This summer, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will honor the 50th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing with “Man on the Moon,” an interactive art and photography exhibit, as well as several special events. At the center of the exhibit will be dramatic large-format historical images from NASA that powerfully convey the significance of the Apollo 11 Mission when American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon’s surface.

Additional art pieces, interactive activities and special events add to the scope of the celebration, which has been designed to reflect the event’s historical significance and highlight the tremendous science and technology challenges required for space travel. The “Man on the Moon” exhibit is the result of the inspiration, research and planning of Livermore resident, photographer and illustrator Ken Ball in collaboration with curator Anne Giancola of Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center. The exhibit officially opens Wednesday, July 10, and will be free and open to the public through August 25. 


The first event for the anniversary will take place the evening before the official exhibit opening. On Tuesday evening July 9 , Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club will hold a “Moon-Gazing” on the Bankhead Plaza from 7-9 p.m. with several telescopes set up to offer a view of the moon (weather permitting). Visitors will also be able to visit the Gallery to preview the exhibit that evening. Although the Moon Gazing event begins at 7 p.m., the view of the moon will become increasingly distinct as the sky darkens into the evening.

A second “Moon-Gazing” event is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6. Both events have been scheduled for evenings when the moon is expected to be most visible and the second event also coincides with the presence of the planet Saturn in the night sky.


On the evening of the exhibit’s official opening, July 10, the film “Apollo 13” will be shown on the new large screen at the Bankhead Theater. The Oscar-winning 1995 film starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon captures the drama of the 1970 lunar launch which experienced an explosion halfway through the mission, risking the lives of the three astronauts aboard. Tickets are just $5 each. 


The Commemoration Art Reception for “Man on the Moon” will be held on the official 50th Anniversary of the lunar landing. Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969 and the reception will be held at the Bankhead on Saturday, July 20 from 1-4 p.m. The free family-friendly event will feature an APOLLO 11 SCALE MODEL of the flight using LED animation. Attendees will be able to use computer FLIGHT SIMULATOR software to try their hand at piloting the Landing Module to a safe resting spot.

In addition, a SOLAR TELESCOPE, which provides a safe view of the moon during daylight, will be set up by the Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club on the plaza during the event.  Beverages and LIGHT REFRESHMENTS will be served, including space and moon-themed snacks. In addition to during the special events, the exhibit is free and open to the public Mondays through Wednesdays from noon to 4:00pm, Saturdays from noon to 6:00pm (except 8/3 and 8/24), and for ticketed patrons during performances.


The exhibit runs through August 25 and there will be a Closing Reception held that day from 6:00 – 8:00pm with light refreshments — don’t miss this final opportunity to see the exhibit and take a visual orbit around the moon!


The “Man on the Moon” art and photography exhibit and related events has been made possible by a grant from Lawrence Livermore National Security, the generosity of sponsors Jeff and Loretta Kaskey, Jean King, and Dan Sands, as well as support from Moonpans, Studio Blue, Ken Ball Illustration, the Wente Foundation, and the Livermore Cultural Arts Council.