George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Guest Artists

At Mason, We Bring Greatness to You. 

Every semester, artists at the top of their field are on our stages, in our classrooms, and with our students.

You will learn from some of the world’s most successful artists in master classes, lectures, workshops, and artist conversations. We bring over 50 world-renowned performing artists to stages on the Mason campuses every year and provide free tickets to students. Many of these same artists come into our classrooms to share their expertise. You'll take in exhibitions by leading visual artists and then hear how they transform their vision into inspiring pieces in our studios. 

Master Classes

At Mason, you'll attend master classes with artists at the top of their field. Learn from the instruction and expertise of these nationally and internationally recognized artists. Master classes regularly happen in our Schools of Art, Music, Dance, and Theater.

Recent master classes include sessions with:

Lectures and Artist Conversations

Mason students can hear guest speakers talk about what it takes to succeed in their fields, personal stories, even the nitty-gritty of their art form. Each semester brings many opportunities to hear from rising stars, renowned masters, and industry leaders in music, filmmaking, visual art, dance, game design, theater, arts management, and graphic design in lectures, conversations, and workshops.

Visual Voices Series features nationally recognized artists and designers in a lecture series, as well as studio visits. Recent speakers include: curator and writer Sue Spaid; photojournalist Louie Palu; Steve Badanes, leader in design/build movement; and public artist Linda BeaumontLearn more.

Pre-performance discussions occur 45 minutes prior to each Great Performances at Mason and Hylton Presents performance. The sessions feature experts in the field, often the artists themselves.

Studio A is a GMU-TV and Film and Video Studies-produced interview show featuring filmmakers who come to Mason to speak with students about their professional work. Recent guests include: director Ron Maxwell (Gettysburg); Peggy Pridemore, location manager (Wedding Crashers and Forrest Gump); Mark Stoeckinger, sound editor (Star Trek and Mission Impossible II and III).

Fimmaker Q&As frequently follow film screenings on campus and provide opportunities for students to gain insight into the field of filmmaking. Recent filmmakers include Lyric Cabral and Cheryl Furjanic.

Computer Game Design industry experts often come to campus as guest speakers to present their work and discuss current issues in the field. Recent speakers include Ken Rowlston, Jay Posey, Rafael Chandler, Peter Lipman, and Bruce Nesmith.

School of Music invited Dr. Ron McCurdy, University of Southern California Professor of Music, to talk on preparing students for the business aspect of a future in music or general arts professions.

Making Connections: Transforming Arts Leadership Three times a year, artists and major arts leaders are brought in for events with students and alumni to address contemporary topics in arts management. These events offer networking opportunities to emerging and mid-career arts managers, and serve to strengthen the connection between alumni and the Mason arts management community. Guests include:

Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and author of The Participatory Museum.

Doug Borwick, Author of Engaging Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.

Artist Residencies

Prominent artists frequently come to Mason for a few days, a week, or a semester to teach and mentor students in their craft. These residencies offer more extended and intensive opportunities to work with master artists.

In the School of Art, Navigation Press brings renowned artists to work directly with students in the creation of an original edition of prints. Recent visiting resident artists include

The School of Dance hosts resident guest artists each year to cast student dancers and conduct intensive rehearsals. Recent choreography includes that of:

In the School of Theater, resident artists frequently teach a course and work alongside students in an acting, directing, or technical role. Recent resident artists in theater include:

Free Tickets to World Class Performances

Part of your arts education should be spent watching and listening to the experts doing what they do best. At Mason, we give students free tickets for more than 100 performances each year at the Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. We believe arts students should be exposed to the best performing arts from around the world, and we prove it: There are 500 free tickets for students for each Great Performances at Mason event. Full-time Mason students are eligible to get free tickets for music, dance, opera, theater, and more.

Recent performers and performances include:

  • Savion Glover
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Mark Morris Dance Group
  • The 5 Browns
  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet
  • Alonzo King LINES Ballet
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Allen Toussaint
  • The Tempest
  • Doc Severinsen
  • Pilobolus
  • Branford Marsalis
  • Falstaff
  • James Galway
  • Parsons Dance
  • Mariza
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman
  • The King's Singers
Schools & Programs