Community of Artists offers support, networking for emerging artists

Students in the Community of Artists pose for a group photo in September 2019.

Students in the CVPA Community of Artists pose outside of Trinkle Hall for a group photo in September 2019.

No matter what discipline one chooses to pursue, the path to becoming an artist comes with its own set of challenges. Some carry self-doubt about their abilities to be good enough to succeed. Others worry that their work won’t be taken seriously. Many grow frustrated that their beginning abilities don’t allow them to achieve their artistic vision. Any of these fears can break a young artist. However, Radford University’s Community of Artists offers beginners the benefit of a living-learning community that promotes interdisciplinary work among different artistic disciplines. Incoming art majors are housed under one roof in Trinkle Hall. The community is designed not only to create a social environment, but to offer a support mechanism against many of the common fears students face as they begin their journey toward becoming a professional artist.

Dana Trask is an academic advisor for the College of Visual and Performing Arts and serves as coordinator for the Community of Artists. According to Trask, the community was created in fall 2016 to help students get to know each other outside of their department. “It’s really natural in our college to do interdisciplinary work, and this was just giving people the opportunity to meet each other and foster those collaborations,” said Trask.

Adam McMullen is a sophomore graphic design major currently in his second year with the Community of Artists. He says that he moved frequently while growing up and is used to change, but not the kind of change that comes with the college experience. The community helped him get accustomed to living in a residence hall and being in a campus environment. “It was nice seeing that I’m not alone and there are other people in the exact same boat as me. We’re here for the same reasons,” said McMullen. He intends to continue in the program next year, and hopes to become a resident assistant for the community.

Community of artists members participate in a music therapy workshop in Porterfield Hall.
Community of artists members participate in a music therapy workshop in Porterfield Hall.

The Community of Artists holds weekly activities like dance, art or music workshops. The events usually have some type of artistic theme, and on the weeks when they don’t have workshops they often host some type of social event. In October they painted pumpkins together for Halloween, and they recently held a “Trinklesgiving” feast in celebration of Thanksgiving.

McMullen said that his favorite part about being in the community is connecting with other students and reaching out to freshmen. “Just being there for those people who need the help has been enjoyable,” he said.

“We have students that have lived in the community all four years they’ve been here and some that just choose to stay one or two years and that's okay too,” said Trask.

The Community of Artists is open to first-year freshmen and transfer students with declared majors within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The community currently houses over 100 residents, and continues to expand each year. For information about how to apply, contact the Dana Trask in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at 540-831-5348, or via email at

Dec 10, 2019
Montasia Braxton