February message from the dean

To the VCUarts community,

Academic spaces provide fertile ground for powerful ideas to take root and flourish. They serve as a forum for students, faculty and staff to initiate complex conversations, which can lead to lasting change.

As we celebrate Black History Month, I hope you will participate in the many events planned across the university. The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs has shared a calendar of events that includes a book discussion and exchange, guided walking tours of Richmond’s historic sites, networking opportunities and the annual VCU Libraries Black History Month lecture. Through these events, our community recognizes the great triumphs and moving personal stories of African Americans.

At VCUarts, I encourage you to visit the Anderson exhibition, “As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes,” curated by Jerome Harris and coordinated by Assistant Professor Nontsikelelo Mutiti. It offers a survey of work by African American graphic designers over the past century, promoting the inclusion of black designers into the history of their practice. On Feb. 14 at the Valentine museum, “General Demotion/General Devotion” will reveal design submissions from around the country that conceptually reimagine Richmond’s Monument Avenue. I look forward to how your participation might spark new discussions in our city.

And later in the semester, all faculty, students and staff will be invited to an inclusive forum. It will be an opportunity for us to come together as a school and discuss inclusion, equity, art and how to further cultivate a welcoming environment for all.

Our campus and classrooms invite you to embrace your intellectual freedom as you learn from one another and are sparked to new inquiry and thought. February’s events are opportunities for you to celebrate, explore and to be inspired by our community. The conversations we foster here are critical to the arts, and they require our collective engagement.

Shawn Brixey

Dean | School of the Arts
Special Assistant to the Provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar
Professor | School of the Arts
Affiliate Professor | College of Engineering


February 5, 2019