The Artfulness Initiative Expands into the Classroom


The Artfulness Initiative is a series of process-oriented art practices meant to help adults focus less on the stress of yesterday and tomorrow and more on being in the now.

There is significant research that backs up project organizer and ALT Lab Assistant Director of Learning Media Innovation Molly Ransone and other founders’ interest in teaching VCU students mindfulness, as well as much research on flow and optimal experience from positive psychology.

Artfulness sessions include didactic videos that pair mindfulness experts and artists teaching on: practice, exploration, compassion, and connection. Breathing exercises and guided meditations by a range of VCU faculty have been created as audio recordings. Process-based art activities have been taught, primarily by VCUarts faculty, in a range of mediums: dance, writing, drawing, photography, and music.


Building on the momentum from the launch this Fall, the Artfulness Initiative will offer a course, ARTS 391: Artfulness, next Spring that expands one-off events at The Depot into a full semester curriculum.

The class can be thought of in three parts:

  • The use of the online curriculum as a basis for learning about mindfulness and art as they relate to one another.
  • Face-to-face class sessions every Thursday from 10:00 – 11:30am. The class sessions will be very similar to the first three events for the first 8 weeks as students explore and develop an Artfulness practice. Brinson Leigh Kresge from VCUarts Dance will lead students in a session that will alternate between yoga, guided meditation, and breathing exercises. Ransone will then lead students in a different process-based art activity each week, or bring in a guest artist to lead. Later in the semester, the face-to-face class sessions will still begin the same way, but the act activities will start to be led by the students based on their research projects.
  • The way that students will share, reflect, discuss, and research on this topic in a unique online curriculum that will be on a totally separate website that is being developed now. The final part will be in how students work towards developing a daily practice that works for them and how they are able to share that in ways that form connections between them and the communities they are a part of, including the community created in this class. A final research assignment will focus on learning about artistic mindfulness outlets found in other cultures, in the form of a blog that will include multimedia, followed by a shared function in the face-to-face class.

ARTS 391: Artfulness is almost at capacity, so if you are interested sign up soon!