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AU Arts

A home for the visual and performing arts at American University.

AU Arts

The arts have a prominent role at American University. Rotating exhibitions at the AU Museum in the state-of-the-art Katzen Arts Center emphasize regional, national, and international contemporary art. The Department of Performing Arts, comprised of Arts Management, Audio Technology, Dance, Music, and Theatre/Musical Theatre, provides dynamic, connected, expressive, and fulfilling experiences for all of our majors, minors, and participating students. The Department of Art encompasses Studio Art, Art History, Game Design, Photography, and Graphic Design.

To stay up-to-date on performances and events, join the AU Arts mailing list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Questions? Call 202-885-ARTS or email

Events in the AU Arts Community

Art All Night at the Katzen Arts Center
September 24, 7-10 p.m.
Presented by Tenleytown Main Street

Visit the AU Museum after dark to explore seven exhibitions on view, including a contemporary ceramic group exhibition, portraits from the Corcoran Legacy Collection, mixed media works by artist duo Georgia Saxelby and Devan Shimoyama, socially engaged art by South Korean artist Mina Cheon, work by local artists, and more. Meet artists enrolled in AU’s MFA studio art program during open studios and see their work, and hear live music from student performers from the music program.

More about Art All Night

Fall Dance Concert
Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre
November 18–19, 8 p.m.

The Fall Dance Concert is a mainstage event featuring new faculty work and selected student-choreographed and faculty-mentored projects.

Free for AU students with ID, $10 for alumni, staff, faculty, and senior citizens (55 and older), $15 general admission.

Visiting Writers Series:
Novelist/Essayist Matthew Salesses
September 28, 6:00 p.m. | SIS Founders Room

Award-winning novelist & essayist Matthew Salesses will be reading from his work and signing books. He is the author of seven books, including the national bestseller Craft in the Real World and the PEN/Faulkner finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. Forthcoming in January is a new novel, The Sense of Wonder. He was adopted from Korea and has written about race and adoption in the New York Times, NPR, the Guardian,, and other venues. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University.

Free and open to the public. To request accommodations, please call 202-885-2971, email, or use AU Accommodations Form.

Tickets are free for AU students with ID, $10 for alumni, staff, faculty, and senior citizens (55 and older), $15 general admission.

The Invisible Made Visible
American University Chamber Singers
Daniel Abraham, director
Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center
November 12, 7:30 p.m., November 13, 3 p.m.

Join the Chamber Singers for a program centering the music of outstanding underrepresented choral creators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Fall for Jazz
Directed by Joshua Bayer
Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center
December 2, 7:30 p.m.

The AU Jazz Orchestra and AU Jazz Combo play big band jazz, bop, funk, Latin, rock, and of course swing! Every concert has a full menu of these styles. 

American University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus: Brahms and Sibelius
Conducted by Matthew Brown and Casey Cook
Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center
December 3, 7:30 p.m. December 4, 3 p.m. 

AU Chorus and Orchestra collaborate to perform one of Johannes Brahms' most beautiful and well-known choral works, Schicksalslied, as well as other choral works led by Casey Cook. The orchestra will also present Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' Symphony 2.

American University Symphonic Band
Matthew Brown, conductor
Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center 
November 20, 3 p.m. 

The AU Symphonic Band presents an eclectic variety of selections spanning the Band literature, ranging from century-old classics to relatively unknown contemporary works by living composers.

Free for AU students with ID, $10 for alumni, staff, faculty, and senior citizens (55 and older), $15 general admission.

Tickets are free for AU students with ID, $10 for alumni, staff, faculty, and senior citizens (55 and older), $15 general admission.

Overture promo with black and white photos of students
Directed by Tara Giordano
Musical Direction by Kristin Stowell
Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center
September 30, 8 p.m. October 1, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Overture welcomes to the stage AU’s newest actors from the dynamic class of 2026. Showcasing the unique talents of its performers, this production features music, text, and movement assembled and devised by the student company, in collaboration with faculty director Tara Giordano.

Free student tickets to Overture must be reserved in person at the Katzen ticket office using your student ID. (Hours: Monday–Friday, 11:00 to 4:00 and one hour before performances).

Everybody promo

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Christopher Michael Richardson
Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre
October 20–21, 8 p.m., October 22, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins brilliantly reimagines the fifteenth-century play Everyman for our times. When Death summons Everybody to go on one final journey, they scramble to find someone to accompany them. Everybody is like an onstage lottery—you'll never see the same show twice. With a lively cast of characters like “Friendship” and “Stuff,” this irreverent play full of heart asks us what really matters in the end.

Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and Stories by Christopher Isherwood Music by John Kander Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Carl Menninger, Music Direction by Nathan Beary Blustein, Choreographed by Cate Ginsberg
Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center
October 28 and November 4, 8 p.m. October 29 and November 5, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Daring, provocative and exuberantly entertaining, Cabaret explores the dark and heady life of Bohemian Berlin as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. Descend into the Kit Kat Club for a raucous experience that captures the societal complexities of its time.

“Leave your troubles outside! Life is disappointing? Forget it! In here, life is beautiful, the girls are beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful!”

Sense and Sensibility
By Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Karl Kippola
Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center
December 8-9, 8 p.m. December 10, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Ticket sales launch in October

This breezy and fun adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel follows the Dashwood sisters on their journey toward love and happiness. Contrasting the good judgment and self-control of Elinor's "sense" with the impulsive, uncontrollable emotions of Marianne's "sensibility," this fast and fun theatrical experience embraces the comedy and romance of Austen's brilliant, complex women.

Group 93 Opening Reception
September 24, 3-6 p.m.

Gallery Talk: Sitting Pretty
October 1, 2-3 p.m.
Register on Eventbrite

Curator Carolyn Kinder Carr will discuss the exhibition Sitting Pretty: Two Hundred Years of American Portrait Painting from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, featuring a selection from the nearly one hundred portraits in oil that the AU Museum received from the oldest museum in Washington when it was dissolved in 2014.

Gallery Talk: Kallos
October 8, 2-3 p.m.
Register on Eventbrite

Artist Maria Karametou and Curator Nancy Sausser will discuss the exhibition Kallos. Kallos, Greek for “beauty,” continues Karametou’s exploration of identity. This was first sparked by her own personal history of migration and displacement, inspiring her to create highly original pieces that also resonate on a universal level.

Gallery Talk: Haunted Koreas
November 12, 2-4 p.m.
Register on Eventbrite

Artist Mina Cheon and critical theorist Avital Ronell will discuss the exhibition Haunted Koreas. A South Korean new media artist, Cheon works for Korean unification with her North Korean alter ego counterpart, Kim Il Soon, through “asynchronous communication.”

Events are free and open to all.

Fall at the AU Museum

Exhibitions on view September 10–December 11, 2022.

Katzen Arts Center Exhibitions Group 93

September 11–October 17

Since 1990, Group 93 artists have shared an affiliation with American University and a dedication to the rigor of a critique method and discussion developed by artist and professor emeritus Luciano Penay. As individuals, they have shown their work at various venues throughout the United States and around the world. The artists have diverse professional backgrounds and individual approaches to visual language and have made a significant contribution to the Washington area art scene. This exhibition is a testament to their dedication.

COVID-19 Update

To ensure everyone's health and safety, all guests attending AU events must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior, and a photo ID. Masks are encouraged, but optional. Learn more about our COVID-19 protocols.

Devan Shimoyama, Self-Portrait as Aaliyah, 2022. Mixed media on canvas over panel, 48 x 36 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta. Featured in Make-Believe.

Joan Burnbaum, Untitled. Acrylic on canvas, 31 x 31 in. Courtesy of the artist. Featured in Group 93.

In the AU Arts Community

People on the AU quad

Announcement ·

Meet the New College of Arts and Sciences Faculty!

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From More Clay - David Hicks, Triptych Composition (Panels #1, #2 and #3), 2021

Arts ·

AU Museum Exhibits Open Sept. 10

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Mina Cheon (Kim Il Soon), Umma Rises: Towards Global Peace, 2017.

Arts ·

The Arts Return to American University this Fall

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