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The artistic legacy of Dean Murry DePillars

The VCU Board of Visitors has voted to recognize past VCUarts Dean Murry N. DePillars, Ph.D., by naming the fine arts building on West Broad Street in his honor. As part of an ongoing celebration to take place throughout 2021-22, we're speaking to alumni, colleagues and artists about his lasting legacy.

Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Ph.D., director of the Hampton University Museum and Archives, curated a solo exhibition of DePillars’ work in 2002 and deeply admired his investment in authentic expression. “He was not an artist that changed based on what was popular,” she says. “He was true to himself and what he wanted to share.”


Read more in a Q+A with Thaxton-Ward.

April 16: Memories and Milestones


All VCUarts alumni are invited to join the VCU Alumni African American Alumni Council and VCUarts for a free virtual event celebrating the legacy of past School of the Arts Dean Murry N. DePillars, Ph.D. The program will feature reflections from former students and colleagues; a virtual tour of the DePillars building, located at 1000 W. Broad St.; and prerecorded jazz music.

Register for the event.
Performance ethnography in ballroom culture

Julian Kevon Glover, Ph.D., excels in combining topics that don’t often go together, such as Black and Brown queer cultural formations, and performance theory and ethnography. Their study of ballroom culture is the latest example of Glover’s ability to make connections between ideas that many don’t recognize are intimately linked.

Read more about Glover’s research.
Career in video and theater leads to lasting connections to VCU

Over his 30-year career as a video producer, Jerry Williams (B.F.A ’71/A) has made hundreds of videos for local and national clients including Bed Bath & Beyond, Capital One, PBS, Tiffany & Co. and Visa. Through it all, Williams has stayed connected with VCU and the VCUarts Department of Theatre by supporting a scholarship fund and launching a monthly e-newsletter for department alumni.

Learn more about Williams’ career and connection to VCU.

Designing for mental health and well-being


Mohammad Jawad (BFA ’15; MFA ’19), a graduate of VCUarts Qatar, combines his love of biology and design to create products that encourage digital detox and reconnection with the natural environment.

Read more about Jawad’s products.
April 20 – Paul Rucker: Banking While Black

In this free virtual event, Paul Rucker, VCUarts curator for creative collaboration, addresses the destruction of the three Black Wall Street communities in Richmond, Virginia; Durham, North Carolina; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also examines the processes of displacement and gentrification, the disappearance of thriving Black cities and neighborhoods, and systemic policies that are part of the fabric of the U.S.

Register for the event.
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Virginia Commonwealth University | School of the Arts

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