Live showtime returns to Northern Virginia’s Center for the Arts

Celebrate the renewal of 'Arts Emerging' September 25. The curtain goes up on 'Cartography' October 2.

“We are eagerly anticipating the return of live performances to the Center for the Arts,” said Rick Davis, dean of the George Mason University College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Our signature kickoff event—known for 15 years as ‘ARTS by George!’—has been reimagined this year in response to the pandemic. We’re calling it Arts Emerging as a way of celebrating resilience and recovery, and the role the arts have played and continue to play in our communities.

Rick Davis, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, George Mason University. Courtesy George Mason University.

Arts Emerging will be a festive, energetic, outdoor/indoor, family-friendly showcase of artistry, and a perfect way to turn the corner into a new season,” added Davis. The event is on September 25, 2021, with tickets at $10.

Arts Emerging proceeds support student scholarships in Mason’s College of Visual Performing ArtsMason Community Arts AcademyGreen Machine Ensembles, and the Great Performances at Mason season at the Center for the Arts.

The 2021–22 season includes artists and events that the Center for the Arts was able to reschedule after pandemic cancellations last year, including  Cartography, an innovative and timely work about five young refugees who have set out searching for a new place to call home. It is an extraordinary multidisciplinary creation and includes an artist residency component led by co-creator Kaneza Schaal in which the artists will spend time interacting with various Fairfax communities both on and off the Mason campus.

Cartography creates an interactive onstage virtual storm that rises up in response to the actors’ voices and uses cell phones to depict memories. It features live sculpture creation to represent their journeys. And the audience has an active part to play. The performance will be on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

Janice Amaya, Noor Hamdi, Malaika Uwamahoro, Vuyo Sotashe, and Victoria Nassif in ‘Cartography.’ Photo by Elman Studio. Courtesy George Mason University Center for the Arts.

With the pandemic, “we’ve counted our breaths. We are also in a crisis of global proportion; many people are newly understanding their connection to other parts of the world, their direct connection to the breaths of others,” noted Schaal. “Theater has always lived at this intersection — a small immediate community sharing big questions about the world.

Kaneza Schaal, co-creator of ‘Cartography’ to be featured at Center for the Arts. Photo by Christopher Myers. Courtesy George Mason University.

“And this is what Cartography is about, how we can gather in the theater together to remember all the journeys, recent and generations past, that brought us here,” Schall added.

Mason’s Center for the Arts (CFA) has a long history of presenting outstanding artistic experiences for the Northern Virginia community. The CFA opened to the public in October 1990 and has grown to become Northern Virginia’s go-to performance venue. The CFA’s 2021–2021 season of “Great Performances at Mason” is no exception, presenting an incredible range of diverse artists and events as old favorites return and new additions await patrons.

Arts Emerging and Cartography will be presented by George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA: Arts Emerging on Saturday, September 25, 2021, and Cartography on Saturday, October 2, 2021. Cartography is recommended for ages 10 and older. For information and tickets go to or call 703-993-2787.

Health and safety requirements. Everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated, must wear a face covering when inside university property (buildings and vehicles). Seating will be at full capacity for indoor performances except for Family Series events. Outside fresh air supply has been increased by 50% and ventilation systems are running continuously to increase the exchange of air. Details at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here