in the Theatre UMF season of productions.
The on-campus Alumni Theater is a versatile black box facility in which almost every staging configuration (proscenium, thrust, and arena) has been presented. The theater has a computerized lighting system and up-to-date sound equipment.
While a Theater/Arts interdisciplinary degree is offered at UMF, many students who participate in Theater UMF have other majors. And every UMF student can attend productions free of charge.
The UMF Dancers, a performing and touring dance company, gives you the opportunity to express yourself through creative body movement. Dance at UMF is improvisational, focusing on the process rather than the product. With its philosophy based on the work Rudolph Laban, the troupe explores styles of movement and emphasizes creation and expression within the context of our own community. The corps draws its dancers from the community as well as from the student body.
If you would rather watch, the troupe presents an annual spring performance on campus as well as performances for school and community audiences.
Lectures, Discussions, and Readings
The Student Senate, Honors Program, academic departments, clubs, organizations, and others sponsor a variety of lectures, open to both the campus community and to local residents. In addition, during the academic year at noontime on Fridays, you can attend UMF Forum presentations on current research and creative work.
The Visiting Writers Series, sponsored by the UMF Department of Humanities and the Student Writers' Guild, hosts renowned poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction from across the country. The writers give public readings of their work and visit classes in the UMF Creative Writing program. Alice James Books, acclaimed resident publisher of poetry, sponsors the Alice James Books Afternoon Reading Series. Visitors to these series have included Grace Paley, Russell Banks, Donald Hall, Hayden Carruth, Tobias Woolf, Lucille Clifton, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Tracy Kidder, Annie Proulx, Tim O'Brien, Maxine Kumin, Bei Dao, Philip Levine, Marge Piercy, Charles Simic, and Anne Beattie. (See the Academic Programs introductory section for more information on Alice James Books.)
Your own writing might appear in one of the campus literary magazines. The Sandy River Review, produced and edited by students with the help of Alice James Books, appears twice a year, offering selected student fiction, poetry, essays, and photos. Voices, which comes out once a year, publishes a selection of some of the best essays written in English Composition classes. Apropos showcases the best academic writing in the humanities.