Young woman inside a recording studio
VPM+ICA Community Media Center, is a free forum for community storytelling, offering podcasting workshops, training sessions and presentations for the next generation of media producers. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

‘There’s a story only you can tell’: Step inside the new VPM + ICA Community Media Center

The center, which is opening its physical doors for the first time, is a forum for community storytelling, and a way to find new voices that we need to hear.

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The VPM + ICA Community Media Center, which began operating virtually last fall and is now opening its physical doors for the first time, trains and educates students and community members to become audio producers, offering podcasting workshops as well as training sessions and presentations for aspiring storytellers. It was created to address issues of access and the barriers diverse voices often face as they try to tell and promote their stories.

The media center, located in the Dr. Murry N. DePillars Learning Lab at the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, is a free public resource.

“There’s a story only you can tell, and there are people out there that need to hear the thing that only you know — they need to hear the story that only you can tell,” said Chioke l’Anson, Ph.D., the center’s inaugural director of community media and an assistant professor of African American Studies in VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences.

What new storytellers sometimes need, he said, “is a little bit of development, a little bit of help. And that help is what the community media center provides.”

The center is a resource to teach “the art of storytelling,” said Jayme Swain, president and CEO of VPM and the Virginia Foundation for Public Media. “Our culture is so polarized, but I think when we get to know each other better, that’s what really can bring us together and strengthen our community.”

Take a look inside the new media center as it opens its doors for the first time: 

Main room with a conference table and chairs and decorative wall inside the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center
Inside the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

 

Young woman Inside one of the VPM+ICA Community Media Center's recording studios.
Inside one of the media center's recording studios. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

 

Chioke l’Anson
Chioke l’Anson, the VPM+ICA Community Media Center’s inaugural director of community media. What new storytellers sometimes need, he said, “is a little bit of development, a little bit of help. And that help is what the community media center provides.” (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

 

Young woman editing audio at the VPM+ICA Community Media Center.
Editing audio inside the media center. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)
Mural inside the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center.
Mural inside the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. The space was designed by a group that includes Camden Whitehead, an architect and associate professor of interior design at the VCU School of the Arts, VCUarts graduate students, adjunct professor Jillian Chapin, and Michael Lease, the ICA’s director of facilities and experience design. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)
Chioke l’Anson
Chioke l’Anson. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

 

Main room with a conference table and chairs and decorative wall inside the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center
The community media center is a resource to teach “the art of storytelling,” said Jayme Swain, president and CEO of VPM and the Virginia Foundation for Public Media. (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)

 

Chioke l’Anson
“The center will help people learn new ways of production,” l’Anson told VCU News earlier this year. “Through the process we might find new voices that we need to hear.” (Courtesy of the Institute for Contemporary Art)