CONTACT: Suzanne A. Silitch, APR
Director of Communications, VCU School of the Arts
(804) 828-6819

VCU School of the Arts awards more than $50,000 in Faculty Research Grants
Faculty to conduct research in dance, animation, sculpture, music and more

RICHMOND, Va. (December 6, 2018)—Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Dean Shawn Brixey has awarded $54,529 in Dean’s Grants for the 2018–19 academic year. This year, the program provides $14,911 in funding for exploratory grants, and $40,118 in funding for research grants.

The Dean’s Faculty Exploratory Grant supports research at the developmental stage, allowing faculty to conduct new research, explore new media, or collaborate in experimental ways. Exploratory grants assist faculty in developing research that could lead to successful applications for Faculty Research Grants and/or external funding opportunities.

Three exploratory grant recipients were awarded. Josh Rodenberg, Kinetic Imaging instructor, will prototype an augmented reality musical instrument. Justin Alexander and Tabatha Easley, assistant professors of music, will explore how flute percussive traditions in indigenous communities in southern Colombia can inform musical practice and pedagogy. Finally, Emily Smith and Sara Reed, both assistant professors of interior design, will partner to study pattern in Virginia’s built environment and communicate stories of migration, social status and accessibility.

The Dean’s Faculty Research Grant program supports the final stages of research for which venues for dissemination have been determined. Research grants are awarded for specific activities that have been invited or endorsed by peer review. Research grants typically support faculty exhibition, demonstration, activity, publication, or performance in national and international contexts.

Sample research projects include Kinetic Imaging faculty Orla McHardy’s Nitefeedz, which uses animation to explore caregiving and reproductive labour, and the interrupted time of motherhood. Craft/Material Studies faculty Aaron McIntosh will exhibit Invasive Queer Kudzu, a project with a growing accumulation of 4,200+ LGBTQ story leaves, throughout the South.  Dance faculty Eric Rivera will present original choreography at an international dance festival in San Juan. Rivera’s new work will explore “Bomba,” a music and dance tradition shaped by Puerto Rico’s African heritage.  Additional recipients include John Freyer, associate professor of photography and film; Michael Jones McKean, assistant professor of sculpture and extended media; Corin Hewitt, associate professor of sculpture and extended media; Karen Kropyanski, assistant professor of theatre; and Nicole Killian, assistant professor of graphic design. A diverse range of partners are involved in these projects, including Ballet Nacional Dominicano, the Center for Archaeology and Society, El Paso Art Museum, the Irish Film Council, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

“At VCUarts, we’re providing a new model for the arts, one that ignites collaborations within VCUarts and with our partners in the fields of science, engineering, technology and business,” Brixey says. “Our faculty research and exploratory grants demonstrate our commitment to  advance creative knowledge and fueling new discoveries in the arts and design. I’m excited to see how some of our most daring creatives respond to some of the world’s most vexing problems.”


About Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
VCUarts has been the top-ranked public university visual arts and design program in the country for more than 10 years, according to U.S. News & World Report. Undergraduate and graduate classes in the school’s 16 departments and programs are taught by a distinguished faculty of professional artists, designers, and scholars. VCUarts is part of a vibrant, arts-centered community with global influence. The School is part of a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research and a deep commitment to diversity, community, discovery, and innovation.

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December 6, 2018