How did a doodle on a tablecloth turn into a massive fictional universe? Hellboy creator tells his tale.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

When visiting artist Mike Mignola — the creator of Hellboy — comes to Virginia Commonwealth University on Oct. 29, don’t expect a comic-con kind of vibe.

TyRuben Ellingson, chair of the Department of Communication Arts, wants to have a more academic conversation with Mignola, his friend and former colleague. He doesn’t want Mignola to have to answer the same old questions he’s asked at every interview or convention he attends.

Rather, Ellingson hopes the event, sponsored by the Department of Communication Arts and VCU Libraries, will be more about Mignola “as an artist who has developed from being what all of our students are: young, impressionable individuals with likes and dislikes.”

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Venuti promoted to associate vice president for public safety for VCU and VCU Health

Headshot of John Venuti

John Venuti

Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief John Venuti has been promoted to associate vice president for public safety for VCU and VCU Health.

In his new position, Venuti will provide institutional public safety oversight and strategy for VCU and VCU Health. He also will advise the university and health system leadership and partner with the local community on a wide variety of institutional safety, policy and compliance matters, as well as emergency response and planning.

“Under John’s leadership, VCU Police has become known for its responsiveness and strong community partnerships,” said Meredith Weiss, Ph.D., vice president for administration for VCU. “He transformed VCU Police into a national leader in campus safety.”

In Venuti’s nearly nine years as chief, the VCU Police Department has prioritized partnership, collaboration, customer service and engagement. Since 2010, VCU Police achieved accreditation with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, became the first campus law enforcement agency in Virginia to receive designation as a certified crime prevention campus, was the first in Virginia to implement the “You Have Options” sexual assault survivor program designed to increase reporting of sexual assault, and became the first agency in the Richmond metropolitan area to implement body worn cameras for officers. These and other efforts have resulted in an improved safety culture with more than 95 percent of students, faculty and staff reporting they feel safe or very safe on VCU’s campus and a decrease in officer use of force of more than 66 percent.

Venuti will continue to serve as VCU’s police chief until the position is filled. VCU is conducting a national search to fill the position.

Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU unveils fall 2018 exhibitions including projects by Rashid Johnson, Abbas Akhavan, David Hartt, Jonathas de Andrade, Julianne Swartz and Pascale Marthine Tayou

A man clutches a fish close to his chest.

A video and photo series “O peixe” by Jonathas de Andrade.

This fall, the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will present two exhibitions featuring leading international contemporary artists, including a major site-specific commission and artist-led performances. Opening simultaneously on Oct. 17, “Provocations: Rashid Johnson”and“Hedges, Edges, Dirt” both explore socially and culturally specific issues in nuanced, conceptual and poetic ways. Through these initiatives, the ICA will continue to present exhibitions that engage audiences with dynamic programming on themes of social relevance and local resonance.

“Building from our inaugural exhibition, ‘Declaration,’ we have continued to ask what the ICA can contribute to our place and time,” said Stephanie Smith, ICA chief curator. “These new projects by an extraordinary group of artists will activate the Markel Center in fresh and beautiful ways and catalyze conversations that reach beyond our walls.”

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Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU fall exhibitions will explore race and identity

“Provocations” by artist Rashid Johnson.

This fall, the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will present two exhibitions featuring leading international contemporary artists, including two new site-specific commissions.

Opening simultaneously on Oct. 17, “Provocations: Rashid Johnson” and “Hedges, Edges, Dirt” explore socially and culturally specific issues that relate to race, identity and the environment in nuanced, conceptual and poetic ways. Through these, the ICA will continue presenting exhibitions that engage audiences with dynamic programming on themes of social relevance and local resonance.

“Building from our inaugural exhibition, ‘Declaration,’ we have continued to ask what the ICA can contribute to our place and time,” said Stephanie Smith, ICA chief curator. “These new projects by an extraordinary group of artists will activate the Markel Center in fresh and beautiful ways and catalyze conversations that reach beyond our walls.”

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Displaying more than 1,000 piñatas, VCU and community groups break Guinness World Record

More than 1,000 piñatas were hung along Richmond’s Canal Walk on Saturday at the annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival.

More than 1,000 piñatas were hung along Richmond’s Canal Walk on Saturday at the annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival, breaking the Guinness World Record for “Largest Display of Piñatas.”

The new record is the result of five months of work by the da Vinci Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Hispanic Foundation to create and collect as many piñatas as possible to surpass the previous record of 504 piñatas displayed, set in 2008 at an event in Mexico.

“This is building on an effort that the Virginia Hispanic Chamber already had. They have grade schools and high schools make piñatas for the festival, so we just went big. We got all the piñatas,” said Allison Schumacher, director of academic alchemy at the da Vinci Center, a collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences to advance innovation and entrepreneurship.

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