Vivian Keasler Letterpress + Book Arts Studio Honors Longtime VisArts Student, Former Board Member and Donor
Vivian Keasler has taken classes in nearly all of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s studios and soon there will be a brand-new studio named after her.
Thanks to a generous gift from Keasler, a vacated section of VisArts’ staff offices will be transformed into the new Vivian Keasler Letterpress + Book Arts Studio. The 596-square foot, mixed-use space will accommodate creative writing, letterpress printing and book-making classes. It will also free up VisArts’ current letterpress studio, making way for the addition of a third clay studio.
Keasler has formal arts training from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Connecticut and discovered VisArts soon after she moved to Richmond in 2007. Not long after a friend introduced her to the organization, Keasler began taking classes and joined VisArts’ board.
For the past decade, Keasler has been an active student, exploring a variety of media such as painting, collage, pastels, jewelry, sculpture, printmaking, photography and more. Years as a student and two terms on the board gave her a deep appreciation for the center and its mission.
“A book I read in school called The Art Spirit had a big impact on the way I think about creativity. I believe everyone has an art spirit and the Visual Arts Center helps people find it,” she said. “You don’t have to think of yourself as an artist in order to make art here. That’s hugely important.”
Keasler said the studio expansion project resonated with her because she saw an opportunity to help take VisArts’ educational programming to the next level.
“It’s clear to me that this new studio is something that will move things forward tremendously,” she said. “It’s a project that should have a huge return.”
VisArts kicked off the Summer 2018 Studio Expansion Project in late July of this year. In the Vivian Keasler Letterpress + Book Arts Studio, students will be able to work across disciplines to create beautiful prints, books and other text-based work. To make room for the new studio, VisArts is reconfiguring its existing staff offices to accommodate its team in a smaller footprint. The new office space will boast a more open floor plan and bright work spaces.
VisArts plans to turn the newly vacated letterpress studio into a third clay studio. The extra space for ceramics will allow the center to get students off of waitlists and into classes. Ultimately, VisArts will be able to increase its clay offerings by 50 percent, upgrade storage and extend available kiln time.
The Vivian Keasler Letterpress + Book Arts Studio and the new clay studio will be operational by the start of the fall 2018 session on September 10, and VisArts’ fall catalog includes several classes that will be held in the new spaces.