Endeavor Art Studio provides all-inclusive creative space

Endeavor RVA, founded by Ian Hess and Eli McMullen will celebrate its three-year anniversary at First Friday on Nov. 2. Photo by Erin Edgerton

Zach Joachim
Executive Editor 

Endeavor RVA, an art studio and space for Richmond creatives of all sorts, will celebrate its three-year anniversary at its Nov. 2 First Friday show.

Creative Director and co-founder Ian Hess said the studio became a possibility “over a drink and a concept.” The VCUarts painting and printmaking graduate jumped at the opportunity when he saw the space at 316 Brook Rd. become available in September 2015. Along with fellow founders Eli McMullen and Wing Chow, Hess has since developed Endeavor into a hub for creative collaboration.

“It was a super fortuitous circumstance. It was kinda like, after graduating they sit you down and they’re like ‘well, you’re probably going to have a job serving coffee for four years and good luck,’” Hess said. “It’s kind of been that stabilizing force, a reason to make work because people are going to come see it.”

Hess and Communications and Marketing Director Nick De Souza said Endeavor is not geared toward a specific artistic medium. Rather, the space is a place for burgeoning creatives of all disciplines to display and craft their work.

“Once you’re out [of school] there’s really no easy means of publishing your independent work,” De Souza said. “Whether that’s writing, events, painting, really everything. So we’ve always geared the space since day one as a medium for other people to get their work out.”

De Souza graduated from VCU in 2016 with a degree in public relations. He said the creative practices at Endeavor range from laser cutting to performance art, comedy shows, writing, poetry slams, pottery making, illustrating, 3D modeling, leatherworking and cinematography, among others.

Although the space is home to frequent events and critiques, the pair said many artists come to Endeavor in search of the opportunity to simply share creative energy and work alongside one another in a communal setting.      

“It’s been absolutely amazing — the best community I could have asked for, misfits and weirdos coming through left and right,” Hess said. “All these people are radically sincere in their pursuits.”

Photo by Erin Edgerton

In an effort to provide VCU students with the same creative and professional opportunities that have meant so much to them, Hess, De Souza and their co-workers at Endeavor started an internship program at the beginning of 2017. The program has drawn students from several departments and allows them the opportunity to hone their skills in the art industry. Participants receive individualized projects specific to their field of study. It is Endeavor’s mission to “leave [students] with tangible projects for their portfolios and with intangible knowledge of Richmond’s creative workscape,” according to its website.

The studio accepts submissions for its internship program year-round for the spring, summer and fall semesters. Applicants can email Endeavor a resume and up to three portfolio examples.

Additionally, Hess and De Souza said they hope to develop an independent study class in which students can learn the logistics of putting on an art show.

Hess said he has been blown away by the support Endeavor has received from the Richmond community since its opening in 2015.  

“At our first show when we opened up, somewhere around 1,000 people showed up, we couldn’t believe it,” Hess said. “The response we got from people was so overwhelming. It seemed like people were hungry to have this kind of grassroots show.”

The three-year anniversary show will feature 15 artists and four performers. Hess and De Souza said they hope the event can help draw even more creative Richmonders to their artistic community.     

“We want to give people the opportunity that we’ve had with such an awesome space,” De Souza said.

Endeavor hosts free critique nights on the third Monday of every month at different venues across Richmond. For more information, sign up for Endeavor’s monthly newsletter and read about upcoming events at endeavorva.com, or follow the studio on Instagram or Facebook at endeavor.rva.  


1 Comment

  1. Hey guys! Can’t thank you enough for doing this article! It really sounds great. Only thing is that there’s a small mistake at the very start of the article. The caption right under the first photo says “…founded by Ian C. Hess and Nick DeSouza…” when it should be “…founded by Ian C. Hess and Eli McMUllen…”

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