Associate Professor in Art Education, Dr. Melanie Buffington, is the lead PI on a team that recently won a $19,700 Community Engagement Grant from VCU. Working with Dr. Liz Cramer from the School of Social Work, Art Education graduate student Jess Norris, the Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC), Transitions Day Support Services, and the VMFA, the group will implement a multi-faceted service-learning and art program for teens who attend the NRC. The teens will learn about nutrition and cooking and then teach these skills to adults at Transitions Day Support Services. As they work on the project, the teens will make a video that includes their reflections about their learning and work with their partners at Transitions. The teens will also plan and lead a tour of the VMFA for their Transitions partners. The project will culminate in a community event for all participants.
Alexander Kreher, comes to VCUarts Art Foundation from Germany. His girlfriend is Zoë Romano, who ran across the US as Alex documented it. Kreher created a short film – his first – of Zoe’s adventure as a portfolio piece. That film, along with “All Those Beautiful Things,” about a woman from Maine, who struggles with OCD and hoarding, impressed PDNedu (Photo District News magazine) judges so much that they awarded Kreher the top prize.
Now, Romano plans to run the route of the Tour de France. Yes, she will run more than 2,000 miles – including mountains. (You may recognize her name, as she spoke at the first TEDxRVA and wowed everyone.) Kreher will join her and document her once again. He has started a Kickstarter campaign for Zoe Goes Running – The Film: Running the Tour de France.
Kreher will also be featured in VCU’s Make it Real campaign.
We can only imagine what Kreher will accomplish during the rest of his time at VCUarts (he’s only in his first year!). Congratulations to Alex and Zoë on their tremendous accomplishments.
Due to the great success of VCU Jazz‘s partnership with the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the project has been chosen as the 2013 recipient of the VCU Community Engagement Award for Research, an award saluting VCU’s efforts to engage its community locally, nationally, and internationally through research. This opportunity brings the music and cultures of Richmond and Durban more closely together thanks to the VCU Global Education Office and the VCU School of the Arts, who have co-funded this grant. The current year’s partnership is still in progress, with a CD and journal-article creation yet ahead.
Photo & Film student Mark Strandquist developed the idea for The People’s Library through his work with the Art Museum of the Americas in DC. His project, which directly involves the Richmond community, receives discarded books from The Richmond Public Library. Strandquist and his collaborators, recipients of an Undergraduate Research Grant, recycle the books into new paper.
The old books from the library have their pages stripped, re-pulped, made into new paper, and then bound into those books again as blank pages. Once these blank books are made, members of the community may check out the books, write/mark in them as they choose, and return them. The books will be a permanent part of the library collection.
This collection will be presented at the Open Engagement Conference in Portland, OR and also at April’s Feast RVA.
The project was recently covered on CBS6.
TED, a platform to share ideas, offers the opportunity for locally organized events. The Richmond version, appropriately named TEDxRVA, brought several passionate Richmond speakers as well as international guests to the stage. Speakers from four different departments within VCUarts shared their ideas and talents based on the theme Create.
Communication Arts Chair Bob Meganck and Associate Professor Matt Wallin spoke about the logic of a universal color system.
Graphic Design MFA student James Walker, new to Richmond, took notice of bicycles missing wheels and started a banner project for Dead Bikes.
Julie Crowder, MFA Art Education alumna and art teacher at Fox Elementary School, shared her RVA Valentines: Love Letter to Our City project. She believes art can’t be contained in the classroom so she reaches into the community to create interactive experiences for her students.
Fashion Design alumnus Michael Birch-Pierce gave us insight into his creative process as he sewed a portrait of a member of the audience.