Undergraduate Research Grants

The Undergraduate Student Research Grant program provides $25,000 in funding per year with the purpose of encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking and scholarly investigation into an interdisciplinary project or subject of interest relevant to the student’s major.

Each year, students from majors across the School of the Arts apply for grants to make their projects a reality. Students are encouraged to include majors from across the university. Each student team can request up to $3,000.

The grants have specific stipulations that are in place to encourage cross-disciplinary work and promote faculty/student collaboration. The grants are open to applicants seeking funding to complete research or creative work that is interdisciplinary, involves student collaboration, and draws on the expertise of a faculty mentor. Faculty mentors selected by each interdisciplinary team will receive a $500 research stipend for their participation.

Download the 2017-18 Application

For more information on VCUarts Undergraduate Research Grants, please contact artsugrg@vcu.edu.


Past Recipients

View full, detailed list


Coyle, Cummings, & Lowe
This group will study an abandoned particle accelerator and present our findings in a multimedia installation that will engage the viewer in a conversation of scientific advancement, personal loss, and national unmet potential. Award: $2,535.54

Fundamental Solitude
This group will create an installation that explores the phenomena of jail construction. Award: $2,435

This endeavor will challenge and develop the way we work as dance artists by collaborating with students in different disciplines to support the process of producing an evening length dance performance. Award: $2,730

Capturing the Quadruped in Motion Capture Systems
This group plans to build upon the motion capture resources in the Depot by adding the capabilities for quadruped motion capture. Award: $915

Forgotten News, Forgotten Names
This team proposes a series of events to follow the initial public screening of “Hell You Talmbout,” co-directed by Denzel Boyd, including a screen printing session and a social dance workshop–engaging the community with the themes of the film. Award: $2,702

Vmodern Furniture Design
This team seeks to design a suite of handmade, non-traditional stools that provoke playfulness, imagination, and positive social interaction. Award: $1,645

The Fire Fawn
An innovative use of CGI will be employed to present the story of The Fire Fawn, which will screen at the end of the spring semester, 2017. Award: $1,850

Edmund the Snail – Stop Motion Animated Short Film
This team’s goal is to produce a stop motion short film titled Edmund the Snail, in which a little girl steps on a snail and is haunted by its ghost. Award: $1,500

Lumarium is an interactive sensory environment combining new media and tactility in a non-traditional exhibition experience. Award: $2,443

A Sustainable Digital Art Show
This group will address the problem of E-waste through an exemplary curated show of digital art that examines the implications of E-waste’s dispersion. Award: $1,900

The Unghosting of Black America: An Exploration of the Black Experience and Racial Relations through Visual Poetic Drama
Through the collaborative development of Visual Poetic Drama in a nontraditional theatre space, this project will investigate the portrayal of the black experience in a variety of forms (theatre, literature, and visual art). Award: $3,000

Shifting Focus on Identity, Community & Inclusivity “By what means do you understand yourself in the world?”
This group intends to film interviews in Richmond, Baltimore, New Haven and New York City to be digitally uploaded and accessed through a public website domain. Award: $530

2015 – 2016

The Drag Lab
The Drag Lab is a collaborative project with an initial focus on androgyny, fashion, identity, and cooperative art-making, the project seeks to communicate developments in gender performance through the lens of visual art. Award: $2,679

Frame Your Future
Partnering with Art180, the team will teach middle school students crafting techniques that will be applied to decorate a frame symbolizing their future. Award: $1,614

GeOh (mobile app)
The GeOh project will develop and release a social networking mobile application built on mapping technology, GPS and upvote/downvote systems to crowd source and show users the most relevant events in their location. Award: $1,822

Re-examining the Piano Action
This project will try to understand a sound phenomenon between skilled and novice piano players by using Fourier analysis to identify nuances in the sound produced by a variety of playing techniques. Award: $2,000

Coding Literacy in the Arts
The intent of this project is to form a community around programming in the arts through an interdisciplinary arts workshop with the necessary tools to build the systems that will bring algorithmic drawing into the physical world. Award: $2,138

Human vs. Nature Microscopic Exploration
This team of scientific illustration students will use a digital dissecting microscope with a camera to examine relationships between specimens, both natural and artificial, gathered from the VCU Monroe Park campus. Award: $2,550

Adorning the Censored Body
The team will create adornments for various women’s nipples and organize a performance exhibition of the work, inspired by the wearable art of Lauren Kalman. Award: $1,700

A Girl and Her Alpaca: An Animated Short Film
An interdisciplinary team is creating an animated short about a girl and her alpaca, revolving around the kindness of strangers, the sharing of traditions and the magic encountered through animation. Award: $1,760

Marriage of Metals
This team intends to facilitate a conversation about the mediums of printmaking and metalsmithing by breaking traditional barriers and experimenting with the application and integration of their respective techniques such as etching, chasing, and relief. Award: $1,700

Stand Up/Break Down
This team creates an original web series about a young woman in a spiraling quarter life crisis who decides to reinvent herself as a stand up comedian. The problem: no one thinks she’s funny. Award: $2,760

This team will research the harmful effects of fast fashion as it relates to sustainability, both on the fashion industry and the environment. Award: $1,645

2014 – 2015

Ropewalkers Richmond
This team, involving fine arts and engineering students, will be engaging the community through a series of performances using a portable rope-making mechanism modeled after 17th century Ropewalks which are long, narrow paths where ropes are manufactured. Award:

The Urban Forest
Attempting to solve the problem of trees in cities, with roots that break sidewalks and cause property damage by falling limbs and branches during a storm, this project is inspired by Natalie Jeremijenko’s 1999 work “Tree Logic.” Award: $3,337

Testing Woodwinds
This project combines the disciplines of music and psychology by studying mindfulness, an enhanced awareness to a present experience that has been found to increase information retention. Award: $3,500

This team will address the problem by handcrafting a board with less impact on the environment while maintaining the quality of mass produced boards. Award: $3,500

Postmodernism for Kids for Adults
A transdisciplinary art book will be produced that makes the abstract concepts of postmodern/contemporary art relatable and engaging to a wide audience. Award: $1,500

This team will send a werkblad (a fillable form) and handmade object (that resemble office supplies suggesting graphing, recording, measuring, or making a space) to participating studios. Award: $2,530

Interactive Children’s Concept Book
This team will develop a children’s concept book that incorporates technology to enhance a beginning reader’s learning experience. Award: $1,070

Architecture — Fashion Design
In an attempt to further understand the elements and fundamentals of architecture when applied to fashion design, a student from Interior Design will help a student from Fashion Design understand the core fundamentals such as proportion, scale, rhythm, circulation, and the process behind concept models and sketches. Award: $2,180

Satirical performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
This team will produce and perform a satirized version of popular musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, using comedy to mock and put a modern perspective on the gender insensitivities in the play as a way to explore societal norms at the beginning of the 20th century. Award: $2,750

Small Living Space

The shell of a short bus will serve as a social laboratory for creative and sustainable housing. Award: $3,000

2013 – 2014

Afghanistan’s Rubab – The Lion of Instruments

This project is intended to preserve and expose Afghan Classical Music by creating a smartphone application of Afghanistan’s national instrument, the Rubab. Team: Sulaiman Popal, Music, Matthew Hill, Computer Science. Award: $2,500

Richmond Auf Deutsch

Through both visual and historical research, and will reveal the Germanic roots of Richmond to the broader community. Team: Inga Schunn, Photography & Film, Bethany Gingrich, Craft/Material Studies with a minor in Art History. Award: $4,500

musicspace.edu: Education re-form through space and creativity

This project will study the effects of the current educational environments on the creative individual. Team: Chanel Hurt, Music, Anthony Martin, Interior Design, Christina Merritt, Psychology. Award: $5,000

Richmond’s Arts & Culture District: Documentary & Community Forums

Students will Investigate successful examples of cities that have transformed their artistic communities. Team: Lauren Cronan, Photography & Film, Gabby Namm, Film, David Reisinger, Film, Kim McNamee, Film, JiYoon Cha, Graphic Design, Beverly Ware, Mass Communications, Rebecca Begans, Anthropology, Charles Wilson, Urban Planning, Natalie Moles, Urban Planning. Award: $5,000

Science of Filmmaking

This project will explore the organic nature of photochemical film and the various aesthetic qualities achieved through different processes of filmmaking. Team: Cody Huff, Film, Alexander Kreher, Film, Aaron Wilson, Chemistry and Biology, Christopher Lewis, Painting and Printmaking, Samantha Correa-, Art Education and Photography. Award: $5,000

Kids Curate

Students from Art Education, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Advertising and Marketing work together with middle schools in the Richmond community to teach what it means to have a visual arts related career. Team: Shannon Brady, Art Education, Jane Taylor, Creative Advertising, Ally Palmer, Creative Advertising, Leah Schmidt, Graphic Design. Award: $3,800