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Creative Responses to COVID-19

Dear alum, student, and friend, please know that we are thinking of you. If you are putting your creativity to work to help or making art to get through this difficult time, please share it with us.

Send an email to causalumni@vt.edu and include your name, graduation year, major, a description of your work, and a website to link to your art.

The world needs more creativity and we’d love to share it!

The 6-Feet Rule Will Guide Architects in a Post-Covid World

Redesigning spaces for health and safety is a key way that architects can offer reassurance to people in these uncharted times. Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design director Aaron Betsky recently spoke with Bloomberg News on how he sees COVID-19 changing architecture for a safer, more comfortable world.

Aaron Betsky, School of Architecture + Design director (Blacksburg, VA)

SOVA Senior Capstone Virtual Exhibition

Each year the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech holds a series of exhibitions featuring work by graduating BFA students. These exhibitions represent the culmination of four years of study and an important public-facing, professional milestone for seniors. COVID-19 guidelines and stay-at-home orders have made gallery exhibitions and in-person receptions impossible this semester so we’ve compiled documentation of all senior capstone projects on this website. It serves as a representative sample of the hard work and perseverance of our graduates in Creative Technologies, Graphic Design, and Studio Art.


I was inspired to make more of a public service announcement to hopefully prompt people to protect those who are at greater risk in this pandemic. By taking steps to protect yourself, you are also protecting others.

Alex Austin, Creative Technologies 2022 (Blacksburg, VA)

Tribute Sketch

I was inspired to create a piece in tribute to the friend I made amidst the quarantine. I had reached out to local rescues to foster an animal during the crisis to help alleviate over crowding, and ended up falling in love with the dog I took in. She has since found her forever home with me and I look forward to many more wonderful memories with her in the years to come.

Madalyn Kramer, Graphic Design 2023 (Blacksburg, VA)

The Unplanned Home Office

How can we be productive and stay sane? Here are four quick tips to make your unplanned home office work for you.

Carrie Frye, BS Interior Design 1994 (Charlotte, NC)

Vietnam with New Eyes Collage

The portrait of my Grandmom is melded with the images of Vietnam taken through my eyes, two generations later as I embark on my first journey to Vietnam. And while she refuses to ever go back to her homeland, the culture and the food and the landscape still live vividly in her memory.

Philana Quan, B.Arch. 2023 (Vienna, VA)

Villages of West Africa Virtual Exhibition

View a selection of photographs from the book “Villages of West Africa: an intimate journey across time.” This exhibition was recently featured at the Center for Architecture + Design in San Francisco, CA. While the planned celebration had to be canceled, you can now enjoy this exhibition virtually.

Steven House, B.Arch. 1974 & Cathi House, B.Arch. 1977 (San Francisco, CA)

It’s Okay Poster Design

All proceeds from print purchases will go directly to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Meaghan Dee, Asst. Prof & Chair of Graphic Design (Blacksburg, VA)

Renovation Respite 

Vintage airstream renovation gives architect couple respite.

Heather Grutzius, M. Arch. 2003 & John White, M.Arch. 2004 (Richmond, VA)

New COVID-19 Key Design 

Ryan Pieper, associate professor at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, found the key to his contribution in the times of COVID-19 in designing a more efficient and widely -accessible version of the handheld tools he saw being marketed as germ-free ways to open doors and use on touchscreens.

Ryan Pieper, Assoc. Prof. of Architecture (Alexandria, VA)

Petrified Digital Art

Petrified is a digital art piece made in response to the growing fear of the world.

Renn Kennedy, Creative Technologies 2022 (Montvale, VA)

A Mind in Quarantine

This piece is representation of my mental state during this pandemic. I took different activities I do in my room and transferred them to a mental landscape to show how I am doing. Sometimes I’m doing pretty well – being productive, accomplishing things. Other times, I can’t manage much more than to lie on the floor and contemplate everything.

Alex Austin, Creative Technologies 2022 (Blacksburg, VA)

One-A-Days Postcard Designs

Exploring color, depth, and form through layers of tape and oil pastels in a daily practice on postcards.

Philiana Quan, B.Arch. 2023 (Vienna, VA)

Travel Sketch Sale

This collection of 90 watercolors were inspired by an architecture student’s 1998 travel abroad sketchbook. The sketches include travel to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Hungary and Czech Republic – and the artist is now re-living those sublime experiences by intentionally, carefully, watercoloring each experience. The sketches will go on sale on Friday, May 22 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Lifting Hands International.

Kirsten Sparenborg, B.Arch. 2000 (Watertown, NY)

Bringing Animation Into the Woods: A Performance in Isolation

As a response to ideas of isolation and social distancing, I took my projector to the woods to create a solo installation of my current animation, Everything Has Been Changing. I wanted to activate the rock face with movement, but without witness, in order to explore performance solely for oneself.

Nate King, Asst. Prof., Creative Technologies (Blacksburg, VA)

Sometimes it Snows in April Poster Design

This April, it snowed in Virginia—and I was reminded of the Prince song “Sometimes it Snows in April.” The poetry of pain in the middle of springtime rings particularly true during this pandemic.

All proceeds from print purchases will go directly to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Meaghan Dee, Asst. Prof & Chair of Graphic Design (Blacksburg, VA)

Listening to Clouds Collage

Observing from My Porch as the World Recovers (Listening to Clouds). Charcoal and paper collage inspired by Listening to Clouds by El Ten Eleven.

Julia Kindle, Graphic Design 2023 (Blacksburg, VA)


As people recover from COVID-19 and test for serologic evidence of immunity, this shirt brightly communicates to the world that you have recovered and can safely volunteer, work, or help an elderly neighbor. All proceeds from t-shirt sales benefits Doctors Without Borders.

Riley Studebaker, B.Arch. 2020 (Blacksburg, VA)

Reopening America’s Offices

Everyone in office design and commercial real estate has been thinking about one thing: returning people to work spaces. What should office environments look like in this “new normal”? One thing is certain: the office you enter in May or June will look different than the one you left.

Carrie Frye, BS Interior Design 1994 (Charlotte, NC)

Student Arts Spotlight

The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech is celebrating creativity during this time of social distancing. Visit their Student Arts Spotlight website to see student submitted work.

Moss Arts Center (Blacksburg, VA)

Fabricating Optimized Shields for COVID-19 First Responders

The Center for Design Research chipped in to a broader Virginia Tech initiative to produce in-house personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. In work led by A+D staff members Mark Leach and Jonathan Rugh and thanks in part to donations from the Home Depot, the CDR has made and distributed approximately 100 face shields and is currently in the process of scaling up to produce more units for first responders and hospital personnel. 

Center for Design Research (Blacksburg, VA)

15 Ways to Escape Virtually into Architecture via Architect Magazine

Here, the architects, designers, and design aficionados behind 15 popular Instagram accounts offer a momentary respite by sharing why architecture fascinates them.

Aric Gitomer, B.Arch. 1984 (Morris Plains, New Jersey)

Dancin’ Painting

Dancin’ is inspired by a song, as well we the current times we are facing, and is done in acrylic on canvas.

Lauren McDonald, Creative Technologies 2023, Alexandria (VA)

Dementia Sketch

This is my piece reflecting how COVID-19 has changed my perception of dementia. Now that we’re all sealed off and isolated, we’re losing touch. But we have hope because one day all of this will end right? We’ll go back to seeing the ones we love and doing the things we enjoy. This got me thinking about how my grandma, who has dementia, is in a sort of permanent quarantine in her own mind, isolated by the loss of memories.

Natalie Ferguson, Creative Technologies 2022 (Blacksburg, VA)

Wrapped in Growth Art Installation

My installation, ‘Wrapped in Growth’ symbolizes a curtain and how we as individuals put on a show or come across as one thing but when you observe closely, you see layers, textures, and different structures that play a role to the overall being. The mediums are net, hay, leaves, thumb tacks, elastic hair ties, and safety pins. Whether it is pieced together or provided, we have a comfort in nature growing with us and how we mimic it.

Allie Perfater, Studio Art 2022 (Blacksburg, VA)

Working from Home Graphic

Drew Ellis, BFA 2012 (Arlington, VA)

The Girl in the Dress Drawing

This is from a class narrative drawing assignment. The drawing was made from charcoal and oil paint. It’s a drawing of the artist enjoying the outdoors.

Emily Gerhart, Psychology & Human Development 2021 (Mechanicsville, VA)

COVID-19 Digital Collage

Digital collage inspired by COVID-19.

Julia Kindle, Graphic Design 2023 (Blacksburg, VA)