The Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts and Cinema and the Town of Blacksburg present the 21st annual Summer Arts Festival. The 2012 lineup of family-friendly events is bigger than ever and includes concerts, movies, theatre, festivals, storytelling, and art exhibits. All events are free.

Beginning June 8, R&B artist Monte Gill headlines the first of eight Friday Night Out concerts. In addition to his talents as a soloist and writer, Gill has toured internationally as a vocalist for Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys. He will be performing with the band The Collective. 

Other concerts in the series feature Gerry Timlin (Irish folk), Surrender Dorothy (funk rock), County Connection (bluegrass), Panjammers (steel drums), Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders (Appalachian, blues and folk), Sexual Chocolate (soul, R&B, oldies), and Celtibillies (Appalachian and celtic). All concerts begins at 6 p.m. on the Henderson Lawn located on the corner of Main Street and College Avenue, on the campus of Virginia Tech. The rain site is Old Dominion Ballroom in the Squires Student Center. 

Storyteller Andy Offutt Irwin will entertain audiences on Saturday, June 9 with a children's show at 2 p.m. and a family show at 5 p.m. at the amphitheater adjacent to Henderson Lawn behind Theatre 101.

"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) returns by popular demand June 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30 at 7:30 p.m. to Theatre 101 on College Avenue. This fast paced production, directed by faculty member Gregory Justice, combines all of Shakespeare's 37 plays into one hilarious romp.

Families with children will enjoy the Roanoke Children's Theatre production of "Go, Dog. Go!" June 17-19 in Squires Studio Theatre. Based on the popular picture book by P.D. Eastman, this interactive stage experience with music and movement is full of fanciful frolic and frivolous fun that promises to please audiences of all ages. 

Movie lovers will not want to miss the chance to see three great movie classics this summer on the big screen at the Lyric Theatre. In June, John Ford's 1940 film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will screen. July brings the nostalgic 1973 film "American Graffiti" directed by George Lucas, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard. The August selection is Orson Welles' 1941 classic "Citizen Kane," nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories.

Two art exhibits will be on display at the Armory Art Gallery. "A Passion for the Outside" will be on display June 1 through July 7, and includes contemporary folk art contributed to the Virginia Tech Collection from the Hahn family. The second exhibit, "Three Graces," is a collaborative art project with photographer Sally Mann, artist and painter Jessie Mann, and laser and light artist Liz Liguori, and will be on display Aug. 3 through Sept. 8. The Armory Art Gallery is located on 201 Draper Road and will be open Monday to Friday noon to 4 p.m.

Other events include the Summer Solstice Fest and Carnival June 22-23; Art at the Market on July 21; Blacksburg's annual Independence Day Celebration on July 4; Steppin' Out street festival Aug. 3-4; and movies on the lawn at the Alexander Black House on June 8 and July 13.

Free parking is available on the weekends and after 5 p.m. weekdays in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540- 231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Squire parking garage or the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

All events are free and open to the public. Additional information is available online or by contacting Jane Harrison at 540-231-5921.

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