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The people you’ll meet are what make Brandcenter worth it.

Lauren Acampora: When I moved to Richmond last August, I didn’t know a single person who lived in this city. It was terrifying. Having lived in a shoe in New York City for the prior three years, I decided to flex and get my own apartment in RVA (washer/dryer in unit and everything!). Being an adult in a new city is lonely, though, and I quickly realized that maybe that wasn’t the smartest choice… Luckily, on the first day of bootcamp I happened to sit next to Chloe Friedman, who is quite possibly the most outgoing human specimen I have ever encountered.

Chloe Friedman: Haha, yes! We got lunch our very first day and the rest is history. Every introvert needs an extrovert sidekick.

Lauren: Spoiler alert: we live together now in a sickkkk apartment with two other Brandcenter students, but more importantly we feed each other’s creativity. Whenever I feel stuck, talking things through with Chloe always leads to stumbling across a new and interesting way of approaching the problem at hand. Okay maybe not *always* but, you know, a lot of the time. Before I came to Brandcenter, I was a graphic designer who worked entirely on my own. If I didn’t have any meetings scheduled, entire days would go by where I didn’t talk to anyone. Honestly, I didn’t hate it — I listened to a lot of podcasts, and was incredibly well-informed on all things true crime. But coming here and suddenly working with a copywriting partner on all of my assignments, while simultaneously becoming a member of a close-knit community of aspiring art directors who inspire and challenge one another, made me realize that working solo as a creative is a horrible idea. Collaboration opens a million doors in your mind that would otherwise have remained locked.

Chloe: Exactly! Having come to the Brandcenter without a design background, it’s been incredibly helpful having a friend with killer design chops to bounce projects off of. The art direction class as a whole is a hodge-podge of people with graphic design experience, more traditional fine art skills, and media and journalism training. Since our track is so diverse when it comes to our strengths and backgrounds, and we lean on each other to help one another make the best work we possibly can. When one person comes to class with incredible art direction, it pushes the rest of us. Being surrounded by a talented and supportive group of people has been invaluable.

-Lauren Acampora and Chloe Friedman, art direction track, class of 2019