Back to News

Future Studio Launches with Help from Community Engagement Grant

‌Fifty-six high school students from 32 area schools applied to be part of the first group of 15 students who will participate in VCU Future Studio, a partnership between the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, the Institute for Contemporary Art and Art 180.

The 10-week program, which provides local high schoolers with free Saturday art classes focused on three-dimensional making, was awarded a 2017-18 Community Engagement Grant from VCU’s Council for Community Engagement (CCE) to pilot the program this academic year.

“Future Studio provides hands-on experience working with professional artists within a university setting - in the top ranked sculpture program in the country,” said Matt King, chair and associate professor, Department of Sculpture + Extended Media in the VCU School of the Arts. “We want participants to develop their artistic voices in a way that is quite different from what is offered in high school, to draw back the curtain on who professional artists are, how they make work, and where it is exhibited.”

Students come to the Monroe Park Campus and gain experience in a studio environment while also participating in visits to VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art, lectures, portfolio workshops and opportunities to publicly exhibit their artwork in ART 180’s Atlas Gallery. The program also includes mentoring with college students in the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, free materials, bus passes and lunch.

“We want to use this program to bring students together who might not otherwise have the chance to be in dialog, providing a forum for sharing across the economic, cultural, and racial divisions that exist within the city,” King said. “We welcome these high school students as part of our department, not external to it, and the perspectives and insight they bring will surely challenge our assumptions and ultimately influence the way we engage with our local community and the world.”

King said the goal is for Future Studio to become a sustainable program within VCUarts, one that could be duplicated in other departments. The amount of interest among applicants demonstrates a need for this type of program, and the focus this year will be to continue to refine the program and to seek state and national funding. Donors have already agreed to match local funds from private and corporate sponsors that come in to support the program’s second year.

Over the course of a decade, the CCE has awarded more than $1 million in grants to more than 70 projects with a direct impact on the community. Grants have provided a real-world context for research, teaching and service. For every dollar of seed funding invested, these community engagement grants have generated three dollars from external funding sources.

For more information, visit Future Studio or contact King at