The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees in design, fine and performing arts, with a unique emphasis on creative immersion. Far more than simply an education or preparation for a career, students leave VCUarts with the practical, professional and personal skills needed to make a life in the arts, no matter how they define it. That’s why our programs emphasize both doing and knowing. Why the majority of our faculty are working artists. Why we encourage students to take advantage of the many academic and intellectual opportunities that come with being part of a research university. Today, our graduates can be found throughout the academic and professional fields, and have been recognized with everything from Emmys to MacArthur Fellowships.
US News & World Report ranks VCUarts as the #1 public university arts and design graduate program in the country.
The Virginia Commonwealth University campus is extremely diverse, which is an important factor for many of our students. VCUarts is comprised of sixteen programs and more than 3,000 students. With the inclusion of our campus in Qatar, come an additional 6 programs and another 254 students. It began as one night class taught by Theresa Pollak in the fall of 1928.
Ms. Pollak tells the story of her forty years of teaching in An Art School: Some Reminiscences.
VCUarts has become known as a hotbed of artistic creation and expression. Here, emerging artists explore their potential and strive for high standards set by faculty members acknowledged for their inspiration and achievement.
In the words of a recent graduate, “If you have a drop of artistic talent, and are passionate about your art, these are the teachers to have and this is the place to be.”
If you’re curious to know what some of our alumni are doing, click here to watch short videos that feature alumni from various departments.
Some recent VCUarts honors and awards include:
- 3 MacArthur Genius Awards ($500,000 each) in the last 5 years!
- Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship Award, 2013
- Creative Capital Grant, 2012
- $75K Tremaine Foundation Grant
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards (3)
- 3 Simultaneous $120,000 US Dept. of Education Jacob Javits Fellowships (6 total)
- Guggenheim Fellowships (11), most recently in 2013, with two!
- Joan Mitchell Awards (8), with 2 recipients in 2011
- Pollock-Krasner Awards (4)
- Windgate Fellowships (2)
- United States Artist Grant
- International Sculpture Center Outstanding Student Achievement Award
- University of Wisconsin Outstanding Alumni Award
- West Prize Grand Prize
- Kreeger Museum [Washington DC] Artist Award
- Akademie Scholss Solitude Fellowship [Stuttgart, Germany]
- Dedalus Foundation $20,000 Fellowship [1 of 2]
- National Gallery of Art Mellon Senior Fellowship
- NAEA Southeast Region Educator of the Year Award
- British-Kuwait Friendship Society/British Society of Middle Eastern Studies Prize: Best book [1st 2-time winner]
- Getty Foundation Postdoctoral Grant
- Pola Foundation $20,000 Prize in Craft
- Major Sculpture Commission by Ceaser Peli
- 5 American Craft Council “Leaders in the Field” Designations
- American Academy in Rome Prize (2)
- Society of Illustrators National Gold & Bronze Medals
- Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Awards
- St. Marks (New York) Invited Dance Performance
- Grand Prize Anchorage International Film Festival
- Film of Distinction, Columbia University Film Festival
- Seeds of Tolerance Video Competition $100,000 Grand Prize for an alumnus
- Books from Edinburgh University Press, John Wiley
- Design for Europe: International Prototype Competition Invitational Exhibition [Belgium] & Muji Award 01: International Design Competition [Tokyo]
- Carnegie Hall Performances; Melbourne International Festival of Brass
- 2008 Beijing Olympics Choral Performances
- Lincoln Center Performances
- Washington Post [Theatre & Painting]; Wired Magazine
- International Fur Competition Finalist [Milan]
- Multiple Exhibitions: New York, LA, Europe
- Numerous Theresa Pollak Prizes for Excellence in the Arts for our graduates, including Lifetime Achievement.