Arts & Humanities

Visualization Program Going ‘Back To The Future’ With 30th Annual Viz-a-GoGo

“Viz to the Future Part II” will take students and visitors on a journey of artistic expression as A&M’s nationally-famous Viz program celebrates a new chapter in its history.
By Luke Henkhaus, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications April 26, 2023

a "Back to the Future"-styled graphic showing the dates and times of this year's Viz-a-GoGo (also available in the text of the article)


Some of the brightest minds from Texas A&M University’s School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts will take over the Rudder Theatre Complex this week, inviting the campus and community to witness creative works ranging from traditional sculpture and painting to video games and virtual reality.

From April 26-28, A&M’s award-winning visualization program is celebrating its past and looking to the future at the 30th annual Viz-a-GoGo, a sprawling exhibition showcasing the best works by undergraduate and graduate students. The event will also include a screening of student-produced short films and other media on April 27 at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.

This is the first Viz-a-GoGo since visualization united with the dance and performance studies programs to form the new school in late 2022.

“I think it’s a really unique display of student creativity,” said Toby Johnson, a recent graduate of the program. Johnson is one the “Vizionaries,” a group of student volunteers who plan and organize the exhibition each year.

With hundreds of students submitting wildly different projects, it takes a discerning eye and plenty of long hours to choose the most outstanding pieces for display, said Isabella Bradberry, exhibition director and a visualization senior. This year, the team received around 650 submissions, and less than 300 will make the cut: “This is the best of the best,” Bradberry said.

a photo of a young man and a young woman overseeing a group of students placing paintings and other works of art on boards for display
Isabella Bradberry and Toby Johnson discuss the setup for the Viz-a-GoGo exhibition Tuesday at the Rudder Exhibit Hall.

Rob Clark/Texas A&M University School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts

As the team celebrates three decades of Viz-a-GoGo, they are paying tribute to the previous artists and organizers who have made the event an enduring success, even revisiting the “Back to the Future” motif used for Viz-a-GoGo 20 back in 2013.

This year’s event, “Viz to the Future Part II,” will showcase the continued growth of the program along with new advancements in technology and student achievement, Bradberry said.

“We’re bringing in different elements from the past but also looking forward to whatever Viz might be in the future,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for alumni to visit and see what is going on within the program, but it’s also our outreach to the university as a whole.”

For visitors, the event offers a chance to explore the ever-expanding horizons of artistic expression, Bradberry said. As always, Viz-a-GoGo revels in the new, the exciting and the unexpected.

“I think Viz-a-GoGo has a lot of potential to teach people things that they would never have known,” she said. “You don’t realize what all goes into an animation project, and the same can be said for gaming or virtual reality or interactive pieces.”

For a dedicated community of current and former Viz students, the exhibition provides an opportunity to bond over shared experiences and passion for their craft. Johnson, who serves as this year’s screening director, said seeing his classmates’ projects on the big screen is always the perfect way to close out the semester.

“It’s a nice highlight to the year,” Johnson said. “You have this huge group of people, almost like a movie premiere, watching all of the students’ work. People are laughing and screaming, it’s really fun and really rewarding to see.”

Viz students and alumni can expect to see some familiar faces and a good number of inside jokes, Johnson said. The screening will be followed by an award ceremony recognizing the best works from each creative medium, along with an overall award for best in show.

“At its core, it’s a celebration of student work,” Johnson said, noting that events like this help the program remain close-knit even as the visualization family grows larger each year.

As Bradberry notes, “It can be a little unnerving to think about it growing so large, but at the same time, events like this can still happen and I think we can really up the quality of what we produce. As long as we have the resources to provide for that growth, I think Viz has super good potential in the future.”

Details:  The exhibition is Wednesday, April 26 through Friday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Rudder Exhibit Hall. Gaming and virtual reality projects will be available to play from 2 to 7 p.m. The screening is Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at Rudder Theatre. Free.

This article by Luke Henkhaus originally appeared on the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts website.

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