Alum spotlight: Julia Folkart (BFA ’18)

collage of photos with julia smiling, the set of little shop of horrors, prop macaws

Julia Folkart (BFA, Scenic Design, 2018)

Like many alumni, Julia acted at her Baltimore County high school, but she also created visual art. She says, “stepping into set design was my way of doing both.” She graduated from VCU in December 2018 and started applying for jobs. By end of the week, she was hired by Anthropologie at the Mosaic District store in Fairfax, VA, where she’s in charge of all displays, including the interior, the windows, merchandising and furniture.

Julia standing next to a model giraffe

Julia explains, “Each season there’s a new round of design prototypes, and I sketch how to adapt them to our space.”  The chain’s style used to be more antique and found furniture, which she loved, “one of my favorite responsibilities at VCU was prop shopping.” Since they’ve transitioned to a more modern look, she has to build almost everything. “Being a part of the props department at VCU taught me to be resourceful, to save money and not be wasteful. At Anthropologie, I almost always come in under budget and that’s 100% from my training as a props master.”

an anthropologie store display with flowers and clothes

When Julia was furloughed for one month in March 2020, she went home to visit her family. Her father is a food salesman for Sysco, a large food distribution company, and his comments about his restaurant customers struggling with the challenges of COVID led to her new enterprise—a website called The Avenue.Live.

“Many of my friends are having trouble because theatres are closing down, so I created The Avenue Live.” The original concept of the website was to pair musicians and performers with restaurants. The performers collected tips and split the proceeds with the restaurant (with a commission to Julia and her team).

a screenshot of a website streaming a man cooking with comments from viewers
A screenshot of Chef JR Robinson streaming on The.Avenue

It was started in the Baltimore area, but she designed it to be used by any performer. A singer/songwriter from London is the first international client.  

Julia also keeps her hand in theatre. She’s worked as a paint charge with Avant Bard Theatre Company in Arlington, VA and has done overhire work for Bella Faccia, a large set design and scenery company in DC.

a set with parquet flooring
The parquet flooring is an example of Julia’s work for Avant Bard

While Julia was at VCU, she received the VCUarts Dean’s International Study Grant, which enabled her to travel to London, Paris and Amsterdam to study Art Nouveau. Some of her love of that style was incorporated into her set design for The Little Shop of Horrors at VCU.

woman in restaurant with art nouveau architecture style
Julia in Paris as part of her research grant
The set of Little Shop of Horrors, designed by Julia (VCU, 2018)

Compiled by Liz Hopper, professor emeritus, and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the March 2021 Theatre Alumni Newsletter.