To the VCUarts Student Body,

Welcome to the 2017–18 academic year at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. As we begin the new fall semester together, I look forward to witnessing firsthand the ambition and innovative spirit that has made this student body the envy of schools across the country.

Many of you, like me, are new to VCUarts, prepared to embark on a journey of creative daring and exploration. Many more of you are returning students, coming back to campus assured of who you are as an artist, designer, performer or scholar, ready to commit yourself to your practice.

Yet I have come to realize that each of you, as a participant in this diverse learning community, arrive eager to challenge yourself and to question the world around you. The unique position of VCUarts as a respected urban art school within a large research university affords us all the opportunity to seek our own answers. Here, your ideas can truly be made manifest. The boldest art you make can change your community, business prospects can become tangible enterprises, and ambitious research projects can fuel the curiosity of your peers.

The beginning of a new academic year always brings with it a particular kind of excitement. After a long break, we bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to our campus. Each of our achievements is a small combustion; together, these successes power the engine of VCUarts. I urge you to ignite your individual spark—to capture and nurture the potential you have to lead and engage deeply in the arts, to redefine what is possible and to be a catalyst for innovation and growth in our community.

In your artwork, designs, research and practice, know that you are surrounded by a supportive and inspired community of peers and professionals who are equally committed to achievement and excellence. I look forward to expanding the frontiers of artistic discovery with you.


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


August 24, 2017