VCUarts is ranked #1 among public art schools by US News & World Report

Art Adventure Weekends


The following Art Adventures are designed to supplement the Summer Intensive experience. Each Adventure brings students from different disciplines together, empowering them to enhance their creative thinking and problem solving abilities, collaborate in groups, and turn their ideas into realities. Students do not need prior skills or knowledge to participate in any of the Adventures. The Adventures provide another way for students to build credentials for college applications and their portfolios.

Each two-day Adventure will run from 12:15–4:15P on Saturday and Sunday. Please review the following Art Adventure descriptions and select one Adventure per weekend. The $50 fee per weekend entitles students to eight hours of instruction.

Student work will be displayed during the Show Your Stuff exhibition on the final day of the Summer Intensive.

Please note that space in each Adventure is limited to 20 or fewer participants. Adventures will be filled on a first come first served basis.

Students who do not wish to participate in the Art Adventures must go home for the weekend.

**Note that the below courses are from 2016 and are subject to change for 2017.**


Weekend 1

Experimental Printmaking Sampler: Relief, Dry-Point and Monotype
Instructor:  Brooke Inman
This introductory printmaking studio sampler is designed for students beginning to explore the development of their visual vocabulary in printmaking. The two days will cover a variety of visual and technical approaches to two-dimensional imaging by creating multiples. What connects printmaking’s various techniques is the initial production of a matrix from which the image is printed under great pressure to paper and may potentially be reproduced multiple times. Students will create Experimental Hand-cut Dry-Point Plates, a process that is easy, fast, and perfect for learning basic intaglio printing techniques!

Materials to bring:

  • Imagery or photographs from which to draw
  • Printing paper: 4 sheets of Arches Lightweight or Rives Lightweight (19 x 26″ each)
  • Extra fine point sharpie – black or blue
  • Sketchbook (one in use is fine)


Expressive Figure Painting
Instructor: Charlotte Rodenberg
The goal of this workshop is learn about color theory, proportion, gesture, texture & expressionist mark making. Students will gain knowledge of European expressionism, impressionism, and 21st century/contemporary figurative paintings through lecture and videos. Students will draw a series of expressive poses on paper. Next, students will create with acrylic paint, various sized brushes & palette knives on stretched canvas in the style of Velasquez, Van Gogh or Jenny Seville. Students also learn about color theory and art history before creating more expressive poses on paper. They will continue painting by overlaying planar tones, translucent glazes, and finishing details before the final critique.

Materials to bring:

  • A basic acrylic paint set including black, white, Cadmium red, Cadmium yellow, Cobalt blue
  • Additional recommended colors include Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Magenta, and Phthalo Blue
  • A set of wide brushes and a palette knife with a wide or long blade and a point
  • Archival Paper will be supplied for in class work in sizes 11×11”, 14×17” and 18×24”
  • Cups for water, towels and painters tape and disposable palettes will also be provided


Deconstruction/Reconstruction: Found Object Jewelry Making
Instructor: Meg Murtagh
A variety of found materials both natural and man-made will be repurposed and re-imagined in new and innovative ways to create embellished wearable art pieces. Day one will focus on in-depth material explorations through play. Students will dive in head first as they rummage through piles of found materials selecting the most unlikely of candidates for their finished masterpieces. A variety of deconstructive and reconstructive methods will be covered and the tinkering will begin. On day two students will continue to assemble and refine their small wearable works and finalize their plans through embellishment and attention to fine details.

Materials to bring: 

  • Scissors
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Any materials you would like to incorporate in your designs, made-made or natural


Inventive Typography Workshop
Instructor: Kelley White
Students will learn about graphic design through the creation of imaginative collages and posters. They will explore brainstorming techniques, the basics of text and image relationships, and methods for designing symbols. This adventure will begin with a visual overview of the history of graphic design, as well as the importance of typography and its beginnings, from cave dwelling to modern day. Students will develop studies of letter-form combinations and manipulations, as well as a theme and message for a poster, while utilizing graphic techniques that involve hand sketching and image transfer methods. All student work will be created using sharpie and blender markers. For the posters, original drawings and forms are welcomed, and can be reproduced to allow for the transferring of images. All work must be completed during class time.

Materials to bring: 

  • (2) Chartpak Blender Markers
  • Black Sharpie
  • Sketchbook and other pencils/pens for sketching


Weekend 2

Cover to Cover: An Adventure in Handmade Books
Instructor: Meg Murtagh
Students will learn a variety of bookbinding techniques to create journals, sketchbooks, and photo albums. The instructor will give an overview of bookmaking, including the tools, materials, and a variety of processes. On day one the students will learn Japanese stab-binding, how to make a pamphlet book and a notepad. One day two students will learn a more intricate stitching method called “Coptic Binding.” Emphasis will be placed on personalizing and embellishing all books.

Materials to bring:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • 1 or 2 sheets of handmade paper that are about 18x 24″. These may be purchased from an art supply store. Recommended store in Richmond is Plaza Art. Tell art supply store personnel you will be using the paper to cover books and they can help you find the appropriate paper. Make sure the paper is not too thin (nothing that is as thin as tissue paper) but nothing as thick as card stock.


Screenplay Writing
Instructor: Todd Raviotta
This workshop will introduce the structure of screenplay writing, including idea generation in a group, and how to pitch ideas and develop writing goals. Students will define the purpose of efficient writing for departments in the form of screenwriting, including where ideas come from for screen stories. Over two days, students will discuss their favorite films and genres; watch clips about screenwriting and the role of the writer in 20th Century Hollywood; learn about screenplay structure, outline of story blocks, what is a pitch, logline, and treatment; group brainstorming methods; as well as screenplay software and form.

Materials to bring: 

  • Flash drive memory stick
  • Notebook, pencils and pens
  • A file folder or binder to hold the handouts received


Jewelry Design: Introduction to Enameling
Instructor: Kathleen Kennedy
Enameling is one of the oldest techniques used in metal. Originally, it was used to create a substitute for a precious gemstone; however, today artists use enamels to create everything from a painterly image on metal to more three dimensional sculptural forms. This course is focused on introducing the basic skills and techniques used in enameling. Enameling is a process of permanently fusing powdered glass, both opaque and transparent, onto metal by kiln firing. Enameling provides the possibility of introducing brilliant color into metal work using a variety of techniques. The process of enameling is an interplay of metal/powdered glass/heat and allows for discovery and experimentation.

Materials to bring:

  • Sketch pad
  • Pens and Pencils (colored pencils, markers, paints)
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Assortment of small paint brushes (size 1 or smaller)
  • Note: for both days, students need to wear closed toed shoes and pull back


Painting with Unconventional Materials
Instructor: Sarah Coote
This class is for those interested in using more than paint for color. Students will work on collage and assemblage techniques to explore a range of material textures, opacities and transparencies. There will be an art history component in class that will discuss the use of these materials in contemporary art. Different materials such as papers, fabrics and objects will be provided for the class in the beginning of the week, and then we will scavenge for materials outside.

Materials to bring: 

  • Sketchbook and drawing tools
  • 1 Sheet of Stonehenge paper: 18 x 24″
  • Pack of mixed colored paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Canvas: 16 x 20″ or larger


GIF: Untapped Fine Art Medium
Instructor: Josh Rodenberg
Students will gain exposure to and understanding of GIF (graphic interchange format) as a creative medium. Students will be challenged in their conventional ideas of art making, art objects, process, and animation as it applies to the world of digital photography and filmmaking. The essential history of GIFs will be explored, as well as their application throughout web history. Once a basic historical context and understanding is established, students will learn how to use Photoshop to manually create a GIF animation. Finally, the students will use their own GIF, and apply sequential web animation to a fine art context. Students will create a work of art that is to be displayed in GIF format.

Materials to bring:

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencils
  • Flash drive memory stick