This summer, VCUarts Theatre student Julia Folkart was awarded a Dean’s International Study Grant to travel to London, Paris, and Amsterdam to sketch, paint and photograph, as well as eat, breathe and sleep the Art Nouveau movements in the cities that bore them. Visiting these major European cities allowed her to study their presence in architecture, interior design, furniture, posters and printmaking. She was interested in expanding her understanding of these movements by observing them in the context of complete holistic aesthetics.

Julia recently reflected on her trip and the opportunity to travel abroad:

Visiting Europe for the first time was incredible for me as a designer—art, history and long retired architectural stylings oozed from every street and metro stop. Each city I visited displayed the delicate whiplash curves of Art Nouveau, and the incessantly detailed Arts and Crafts patterns that you see so little of in the US. I ended up with so many photos and sketches to take back with me, many of which will supplement my set design for TheatreVCU’s upcoming fall musical Little Shop of Horrors! The most inspiring part of my travels, however, was visiting Monet’s home in France. His house, gardens and home studio were such a beautiful and artistically nurturing environment that it’s no wonder his home became the primary subject of his art. My real take-away from this experience was that the more I surround myself with art, the more inspired I am to create. Art begets art, so I can’t wait to see how this amazing trip will continue to inspire my future work.

Photograph of street art that Julia studied while abroad.

Created in 2006, the Dean’s International Study Grant program was started by the VCUarts Dean’s Office to fund students’ international exploration. That first year, six $1,000 grants were awarded to students. Today, up to ten $2,500 grants are awarded each year as the Dean’s Office continues to strive to support international travel and enforce the importance of a global perspective on creative and scholarly endeavors.


September 25, 2018