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Tori Ero, Class of 2014,is a Maryland-born student in Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. She enjoys long walks on the beach and watching romantic summer sunsets, of course. She also loves living in Richmond, and spends her time designing, running and taking salsa classes at the gym, visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, shopping in Carytown, and drinking way too many lattes and iced coffees from the variety of coffee shops in the city. She studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea on a Kinetic Imaging faculty-led trip this past summer, and she enjoyed experiencing such a vastly different culture as well as improving her Korean language skills. Her current goals include honing her graphic design aesthetic, moving into the perfect Richmond-style duplex apartment, and finding a Virginia-made crab cake that does her Maryland taste buds proud.
- Tori was an Irish dancer for six years.
- Tori can make a mean bowl of instant Ramen noodles.
- Tori is a professional nap-taker.
Grace Popp, Class of 2014, grew up in Virginia Beach, fifteen minutes away from the ocean and thirty from the nearest grocery store. Always interested in art, VCU was her first choice for higher education. After her acceptance, Grace moved to Richmond in 2010. Transitioning from rural Virginia Beach to the always-bustling city of Richmond was quite the experience. The environment is teeming with artistic talent, and it was easy for her to fall in love with it. Grace is a Communication Arts major, hoping to one day become an illustrator. She reads as often as she can, refuses to sign up for a Facebook account, and, as disturbing as it may sound, is interested in studying the minds of criminals. She is very excited to share her enthusiasm for the school of the arts with prospective students.
- Grace P tries to read at least two books a month.
- Grace P’s goal for next semester is to find a house with her roommates that is cat friendly.
- Grace P once spent all her money on clothes; now, it all goes to the art supply store. She’s not complaining.
Ryan Martin, Class of 2015, is a native Richmonder and graduated from Henrico High School. She is pursuing a degree in Sculpture and Extended Media, with a double minor in Painting and Printmaking and Art History. Her other interests include history, literature, astronomy, and puppies. She also adores museums and would someday like to venture into curatorial work. She is quite delighted to be working as a VCUarts tour guide, and enjoys the opportunity to show off her school to prospective students!
- Ryan cannot whistle a tune or snap her fingers.
- Ryan loves musicals; one time she got to see “Chicago” on Broadway in NYC.
- Ryan really, really, really, really wants to visit New Zealand, and maybe live there someday.
Daniela Gutierrez, Class of 2014, is a fashionista enrolled in the Fashion Merchandising program. Her love for Media Studies and the French language drove her to pick up two minors as well. Daniela loves to travel to Chile where she was born and can’t wait until she travels the rest of the world. She loves being in Richmond because it gives her a chance to perfect her skills as a bargain hunter, seeking the latest thrifts. And, she loves the fact that VCU is a modest urban campus with a city feel where she can wet her feet at the James River by day and enjoy the nightlife in Richmond by night.
- Daniela’s favorite food is chips and salsa.
- Daniela is skillful at picking locks.
- Daniela has mastered the art of Spanglish.
Jordan Hicks, Class of 2015, is currently double-majoring in Art Education and Craft/Material studies, with a focus in Fiber and Clay. While growing up in central Virginia, Jordan could never go a day without making art. Her love of art continued to blossom as she went through school, and was influenced by her other talents in Latin, literature and science. After graduating, Jordan hopes to become an art teacher of any grade level, and to begin selling the work she makes.
- Jordan H.’s favorite sandwich is banana and mayonnaise on potato bread.
- Jordan H.’s favorite activity is crocheting while watching movies on Netflix.
- Jordan H.’s current obsession is My Little Pony.
Molly Roberts, Class of 2015, was born in Nashville, Tennessee and spent most of her adolescence in Little Rock, Arkansas where she graduated from Central High School. She is majoring in Painting + Printmaking and would like to minor in Craft / Material studies with a focus in metal jewelry and body adornments. At home, Molly enjoys camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors. While at school, she enjoys the many advantages of urban life in Richmond- especially the amazing music and art scenes! Molly hopes to one day attain a Master’s degree in Art Therapy to spread the healing qualities that the process of creating provides. She would also like to spend some time abroad studying art in Europe or doing community art in Africa.
- Molly has seen Death Cab for Cutie three times. (She once even met Ben Gibbard, the lead singer!)
- Molly hates the sound of Styrofoam.
- Molly has never used workout equipment in a gym. (She likes exercising outside!)
Brandon Butts, Class of 2014, is a third year Theatre Performance major, raised right here in Richmond. He knew that he would have to stay instate for college so VCUarts was an automatic choice for him. He was bitten by the acting bug in fourth grade and has been acting ever since. He hopes to be a professional actor, director, and playwright after getting his BFA from his department. In his spare time he enjoys video games, especially Sonic, cooking, and listening to music he’s never heard before.
- If it is food that can be eaten from a bowl, that’s what Brandon prefers to eat it from.
- Brandon thinks that pugs are so ugly they’re adorable.
- For someone who hates the outdoors, Brandon sits outside a lot.
Grace Mae Huddleston, Class of 2014, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She developed a serious interest in making art when she attended a high school that specialized in visual and performing arts. Grace enjoys many forms of expression, such as fibers, sound art, installation, and painting. With a major in Painting and Printmaking, she enjoys the freedom to explore these varying interests and the instruction to make them possible. Last year, with the help of VCU’s funding, Grace traveled to the VCUart’s campus in Doha, Qatar. During her weeklong visit, she attended the Tasmeem International Design Conference. There, she had the opportunity to explore the city and befriend the students at VCUQ. That was her first journey out of the country; now she is itching for more and hopes to travel with the Painting and Printmaking department next summer to Peru to study the culture and draw the beautiful, mountainous landscapes. But in the mean time, she thinks that Richmond offers a ton of great exploring, eating, biking, thrifting, and musical fun. Grace’s goal after school, and a lot of traveling, is to be a professor in the arts, while maintaining a strong studio art making practice.
- Grace H. is the tallest of the two Graces that work as tour guides for VCUarts.
- Grace H. is really into Quantum Physics and wants to learn more…
- Grace H. can often be found trying, and sometimes failing, to get plants to grow.
- Grace H. still thinks dogs are better than cats, despite the Internet’s opinion.
Ginna Shea, Class of 2015, was born and raised in Bedford, which is a rural town in southwestern Virginia. Even though she complains about how small Bedford is a lot, she secretly loves telling people about her crazy high school, the weird small town stories and can’t help but brag about Bedford’s beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was definitely ready for a change though, after being in Bedford for 18 years and eagerly moved to Richmond last fall. She has nothing but great things to say about the time she has spent in Richmond and the Art Foundation program so far. It has been fun, challenging, and rewarding. She was chosen to go to VCUart’s sister campus in Doha, Qatar, this semester with eight other freshmen. This was an incredible trip where she was able to work on a group project with the freshmen students in Qatar, eat delicious food, visit art museums and cultural centers, and even go to a camel race in the desert!! Next semester, she hopes to be in the Sculpture + Extended Media department.
- When Ginna was two years old she asked Santa for a banana and he gave her one in her stocking.
- Ginna fractured her wrist three times.
- Ginna’s first plane ride was the 12 hour flight to Doha, Qatar.
Bridget Ficaretta, Class of 2016, grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York. Currently enrolled in the Art Foundation Program, Bridget is interested in some sort of design-oriented career, whether it is Fashion, Interior, or Game Design. Ever since elementary school, art has been her passion. With VCUarts having such a wide variety of programs to study, Bridget knew that it would be foolish to go anywhere else. Having lived in upstate New York, the move to Richmond was a huge change. She loves the diversity, the green suburbs, the vibrant nightlife and most importantly, the weather in Richmond. At some point, either in her time at VCU or after, Bridget would love to travel to Europe, Ireland in particular.
- Through an internship with a local fashion designer, Bridget designed and made her own dress for senior prom.
- At only 5’ tall, Bridget is excellent at hide-and-seek.
- Bridget has never been on a plane.
Malcolm Peacock, Class of 2016, is a freshman at VCUarts. He is currently enrolled in the Art Foundation program and hopes to become a part of the Communication Arts department. Malcolm was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and spent the majority of his life in Baltimore County, Maryland. He is one of five children and has shown his work in the Baltimore Museum of Art. He has two pet peacocks that he purchased from a farm. His favorite activities include running, eating, and pool hopping. His favorite artists are Chuck Close and Paul Cadden.
- Malcolm hopes that his little sister will become an artist because her natural ability is outstanding.
- Malcolm hopes to attend the Summer Olympics one day.
- Malcolm is obsessed with the television show Breaking Bad.
Larry Camper, Class of 2016, is from Maryland and is a freshman in Art Foundation. He enjoys sports and is inspired by companies such as Nike and Under Armour. Larry was raised in a family of five. He attended Suitland High School in Forestville, where he was a visual arts student and studied sculpture and drawing and painting. He intends to become a fashion design major in his sophomore year at VCUarts. He is part of a clothing line called NDVR (Endeavor Brand Clothing). He has aspirations to head a company that can change the world’s view on fashion and sports, while being an inspiration to young entrepreneurs.
- Larry cries when the Redskins lose.
- Larry has a designed and painted a mural in Prince Georges County Mall.
- Kevin Durant, an NBA player, wears clothing from NDVR, Larry’s line.
Sterling Toppings, Class of 2013, grew up in Washington D.C. and Alexandria, VA before coming to Richmond to study Photography & Film. It was in Sterling’s final year of high school, while making videos with his best friend, that he realized his passion for communicating ideas through film and photography could be pursued in VCUarts. As a senior, Sterling has benefited from the instruction inside and outside of class that he has received from professors and peers. This exposure has matured and influenced him as an artist. Though his primary academic pursuit is centered on documentary filmmaking, Sterling has been able to take a variety of courses outside of his major. Dance, sculpture, philosophy, and science classes have all helped him pursue his filmmaking career and become a well-rounded individual. Sterling’s primary motivation in school, work, and life is the love and joy he’s received and experienced through his family, friends, and his God, Jesus.
- Sterling likes to break it down to Earth, Wind, and Fire when no one’s looking.
- Sterling enjoys teaching English as a second language to international students.
- Sterling’s second favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Michael Walker, Class of 2016, thinks it’s awkward to write about himself in third person. He became serious about making art when he attended high school in Greenville, South Carolina. Now he’s glad to say that he attends the number one public art school in the nation, VCUarts! When he’s not giving tours or in the studio you’ll find him in a museum or gallery. If you want to get on his good side, just make a casual reference to art history. He’s interested in all kinds of art, especially photography and illustration. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll simply reply: “happy.”
- Mike is a triplet.
- Mike is working on a project where he completes one life drawing a day for an entire year. (Ask him for a link to his favorites so far.)
- Mike’s favorite animal is the okapi. Yes, it’s real!
Cameron Spratley, Class of 2016, is from Manassas, Virginia, and graduated from Osbourn High School. Seeing as he doodled on all of his schoolwork and was always the illustrator for group projects in his classes, he naturally chose to go to art school. Cameron’s favorite artist is Kehinde Whiley, who is influenced by Vermeer and Basquiat. Cameron enjoys designing things of all types and hopes to go into the Communication Arts department.
- Cameron has a dog named Hobo.
- Cameron shares his birthday with his older sister and grandmother.
- His close friends and family refer to Cameron as “C-money”.
Heather West, Class of 2014, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in central Virginia. She is currently studying Photography & Film with a minor in Spanish. She was raised by a single mother and started to become interested in art during high school. When looking at colleges, she knew VCUarts was right for her because of the location, reputation, and value. She aspires to take her degree and find a job taking architectural photos for real estate or businesses while also furthering a career in fine art photography, or becoming a curator. She enjoys photo manipulation and has a love for web design.
- Heather changed her mind a few times in AFO before deciding to major in Photography and Film.
- Heather is an avid Korean pop music fan, and spent her summer learning Kpop dances.
- Heather decided to minor in Spanish because she loves communicating with people, and plans to eventually travel and work for the Peace Corps.
- Heather is thankful that she got to go to such a great art school, while still being close to her mom, who is her best friend.
Maxwell Runko, Class of 2016, was raised in Shirley, New York. At the age of 12 his family relocated to Montpelier, Virginia. He began taking art classes in the 10th grade and immediately realized it was more than a hobby. He likes garage sales, thrift stores, riding bikes, and playing tennis. Maxwell is currently a freshman in the Art Foundation Program. His interests range from painting to sculpture to photography. He hopes to go into Sculpture, Photography & Film (with a focus in Photo) or Kinetic Imaging.
- Maxwell has an identical twin brother named Samuel.
- Maxwell can blow spit bubbles off his tongue.
- Maxwell’s great grandparents owned a successful funeral home in New York City during the 1940’s.
Jazmin Ford, Class of 2016, was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina with her two older brothers. She fell in love with art when she was in preschool, where she stayed up during naptime just so she could finish drawing pictures. Jazmin came to VCUarts because she loves the city atmosphere and the amazing student artwork. During high school she really enjoyed working with clay and making large sculptures. She plans on majoring in Craft/Material Studies after she completes Art Foundation. She spends a lot of her free time hanging out with friends and playing music.
- Jazmin’s favorite food is pasta.
- Jazmin had three birds, one hamster, and now has two dogs named Bambi and Fella.
- Jazmin only likes to read books that are a part of a series.
Carmen Jones, Class of 2016, is a Maryland crab majoring in Fashion Merchandising. She eats, sleeps and breathes everything fashion related. Since the age of three, Carmen has been wearing cool threads. Thrift stores are her second home. When she’s not thrifting, she enjoys swimming at her local pool and eating ice cream. One day she hopes to travel the world studying the different trends of all different cultures, and to hopefully have her own boys clothing line.
- Carmen loves CHEESE, preferably Swiss.
- Carmen can’t go a week without eating ice cream.
- Carmen wants to marry a rock star!
Reyna Pannell, Class of 2016, is a freshman who grew up in the rolling farmlands of Maryland. She majors in Music Education with the primary instrument violin, and is the middle child of five children. She has a cat named Shelly, and is afraid of big dogs and E.T. She studied at Baltimore School for the Arts and has traveled to New Orleans to study with Amanda Shaw, jazz violinist. To make her smile you could bring her Milkduds and a burrito from Chipotle.
- Country music makes Reyna’s head spin.
- Reyna loves to make funny/annoying noises.
- Reyna cracks her knuckles constantly.