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Painting the town fashion

VCU fashion design students complete mural at the corner of Broad and Gilmer streets.

Story by VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY July 11th, 2017

Sometimes the best way to tell a story is with a picture.

Students in the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising have painted a mural on the side of the former Urban Farmhouse building, on the corner of Broad and Gilmer streets. The mural shows three women dressed in stylish denim outfits. This is the second mural painted in Richmond under the guidance of Patricia Brown, chair of the fashion department. Brown’s concept for the murals is to “Paint the Town Fashion.”

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“Fashion murals seemed to me to be a great way to make a statement about Richmond as not only a place where art and artists can thrive, but also one of great fashion creativity,” Brown said. “One of my goals has been to shine a bigger light on [the department]; to draw attention to our talented students and the program, and to the Richmond fashion community.”

Three fashion design students, Caitlyn Sharlette, Keanna Kogut and Shelby Herndon, were selected to paint the mural based on their skills in painting and illustration. The students chose denim because of the material’s current popularity in the fashion world. They worked late into the night to complete the project, using a light projector to trace chalk outlines of the images they were about to paint. A hydraulic lift was needed to paint the mural, and the trio took turns ascending the lift to reach the appropriate angle needed for their brush strokes.

“Having your work up where people are forced to see it is a good thing,” Herndon said with a laugh.

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“It’s on my bucket list,” Kogut said, “and I’m excited to become a part of the city.”

“It’s scary up here!” Sharlette yelled as she clutched a paintbrush and the safety railing of the hydraulic lift.

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Fashion Design and Merchandising is one of the largest departments in the VCU School of the Arts. The artists said they received nothing but encouragement from passersby, and are excited about how the mural will show freshmen students what VCUarts is all about.

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Footnote: Story by Conor Lobb, University Public Affairs. Photos and video by Pat Kane, University Public Affairs.