VCU Brandcenter Offers Support to Creative Circus Students

By Kyle O'Brien 

The Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University has offered its support to the students who are being impacted by The Creative Circus’ recent decision to close its doors in late 2023. The invitation is being made in consultation with and support of The Creative Circus administration.

Brandcenter, one of the nation’s top advertising, branding and design educational programs, will offer Creative Circus students the opportunity to transfer to the Brandcenter and work to complete their portfolio—earning a certificate that encapsulates their time at both institutions.

“As a peer institution, we’ve long respected the quality of the Circus program, the caliber of its faculty and our shared commitment in preparing students for success in the industry,” Brandcenter’s executive director Vann Graves said in a statement. “We are in a unique position to offer support for Circus students who want to pivot and may see us as a fit in achieving their career goals. We also want to be mindful of the fact that this is a detour from their original path. We have a plan in place to walk interested students through the process as quickly and efficiently as possible, ensuring we prioritize solutions that help absorb the impact of transitioning between programs should they choose to join us.”

Brandcenter will work directly with interested Circus students, integrating them into its existing second-year cohort and classes and will provide scholarships to Circus students to help offset the cost of the transition.

“I’ve had the opportunity to teach at both of these schools (years at both),” said Mike Lear, executive creative director at Brighthouse and a Circus alumnus, in a statement. “With the recent news about The Creative Circus and uncertainty of what the final year there could look like, the offer from Brandcenter could be a great opportunity for these students to have the best of both. I was very excited to hear about it.”

The Creative Circus’s announced its closing recently after 27 years of educating ad students.

“The generosity of this offer is bigger than it appears,” Kristen Cavallo, CEO of The Martin Agency, said in a statement. “Circus students will have access to the career placement and recruiter sessions of the Brandcenter, as well as its extensive alumni network. The dividends extend well beyond a certificate or graduation; they’re getting a kick start and a support system for their entire career.”

Amber Guild, CEO at Grey New York, added in a statement: “The graduates of the Creative Circus program have forever made an important impact on our industry. I’m heartened to see this initiative. Both programs have forever shared a common goal—to fuel our industry with the next generation of talent.”

Daryl Lee, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, said in a statement that he hopes Brandcenter’s commitment to “providing a home for Creative Circus students will ensure an ever more diverse and inclusive marketing community.”