Highlanders in the News: Week of Dec. 18, 2023

Every other week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

The “Price” of business

A Dec. 8 article in Maryland Today opens with a description of a once-local entrepreneur who sold “gifts and home goods… just down the stairs from the city offices in Radford, Va., the little town where she’d attended Radford University.”

Stacey Price ’99, M.S. ’01

It’s a profile of Stacey Price ’99, M.S. ’01, who as a student started a gift shop called Encore Artful Gifts on Main Street, and who now – two decades later – is still at it, but on a much larger scale.

Price recently opened her 10th store, Shop Made in Maryland.

Located near the University of Maryland, in College Park, this new branch joins another like it in Potomac, Maryland, as well as the string of Shop Made in DC stores Price began in 2017, and Shop Made in VA in 2022. The establishments offer regionally produced products as well as entry-to-market opportunities for local makers and small retailers.

“We are so excited that everyone has been so supportive of this project,” Price to Maryland Today. “We can’t wait to see the impact we can make together.”

Shop Made in DC also recently got a high-profile namecheck, in The New York Times on Nov. 9, when it was mentioned and linked to in an article that provided readers with a virtual walking tour of things to do and places to go in the nation’s capital.

Last year, Price was the keynote speaker at Radford’s May 2022 graduate hooding ceremony.

“Finding yourself and meaningful work is a beautiful journey,” she advised the attendees. “Forget the titles, forget the salaries and look for what lights you up. When you are doing something you love… you sparkle.”

HITN 12.18.23_Shop Maryland Stephanie S Cordle

Shop Made in Maryland, located on the first floor of College Park, Maryland's City Hall. (Photo: Stephanie S. Cordle/Maryland Today)

Going to the wall

The face of a Highlander – Danielle Austin-Johnson, ’13, M.S. ’18 – newly and expansively rendered, now peers out from one wall of a large building in northwest Roanoke. 

HITN 12.18.23 mural
The painting, located on the side of the building at 510 11th Street NW, Roanoke, near the intersection at Moorman Avenue, is based on a photograph of Danielle Austin-Johnson, a Roanoke City Public Schools social worker. (Photo: Jon Murrill/murrillart.com)

It comes via a recent mural, a collaboration earlier this month between Brazilian artist Thiago Valdi and Roanoke painter Jon Murrill, M.F.A. ’12, via a partnership with Sister Cities International, according to a Dec. 7 story in The Roanoke Tribune.  

The painting is located on the side of 510 11th Street NW, near the intersection at Moorman Avenue, and it’s based on a photograph of Austin-Johnson, a longtime Roanoke City Public Schools social worker, whose portrait was chosen from some 50 submissions.

“As they [Valdi and Murrill] were painting, people came up to them and said they knew who I was and were familiar with my grassroots work,” Austin-Johnson told the newspaper. “I feel like this was divine intervention.”

The story also covers Austin-Johnson’s life and history, some support she drew from a Roanoke podcast, and perspectives on the artwork from local residents, including a teenager, Jaylin Smith, who said her grandparents were gratified to witness a neighborhood mural dedicated to a Black figure.

“I’m glad they are alive to see just how far things have come over the years,” Smith told the Tribune.

Televised coverage of the mural appeared on Roanoke stations WDBJ and WFXR.

Murrill has maintained an active presence on the Star City’s local art scene – last year he designed, directed and coordinated public works that included murals near the greenway along 9th and 13th streets in Southwest Roanoke.

HITN 12.18.23_mural2

(Photo: Odyssey Fields/ WFXR News)

Dec 20, 2023
Neil Harvey