Academy of Art University Showcases VR Exhibit to Members of Congress

Washington D.C. – At the request of the US Office of Cultural Affairs, students and faculty from Academy of Art University recently presented an interactive virtual reality (VR) project to members of Congress and their guests in the House of Representatives Ways and Means Hearing Room in Washington D.C.

Created over the course of multiple semesters, Academy of Art University students from various disciplines collaborated with the Norman Rockwell Museum for its newest touring VR experience, “Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms.”

Rich Bradway, from the Norman Rockwell Museum, wanted to create a VR experience that immersed people in an interactive art experience.

Congresswoman tries out VR
Ways & Means Room during the presentation

Lead by a core team from the School of Game Development, the collaboration included students and staff from the departments of Illustration, Interaction & UI/UX Design, Animation & Visual Effects, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, and Motion Pictures & Television, who all contributed assets and resources to the final project.

“It’s an amazing experience to get this type of high profile exposure for a project that our students and faculty have worked so hard on,” said David Goodwine, Executive Director of the School of Game Development.

A Collaborative Production

To produce a project of this scope with emerging technologies, the Academy created a new, collaborative lab format class where students facilitated different production roles under the direction of faculty and staff.

“I learned the technical side of how you put a game together and how to collaborate amongst the different disciplines; also, working with the museum, it’s learning how to work with a client,” said Illustration student Abigail Lashbrook.

Under the direction of Phil Kauffold, Technical Lead with the School of Game Development, the exhibit has been touring publicly since May 2018.

For the past 3 months, over 35,000 people have put on an Oculus VR device at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. From there, the touring exhibit will be headed to France, and Texas, before finally residing at the Rockwell Museum in Fall 2020.

Phil Kauffold and David Goodwine
Phil Kauffold and David Goodwine


About Academy of Art University

Founded in San Francisco in 1929, Academy of Art University offers more than 125 accredited degree options spanning more than 40 areas of study. It is one of the largest private art and design universities in the United States. For more information, please visit

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