Pop-up shop opens to benefit Brandcenter

Featured photo
A print of London from 2008 VCU Brandcenter art direction alumna Jennifer Maravillas’ “Cities” print series. Somewhere between cityscape, map and lyrical watercolor, Maravillas’ images allow viewers to encounter these great cities in a fresh and spontaneous way. They combine a passion for cartography with a deeper involvement with these magical places.

A VCU Brandcenter alumna has started an online pop-up shop in an effort to give back to the center.

Ashley Sommardahl, a 1998 VCU graduate and current director of student affairs and industry outreach for the Brandcenter, recently launched the Brandcenter Pop-up Shop, a store that is only open for a finite amount of time. The shop features various items created by Brandcenter alumni and faculty, including paintings and jewelry.

“I’m always so inspired by the work I see our alums doing in the industry,” Sommardahl said. “But I’m equally inspired by their ‘side projects.’ I’d always see their paintings, jewelry, products, etc. on Facebook and Instagram. I was trying to think of a unique, creative way to celebrate our alums and engage them in giving and raising some money for the school.”

Sommardahl said she initially reached out to approximately 30 alumni to gauge interest in donating items to the shop.

“Everyone said yes immediately,” she said. “Our alum network is incredibly engaged and connected.”

VCU Brandcenter art direction alumna Jennifer Maravillas with one of her cities behind her.
VCU Brandcenter art direction alumna Jennifer Maravillas with one of her cities behind her.

Proceeds from the shop will go to the Brandcenter Annual Fund, which provides scholarships for the center. The fund also provides equipment for the Brandcenter, such as cameras, 3-D printers and lighting.

While this is the first year of the Brandcenter Pop-up Shop, Sommardahl is excited for the future of the shop.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done something like this,” she said. “If there’s interest, I’d love to do a new one each fall and feature new alums each year.”

The Brandcenter Pop-up Shop runs through Dec. 17. The shop can be reached here:


Subscribe for free to the VCU News email newsletter at and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Monday and Thursday during the academic year.