Grand Valley art gallery hosts party to celebrate Mars exhibit

Courtesy / Grand Valley State University

Courtesy / Grand Valley State University

Jenny Adkins

For the previous Fall Arts Celebration event, Grand Valley State University showcased the “Mars: Astronomy and Culture” exhibit, a Martian-themed event to help viewers gain insight on a Martian invasion. The exhibition was curated by the Pasadena Arts Council for the Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Cal. and is a development within the Pasadena Arts Council’s EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship Program. 

Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 31, the exhibit brought together several Martian-themed elements including approximately 40 photographs, movie posters and book covers, as well as drawings and video projections spotlighting Mars. One of the highlighting components of the exhibit included a showcase of Martian-themed toys and collectibles from a private collection based out of Chicago. 

“This event was inspired by the spirit of community collaboration and the impact the plant Mars has had on our culture,” said Art Gallery Programs Manager Stacey Burns. “The event is joint effort among several GVSU departments: the department of visual and media arts, the housing office, as well as the department of music, theatre, dance and the GVSU Atomic Object Technology Showcase.”

To celebrate all things that go bump in the night, a Martian Party event took place on Oct. 31 in the art gallery. During this event, guests were able to enjoy several amenities including creating their own martian antenna, enjoy a performance of Gustav Holst’s “Mars: Bringer of War” by the GVSU Orchestra as well as experience a virtual-reality simulator to experience first-hand life on Mars.  

“This event is new for the art gallery, and it is our first student-centered social event,” Burns said. “The event was created to bring our on-campus community together and celebrate creativity around the Mars and martian themes of our exhibition programming.”

The party continued to Calder Fine Art Center via an invasion-style parade with costumes being highly recommended. Guests were then directed to dancing accompanied by a DJ, pumpkin carving and a costume contest. 

“I was so excited to see the creativity that people bring to the event,” Burns said. “Program presenter and exhibition object lender, Glen Swanson, built a movie replica martian for the event. The costumes I saw were amazing, and I was so excited to hear the performance put on by the GVSU orchestra.” 

The exhibit will be on display in Grand Valley’s Art Gallery, located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. Students, faculty and staff are able to enjoy the Martian fun until Friday, Nov. 9 with the event free and open to the public.