Meet inaugural arts research fellow Debbie Quick

Rag rug in focus behind a loom

Fall 2017 marked an exciting time for the Arts Research Institute (ARI). We opened our new space in the VCUarts Depot, launched our new website, and kicked off the ARI Research Fellowship for faculty at VCUarts, with Debbie Quick as our inaugural fellow!

The ARI Research Fellow, selected annually, plays a critical role on the ARI team, helping to foster deeper collaborations across VCUarts through programming, including curation of a faculty research exhibition at ARI; support to our Living Lab faculty-in-residence, who explores and experiments in interdisciplinary arts research; and co-development of other events that highlight the depth and breadth of arts research. Most significantly, the fellow receives intensive research development support throughout the year, to further their creative work and scholarship.

Inuagural arts research fellow Debbie Quick

In this role, Quick – in collaboration with Interior Design faculty Roberto Ventura – firstly transformed ARI’s space with her faculty research exhibition, ShapeShifter (2017), featuring work by eight VCUarts faculty representing an array of art and design disciplines. This included Nicole Killian in Graphic Design; Susanna Klein in Music; Pamela Lawton in Art Education; Guadalupe Maravilla in Sculpture and Extended Media; Bob Paris in Kinetic Imaging; Michael-Birch Pierce in Fashion Design and Merchandising; Gaynell Sherrod in Dance and Choreography; and Sasha Waters Freyer in Photography and Film.

Following ShapeShifter, ARI partnered with the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF) to install an exhibition of work by eight artists in RMHF’s Health Equity Arts (HEArts) program. HEArts artists are awarded grants by the Foundation to carry out community-based art projects exploring notions of health and equity. Quick again curated this culminating exhibition, which ran from May 17th through July 22nd in ARI’s gallery space, and drew a wide range of public audiences.

Body casts of women victims of human trafficking stand in a group in the center of a gallery.
HEArts artists Eva Rocha’s sculptures/body casts of women victims of human trafficking and Barry O’Keefe’s woodwork community message board, plus print cards for writing messages. Photo credit: Steven Casanova for VCUarts

Throughout the year, Quick was awarded several solo exhibitions and artist residencies. In summer 2017, she held at 1708 Gallery the first workshop for her mother’s memory community project, through which she collects stories of participants’ maternal relatives and translates them into a beaded tape real. Subsequent sessions were held throughout the year, including one at the Mother’s Room Opening Reception at VCU Cabell Library, and another at the Mother-Infant Unit at VCU Health Stony Point. More recently, Quick held a mother’s memory session at Artspace in Raleigh, NC, which coincided with her Pop In Residency and solo exhibition Errant (2018), and again at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Quick’s work was also featured in two fundraisers at 1708 Gallery, Monster Drawing Rally 2017 and Cabin Fever 2018, the ThinkSmall9 (2017) exhibition at artspace in Richmond, VA, and Remnant Accumulation (2018) at Sediment Gallery in Richmond, which she curated following her 2018 artist residency there. Quick is wrapping up an incredibly exciting, productive year in residence at Mass MoCA in Boston, MA, and her latest work will be on display at an Open Studio event on August 23rd.

We thank Debbie Quick for an incredible year, and for her contributions to ARI, VCUarts, and arts research. Stay tuned as we announce our 2018-19 ARI Research Fellow in the coming days.

Lead image: Debbie Quick’s rag rug and loom from Remnant Accumulation exhibition at Sediment Gallery. Credit: Debbie Quick