RICHMOND, Va. — Spring semester is well underway at VCU and many students are wrapping up senior projects in preparation for graduation day. Earlier this year, the VCU School of the Arts assigned a mass final project for its students titled “Finding Extraordinary in the Ordinary.” Seniors Milo Kleinfelder (photography), Brooklyn Thomas (dance), and Roark Abbott (spending his parent’s money) have teamed up with a unique vision for the assignment.
Inspired by countless evenings of unbridled debauchery on Cary Street during the course of their college careers, these seniors have decided to dedicate their final project to Cha Cha’s Cantina. The three seniors invited The Peedmont staff to witness the creative process, and on a brisk night in March, we braved the deluge of sloppy barely-legals for the sake of art.
“There’s just something so organic and raw about spewing your mixed drink over the cobblestones amongst your fellow classmates,” explains Kleinfelder.
With camera in hand, Kleinfelder beelines to a section of sidewalk outside of the city parking garage where there is a particularly fresh reminder of the evening’s festivities. “The chunks of undigested City Dogs obviously give this piece a three-dimensional feel indicative of the archetypal father-son relationship,” observed Kleinfelder.
A short time later, Thomas begins an interpretive dance, appropriately named “An Ode to the Cantina.” Traveling up and down the 1400 block of Cary Street, she writhes and heaves canned cream of celery into the gutters while chanting, “I’m drunk, bitch.” Abbott follows behind, filming the performance with his iPhone in one hand and holding a boombox looping white noise and children’s laughter with the other.
“The splatter in the gutter is clearly reminiscent of the far-reaching impact of blood-sucking corporations,” commented Thomas. “It really speaks to me.”
When questioned on the artistic significance of the urban bar medium, Abbott brusquely replies, “You are the patriarchy.”
While VCU is widely known for cultivating unique artistic voices, this threesome has truly set the bar for future students.
“I’m excited to see what these young professionals have in store,” commented VCU professor Mark Shalimar, who will be reviewing their work. “The originality and creativity of these students hasn’t been matched since a few seniors did a Warhol-esque portrait of stacked PBR cans a few years back.”
At the time of reporting, Kleinfelder was editing the 150 photos taken of vomit splatter, while Thomas and Abbott grinded to Diplo in one of the empty studios of the VCU Fine Arts Building.