Yearlong Audition: Andrew Kearns leaves AFO program

Mechelle Hankerson

Executive Editor

After making it through his dreaded drawing class, current Art Foundations student Andrew Kearns has decided not to continue in the AFO program next semester.

Kearns, who ultimately wanted to become a graphic design major, was anxious about his drawing class because he knew he would struggle with any art that wasn’t graphic design. Kearns however, said it was more about his drive to pursue other subjects rather than the obstacles VCUarts presented him that prompted him to leave the AFO program.

“It actually has more not to do with the AFO program than it has to do with the AFO program,” he said.

Kearns spent his senior year of high school in Rouen, France as part of a rotary exchange program. During his time there, Kearns tutored four 11-year-old children in English which was something he enjoyed and wouldn’t mind pursuing en lieu of graphic design.

“I really found, not just enjoyment, but satisfaction from teaching,” he said.

Kearns decided to apply to VCU during the second semester of his junior year of high school. He submitted his application in the fall of his senior year and then spent a year in France. He said he didn’t think much of what waited for him at VCU until he came back to the United States and promptly had to pack and move to Richmond.

“I didn’t really do art for a year and it sort of sat on the back burner,” he said. “I lost interest in (art), I just sort of lost passion for it and that was something that I noticed really doing the graphic design project class- I was really good at all the projects and it came really easily but I just didn’t love doing it.”

Kearns will be leaving the AFO program to pursue a degree in French at VCU. He’s looking to possibly study abroad again as soon as next year, but this time in Sorbonne.

While most students who choose to leave the AFO program sometimes struggle switching credits to a non-art major because of the specific AFO classes, Kearns said he placed in to 300-level French classes so he’s not behind where he would have been if he spent his first semester in the French department.

He knows he wants to pursue an undergraduate degree at an American university but has started to think about master’s programs in France.

Even though he’s leaving VCUarts, Kearns said art will always be a hobby of his. He can also appreciate the value of attending and finishing a part of a program like the AFO program.

“The benefit of art school is that it gives you the opportunity to practice what you want to do in a low-risk environment,” he said. “It’s not like moving to New York and you have to paint the best painting of your life so you can pay your rent.”

He also said that he doesn’t regret starting and completing the first semester of AFO.

“I know that there’s no other way I could’ve done it, I had to start here and at least try.”

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