VCU Commonwealth Times: “We’re talking about someone’s life”: VCUarts adjuncts plan a day of action to demand equitable pay

Excerpts from VCU Commonwealth Times article:

VCUarts adjunct professors will stage a day of action Dec. 8 to demand fair pay from the School of the Arts. They plan to hold a rally at the Compass, deliver a petition with more than 900 signatures to the Board of Visitors meeting and demand to have their wages raised for the upcoming semester.

An estimated 120 adjuncts in the No. 1 public art school in the country currently make $750 to $850 dollars per credit hour taught. They are capped at teaching two classes per semester, which means they would make an estimated $9,000 to $10,200 per year, before taxes.

The federal poverty line in the United States sits at $12,082, according the Census Bureau.

For example, in the 2016-2017 academic year, the school had a total budget of $33,659,043. Of that, VCUarts allocated more than $32 million on educational and general expenses. The school distributed $890,000 of restricted university funds, which consist of gifts to the particular departments, investment earnings and more throughout the school.

The organization argues the school should use other funds in the school to properly pay their adjunct faculty rather than turning to raising student tuition.

The organization presented Brixey and other VCUarts administrators with research examining the average cost of living in Richmond and the federal poverty line in the United States — this led them to their suggestion of $2,000 per credit hour taught for adjuncts.

According to Trepanier, Brixey said the school will raise adjunct pay to $1,000 per credit hour for the upcoming semester by tapping into reserve funds, per approval from the Board of Visitors. However, it was never clarified whether the funds were primarily from VCUarts or from the university.

“This is an urgent crisis. The Dean is moving into a new house, but there are a lot of adjuncts that have been homeless within the last year,” the adjunct said. “When we’re talking about equity issues, we’re not just talking about what’s fair and unfair, we’re talking about someone’s life and where they’re going to sleep at night.”

The adjunct also raised the concern of not being able to dedicate enough time to students because of the various jobs art adjuncts often work to pay bills.

“In terms of budgeting time, when a lot of us are working three jobs or have to drive to Virginia Tech the next day to teach, a lot of that does take a toll on the classroom,” they said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the career development of the students.”

Trepanier spoke out because she does not plan to return to VCU after her contract ends in December. She also has other forms of income she relies on, but said that’s not that case for all of her colleagues.

“People are terrified to speak up because they don’t want to lose that little bit of income that they do have,” Trepanier said. “If you eventually want a full-time job, and you go on record and they see that out on media, then schools won’t hire you because you’re a troublemaker.”

From FaceBook event page:

What: VCU Adjunct Fair Pay Rally and petition drop

When: 9am December 8th, 2017

Where: In front of the VCU Cabell Library (bring signs, wear t-shirts) From the front of Cabell Library we will walk as a group and deliver the petition to the VCU Board of Visitors.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet please do so at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/vcuarts-adjuncts-deserve-fair-pay

Belonging: Oregon Hill Art Show At St. Andrew’s

From announcement:

Featuring the fine art and photography of St. Andrew’s parishioners and artists from the Oregon Hill neighborhood. Join us for the opening reception Friday, October 20th from 6:00-8:00 pm. The art will be available for viewing Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-4:00 pm from October 21-November 12. Free. Donations accepted with gratitude. For more information visit standrewsoregonhill.org or contact Celal Kamran.

Veterans’ Impact Project at The Virginia War Memorial

From FaceBook event page:

To celebrate Artober, we will be exhibiting the Veterans’ Impact Project Monument at The Virginia War Memorial.

This sculpture was created in partnership with artist James Robertson.

Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, October 12th from 5-7pm. The monument will remain on display until October 27th.

About the Project:
In what is likely America’s 1st crowd-sourced veterans monument, The Veterans’ Impact Project honored over 170 veterans through a participatory process where community members and veterans operated a custom-built Roman Ballista to fire symbols of military service into a large clay panel. Those impressions were cast on site to create a large-scale relief sculpture with Principal Artist for the project, James Robertson. The resulting 5’x17’ sculpture is one of the largest in Richmond.

Upholstery Workshops Offered

From Pine Street neighbor Haleh Pedram’s post (reposted with permission):

Hello DIYer neighbors and friends! Starting immediately I will be offering Saturday morning basic upholstery workshops. Three hour sessions, $75 includes instruction, use of proper tools and materials (not including foam or fabric).

10 am- 1 pm at my studio on Pine street. Each session limited to two attendees, you needn’t be from the neighborhood but I thought this was a good place to start.

Get your place spruced up by the holidays and have the pride of knowing you did it yourself. Haleh.pedram@gmail.com to sign up or for more details. Thanks!

Neighbor Makes This Year’s Folk Festival Poster

From the Times Dispatch article:

Oregon Hill artist Chris Milk Hulburt walks to the Richmond Folk Festival ever year to enjoy the music.

Last year, the beat-boxing showcase brought him to tears.

“Music has been first and foremost in my life,” he said from Quirk Hotel while installing a new one-man show. “If I hadn’t been an artist, I would have preferred to be a musician.”

Hulburt looks like an artist: wearing red suspenders, red Crocs and brown pants rolled at the bottom with the words “True Love,” embroidered by his sweetheart, stitched into the cuffs.

A graduate from Open High School, Hulburt has been making his living as an artist for the past 20 years. This year, he was selected to create the poster for the Richmond Folk Festival, which is Oct. 13-15.