Detour to Highland Park

By Caitlin Puffenberger


On a street corner in Highland Park, as two old men cackle and shout across the street at one another and the bass of a stereo shakes dirt from the barred windows of the mini-mart, Hamilton Glass climbs down from his step ladder, pushes up his mask and says, “Well, I’m done,” and begins packing up his cans.

Finish the story here.

This story was part of a group project on Richmond street art for a class called “Slow Journalism in a Fast World.” You can learn more about our project here.


Human kindness

By Caitlin Puffenberger


There is art you can touch and art you can’t. On this block of West Cary Street, there is both.

Here, you press your hand against a tiny dragon, feel his paint-scales flake, trail your fingers through his pollen coat, feel the contours of the brick and mortar sky behind his wings. You can walk the entire block with one finger on a work of art the whole way.

But these are only a fraction of the whole project.

Finish the story here.

This story was part of a group project on Richmond street art for a class called “Slow Journalism in a Fast World.” You can learn more about our project here.


Richmond’s murals in context

By Caitlin Puffenberger


Richmond’s murals have few common threads. They are all large, of course, and painted, but there the similarities end. They grace the walls of businesses and homes, hidden alleys and the city’s busiest streets. They are corporately funded and privately sponsored, by local artists and the nationally-renowned. Their subject matter and style are equally diverse — friendly and frightening, traditional and cutting-edge.

Read more here.

This story was part of a group project on Richmond street art for a class called “Slow Journalism in a Fast World.” You can learn more about our project here.

A century of leadership

By Caitlin Puffenberger

Photo from VCU Libraries

At first glance, the Girl Scout uniforms of the 1970s – a polyester pantsuit      – may appear to be little more than a fashion misstatement. In fact, the wash-and-wear pants were significant. As the women’s equality movement progressed, Girl Scout leaders wanted girls to learn that a career beyond homemaking was possible. New programs and badges focused on skills that could apply to professional lives. That easy-care uniform with slacks — at a time when many schools and workplaces had dress codes prohibiting some women’s fashion choices — was a symbol of liberation and of changing times.

Read the rest of the story on VCU News.

5 things everyone knew about VCU basketball before me

I love VCU, but I know nothing about basketball. I’m more of a cats-and-cookies kind of person. Since I was a freshman the year VCU made its Final Four run, that’s probably inexcusable, but here we are. Unfortunately, working as the social media specialist for the Commonwealth Times (VCU’s student newspaper) means I have to know things about basketball. Seriously, the first week of basketball season the CT only had two stories that weren’t about basketball.  So here are five things I’ve learned about basketball in three months of trying and failing to ignore it: Continue reading

The visual and the verbal

By Caitlin Puffenberger


Professors Tom De Haven and Kelly Alder give feedback on students’ early drafts.

One of the biggest names in comic arts has a new inspiration – the students at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Stephen R. Bissette, an award-winning artist, writer, publisher and professor of comic arts, visited VCU Libraries in October to give a lecture on comics creation. An expert in the horror genre of comic arts, Bissette is best known for the DC comic “Swamp Thing.” But he retired from drawing comics in 1999 to focus on teaching at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.

His visit to VCU was at the invitation of a new class, “Collaborating on Comics,” and Tom De Haven, one of the course’s professors. Bissette was a great resource for the students, De Haven said. But it seems they weren’t the only ones learning.

“Bissette wrote me that he was so inspired by coming here that he started doing comics again,” said De Haven, a professor of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Read more about the class in VCU News.

Bookshelves as art: Students find inspiration in the mundane

ImageBy Caitlin Puffenberger

You may be surprised when stepping off the elevator on the fourth floor of James Branch Cabell Library. But don’t worry, that’s not a piece of driftwood you’re looking at. It’s a bookshelf.

Cabell Library’s newest art installation is the work of five Art Foundation students in a class called Space Research. The students were challenged to design and build bookshelves, each with a similar function and a unique artistic vision. The shelves are on display throughout the library, through Dec. 5.

Read more in VCU News.