Free Teen Studio Program

Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
February 2 – April 6
VCU Fine Arts Building
1000 West Broad St.

The VCU Sculpture Future Studio is a free 10-week Saturday program that provides Richmond teens with hands-on artmaking experience in VCU’s nationally recognized Sculpture Department.

Weekly sessions take place on the Monroe Park campus in a studio environment where participants engage in the important work of finding their individual voices while growing together as a group. With an emphasis on the creation of art, the program also includes visits to VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art, lectures, portfolio workshops and an opportunity for teens to publicly exhibit their artwork in ART 180’s Atlas Gallery.

With a low teacher-to-student ratio, mentorship program, free materials, bus passes and lunch provided for all students, the Future Studio is designed holistically, keeping in mind the “entire student” within a diverse, rigorous and nurturing atmosphere.

The Future Studio is where tomorrow’s artists can claim their space, reimagine the world around them, and have their own vision be taken as serious fact.

Benefits for Students

What to Expect

    As a student of the Future Studio, you will:

  • Make artwork in a world-class sculpture studio
  • Learn about tools and materials that artists use today
  • Develop your portfolio in a college setting
  • Discuss current issues with a diverse group of peers
  • Learn about careers in the arts from professional artists

Who Should Apply

Benefits for Students

Future Studio participants will become empowered through the experience of working on art projects led by professional artists. Students will:

  • Develop their individual voices through creative problem solving
  • Receive hands-on training on a variety of tools and technologies
  • Enhance their knowledge about arts and culture
  • Expand their perspectives about education and career choices
  • Develop their portfolios for future opportunities
  • Expand their support networks within the Richmond arts community

Who Should Apply

    Current sophomore, junior and senior high school students across the Richmond region are encouraged to apply. Applicants should be curious, self-motivated, creative and eager to try new things. No prior experience in making sculpture is expected or required.


What is Included

All Future Studio participants are provided with:

  • Materials, tools and safety gear
  • A round trip bus pass for each class
  • Lunch
  • Museum fees

Application Process

The application is free and simple. Students who wish to apply need to fill out the form by 1/22/2019 in order to be considered for the program.


Michael Demps

Future Studio Teacher

Michael Demps

Michael Demps hails from Detroit, and has recently received his MFA from Yale, and a BFA from CalArts and has attended prestigious residencies such as Skowhegan, The Fountainhead Residency in Miami, and recently the Reading Zimbabwe Residency, in Harare, Zimbabwe. His work has been shown throughout the US and abroad, and was included in the 2017 exhibition “Fictions” at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Francheska Alcantara

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Francheska Alcantara

Francheska Alcantara is a multidisciplinary artist from The Bronx, NY who looks at domestic life and signifiers of Caribbean culture and the diaspora to explore slippages of identity, fragmentation and longing. Alcantara has exhibited and performed work at the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Queens Museum, La Mama Theater and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!). She is a graduate of Hunter College, NY and Old Dominion University, VA. Currently, Francheska is pursuing a MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. Please check out her work at www.francheskaalcantara.com

Joy McMillian

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant


Joy McMillian was born and raised in Richmond. She attended Thomas Jefferson, where the art room was her safe space and she found mentors in her art teachers. Coming from a southern Black family with few college graduates, she was expected to be a lawyer or teacher, not obtain a degree in the fine arts. As a current sculpture major at VCU, she writes, “I am excited to work with local high schools to help encourage young people on their creative journey. I think it is important to make them aware of all the opportunities and support networks they have for continuing their education and exploring their passion for art.”

Michael Cabezas

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

Michael Cabezas was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, and went to a public high school with a poorly funded art department. After studying biology at a junior college for 3 years, he decided he wasn’t truly passionate about the subject, so he decided to transfer to VCUarts to pursue fine art where he is now a Sculpture major. He writes, “I wasn’t made aware of the possibilities that come with a fine arts degree. I think the Future Studio is crucial for providing high school-aged students an outlet for information and to influence their creativity.”

Matt King

Future Studio Program Director

Matt King is the Chair of the VCU Sculpture Department, and has been a VCUarts professor for over ten years. A first-generation college graduate, he grew up in Massachusetts and moved to New York City to attend art school when he was 18. Since then his sculptures, photography, and drawings have been shown in galleries and museums throughout the United States and in Europe. He holds a B.F.A. from Cooper Union and an M.F.A. from Bard College. www.mattkingstudio.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does the program cost?
A: The program is free to all accepted students. Lunch and art supplies are included each week. There is no application fee.

Q: Do you only accept students from Richmond Public Schools?
A: No. The strength of the Future Studio lies in the diversity of its participants. Students attending any high school across the Richmond region may apply. However, RPS students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Q: I am a high school freshman. Can I apply?
A: Not yet. The program is only open to current sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Q: What do you mean by “nationally recognized?”
A: The VCU Sculpture Department has been the #1 ranked Sculpture Program in the country for over a decade, as ranked by US News and World Report. Join us!

Q: How big is the Future Studio program?
A: We limit the class to 15 students from high schools across Richmond.

Q: Do I need to know how to make sculpture in order to participate?
A: We do not expect applicants to already have experience with sculpture.

Q: If I didn’t get in, can I reapply next semester?
A: Absolutely.

Q: Do I need parental permission to attend the Future Studio?
A: Yes, you will need to have a parent or guardian sign a permission form once you are accepted into the program.

Q: How do I get to the VCU Fine Arts Building?
A: The Fine Arts Building is located at 1000 West Broad St, at Schaefer Street. Round trip bus passes will be issued for students who wish to take the GRTC. Paid parking is available at the West Broad Street parking deck, located across the street.

Q: Will I get college credit for attending this program?
A: College credit is not offered through the Future Studio.

Q: Can I attend only for half of the day or some of the classes?
A: Your full participation is crucial to the program’s success. We expect all students to attend every session for the full class period.

Q: I didn’t get in to the Future Studio, should I still apply to VCUarts for college?
A: Absolutely. The Future Studio is a small program in a large art school. The admission process for the Future Studio is completely separate from admission to VCUarts and in no way reflects your chances of getting in. Students wishing to apply to VCUarts can learn more here.

Still have questions? Please email us at futurestudio@vcu.edu or call at 804-828-1511

Program Partners

The Future Studio is a partnership among the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, ART 180, and the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art.


The Future Studio is made possible by the VCU Office of Community Engagement, The VCUarts Dean’s Office, and generous support by corporate sponsors and private individuals.