Mars Fest

Join the Barry Art Museum on a voyage to Mars! This fall, the second annual Public Arts Festival at ODU is proud to present Mars: a large-scale sculpture by UK-based artist Luke Jerram. Building on last year’s journey to the Moon, Jerram’s red planet shimmers at nearly 23 feet in diameter; an approximate scale of 1:1 million. Each centimeter of the sculpture represents 10 kilometers of the surface of Mars, and pairs its galactic imagery with lights and custom surround sound.  

Serving as a meeting point on 43rd Street, Mars brings the Tidewater community together for three out-of-this-world nights, featuring presentations and performances by ODU students, professors, and local heroes. Join us for an adventure full of food, vendors, dance, music, and conversation, all exploring the Martian landscape and igniting the imagination of young and old. Alongside lively activities every hour on the hour, telescopes are available to observe the actual red planet. The Barry Art Museum will also be open to welcome visitors with hands-on activities from our partners at NASA Langley. 

Mars is an excursion – a celebration of art and science – that we hope you will be a part of. 

Oct. 14th – Oct. 16th

6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Free and open to the public

Click Here for Volunteer Sign-UpSponsorsPrograms


The Barry Art Museum is grateful to artist Luke Jerram, the Exhibition Advisory Committee, Old Dominion University, NASA Langley and all of our enthusiastic community partners for their generosity and collaborative spirit in the creation of this exhibit and related festival programming.

COVA Brewing Company

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

COVA Brewing is creating the featured beverage of Mars Fest. Purchase a frosty tallboy of Red Planet Red Lager at the "Black Hole" & "Big Bang" Bars by Aramark on the festival grounds. COVA Brewing will also be popped-up on steAm street. Stop by for merch, coffee & more.

Warehouse of Theatre Outdoor Projections

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Come enjoy otherworldly projections of Mars' surface - and other entertaining visions - all along the festival grounds orchestrated by the ODU’s very own artistic team Lee Smith and Katherine Hammond. Their installation features a collaboration between Warehouse of Theatre with ODU Theatre and Film students.


October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

This exhibition features selections from hundreds of self-taught artworks in the permanent collection of the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries.  With many works made from found and repurposed materials, and with their visual commentary on communities and the hellish costs of social ills, they support the theme of sustainability—social, environmental, and economic—during ODU’s themed semester this fall.

DesignHer: Works by Contemporary Women Graphic Designers

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

DesignHer is an exhibition of contemporary graphic design focusing on women practitioners. Highlighting how women have been at the forefront of defining and challenging the conceptions of design, the exhibition presents a sampling of the various purposes design is put to in our culture and the motivations that prompted its use. Participants range from younger artists building a reputation to internationally renowned leaders in the discipline, and works range from individually crafted objects to mass media campaigns.

Bio-inspired Robots for Martian Exploration

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Interest in robots?  How about in space?  Featuring bio-inspired robotic crawlers that borrow inspiration from quadrupedal animals like frogs, lizards, elephants, and cats, the applications for these crawling robots include emergency response at disaster sites and search & rescue in uneven terrain environments. Their suitability for exploration in Martian environments will be highlighted.

Shelter in Space with Virginia MOCA

October 14 | 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Interactive STEAM table provides visitors a chance to design a shelter for life on Mars, inspired by unique conditions found on the big, red planet!

Chrysler Museum Mobile Glass Studio

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

It may not be fresh-from-Mars glass, but the Chrysler Museum Mobile Glass Studio will rock your socks off with an astounding presentation on the glass-blowing process!

ODU Space Systems Laboratory

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 15 | 10:00 pm

This program will provide an insight into Satellite and Space activities at Old Dominion University's Space Systems Lab. As part of the exhibit, a classroom satellite kit will be showcased. An insight into the anatomy of a satellite will be provided.

Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Come observe the sky with local astronomers! BBAA members will set up telescopes in front of the TED Center. Corner of Hampton blvd and 43rd St, Norfolk, VA 23508

Martian Headbands with Lil Truck of Tools

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Construct a martian headband using a variety of skill sets. Donations encouraged. 

Hermitage Museum & Gardens

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Pop-up installation and family activities!  Led by local artists!

Glow Bike Ride with the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation

October 14 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Selden Market Booths and Retailers

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Local retailers hailing from Selden Market appear in our orbit for an out-of-this-world opportunity you don't want to miss!  Here's your chance to take home a piece of Mars Fest.

Red Planet Readings with ODU Master of Fine Arts Program

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 9:00 pm

Graduate and Undergraduate students will read personal, original pieces of literature - all about Mars, space, and beyond!

The Last Resort Arcade

October 14 | 6:00 pm - October 16 | 10:00 pm

Sponsored by ODU Game Design and Development and VMASC, The Last Resort Arcade features Mars, robot, and space-themed video games, alongside VR gaming experiences provided by New World VR.

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View other installations of Mars from across the globe.


Mars Fest Community Partners:

African American Creative Community Series Inc.


Arts 4 Learning

Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries

Chartway Arena

Chrysler Museum of Art

Cova Brewing Company 

Drum Your Dream

Elizabeth River Trail Foundation

The Governor’s School for the Arts

The Hermitage Museum & Gardens

Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience

Jefferson Lab

Lil Truck of Tools

MarsCon Virginia

Michael and Kimthanh Lê Planetarium



Norfolk State University

Red Crooked Sky

Selden Market

Slover Library

STEM ADY-Amplified Youth Inc.

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

Virginia Space Grant Consortium


ODU Partners:


Arts @ ODU

College of Arts and Letters

Dance Program

Department of Game Design, Development, and Criticism

Department of World Languages and Culture

Department of Communication and Theatre Arts

Diehn School of Music & Virginia Wind Symphony

Educational Foundation 

Film Program

Facilities Management and Construction

Geography Program

Masters of Fine Arts Program

Michael and Kimthanh Le Digital Theater Planetarium

Office of Community Engagement

Office of Research

Office of Risk Management

Real Estate Foundation

Society of Physics Students

Space Systems Laboratory

Strategic Communications 

Transportation and Parking Services

University Bookstore 

University Library

Writers in Community