Virginia Tech® home


 Two Asian woman in summer clothes smile widely as they watch a community performance, a group of people gathered behind them.

we're here to help

Please reach out with questions about teaching, learning, and engaging with our programs.


Laura Higgins
Exhibitions Program Manager


Performances and Engagement
Jon Catherwood-Ginn
Associate Director of Programming


Kari Heistad
Engagement Manager




A project of Moss Arts Center, Itraab is an ensemble of Virginia Tech students, faculty, and community members who learn and perform Arabic music.



Get to know local and regional artists across all sorts of genres in a free Zoom-based series of conversations.

Finding a Place to Connect

Mohammed Seyam first arrived in Blacksburg over 10 years ago. As he was adjusting to a new culture and community more than 6,000 miles from home — he had traveled from Egypt to attend graduate school at the university — he searched for a place to connect.

Seyam attended the inaugural performance for the Moss Arts Center, the university’s brand new professional presenting arts facility that had just opened its doors. Sitting amongst the sold-out audience, a mix of Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students, along with patrons from throughout Southwest Virginia, Seyam enjoyed an unforgettable performance by the contemporary classical music ensemble Philip Glass Ensemble and he found his place.

“So keep in mind, it was like two months for me moving from my own country to be here, so getting to realize the potential of this place and what I can get out of attending these shows was incredible,” Seyam said of his first Moss Arts Center experience. “I loved that day, and everyone was excited. The spirit was amazing.”

He has since earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. He has raised his children in Blacksburg and received his first post-graduate job at the university. Now a collegiate assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, what Seyam didn’t realize when he stepped foot on campus over a decade ago was what a pivotal role the arts would play in his life in Blacksburg.

Seyam’s experience at that very first performance drew him to the Moss again and again — for performances as well as gallery visits, artist talks, and other special events. He made personal and professional connections and became a valued member of the Moss community.

He joined a committee of faculty, students, and community members committed to offering ideas and input related to the future programming at the Moss Arts Center. The committee’s work paved the way for Salaam: Exploring Muslim Cultures, a multiyear project to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by engaging Virginia Tech students and other communities in Southwest Virginia with the diversity of Muslim cultures through an exploration of stories, images, sounds, and perspectives.

Mohammed Seyam, a Middle Eastern man, smiles while on stage with the Itraab Arabic Music Ensemble, an accordion in his lap.
Mohammed Seyam performs with the Itraab Arabic Music Ensemble. Photo by Jim Thomas.

Salaam culminated in a performance showcasing the voices and creative work of Virginia Tech students and community members who collaborated with visiting artists to explore Muslim cultures through dance, music-making, visual art, hip-hop, spoken word, and poetry.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” he said of the performance. “I started to realize how different people speak different languages, but when they are here [at an arts event], everyone is having fun, despite the fact that we don’t really understand the lyrics. Everyone feels the music. Everyone feels the dancing. Everyone moves with the beats. The idea of getting everyone from around the world in one place … we are lucky to have it [the Moss Arts Center] here at Virginia Tech. This experience, when it happens, it shows the unification of all these worlds in one place for two hours … and I love it.”

Explore Upcoming Community Events

Across all of our work, we bring arts to the community and invite people to examine the beauty, complexity, and diversity of our world. We think of the Moss Arts Center as a sort of living room for the community where we create safe spaces for experimentation, collaboration, and challenging conversations.

The center is a gathering place where you can engage and learn through compelling and diverse voices, artists, and programs.

We partner with external community-based organizations, individuals, and schools to increase the presence, practice, and impact of the arts beyond campus.

It’s All for You!

  • Family-friendly performances that are fun for all ages
  • Free events that help deepen your experience with visiting artists
  • Hands-on workshops and artist talks so you can engage more fully with the visual art in our gallery spaces