Brittany Fan: Graphic Designer, Artist

Brittany Fan
  • Class of: Col ’15, Educ ’15 (Studio Art, Art History, and Arts Administration Interdisciplinary, and a Masters in Elementary Education)
  • Hometown: Blacksburg, VA
  • Current City: Charlottesville, VA
  • Current Job: Graphic designer, wedding and portrait photographer, a regionally and nationally exhibiting painter, a stationery and editorial illustrator, and occasional floral designer
  • Bodo’s Order: Depending on what I’m feeling, it’s either a sausage, egg, and cheese on everything, or cinnamon raisin with honey and butter

Tell us about your UVA story. What were you involved in? What were your favorite memories?

During my time at UVA, I was a volunteer and program director for Madison House, a member of the College Council, creative director for InterVarsity, an intern at the Center for Christian Study, a tutor with Abundant Life, a host with the Monroe Society, an intern with the Fralin Museum of Art, a part of Alternative Spring Break, and an Echols Scholar. I was definitely one of those students who signed up for way too many things at the Student Activities Fair, and then actually proceeded to do a lot of them. As a student, I loved gathering people together and convincing my friends to participate in random events and experiences to make the most of our time at the University. That included everything from spontaneous picnics in the gardens to paint wars outside of Mem Gym to playing Quidditch for a cause.

My favorite memories revolve around experiences with people—lots of dinner parties with friends, sunrise hikes at Humpback, driving out into the wilderness at 2am to stargaze far away from light pollution. I also traveled a lot during my time at UVA, doing J-Terms in France and Italy, as well as going to Texas, NYC, Maryland, and Peru for service trips. I loved getting to know mentors and professors, and in addition to building those relationships personally, I coordinated conversational lunch groups with professors for the College Council. This was always a fun way to meet faculty members whose courses and research I found topically intriguing, beyond my own course of study.

Tell us what you’re up to today!

I stayed in Charlottesville after college and became a full-time graphic designer at a wonderful design company downtown. I’m also a local wedding and portrait photographer, a regionally and nationally exhibiting painter, a stationery and editorial illustrator, and sometime floral designer. Basically, I spend my time making things and being creative, and get paid for it! I am currently the vice-chair of the board for New City Arts (which is a local arts non-profit) and work intimately with several other local non-profits, including a post-college leadership program and Kindness Cafe, a new coffee shop opening soon that will employ individuals with intellectual disabilities. When I’m not doing all of that, I travel around the country and the world, host a lot of dinner parties, and hang out with my very goofy rescue dog.

What makes you say Wahoowa?

Since arriving at UVA in 2011, I’ve watched the UVA community and Charlottesville go through a lot—both tragedies and celebrations, victories and losses. It’s been inspiring to witness the positive outcomes and the camaraderie that have resulted from both the good and the bad, and I’m proud to be a part of a school that in many ways demonstrates community, integrity, resilience and service in both ordinary and extraordinary times.

What’s the biggest way in which you hope alumni can impact UVA?

Giving back to the next generation of UVA students and carrying UVA’s legacy out into the rest of the world in positive ways. I think UVA alumni can be an amazing resource in the world and I’ve watched as many of my friends have gone on to do wonderful things in the communities that they’re now embedded in, both near and far from Grounds and Charlottesville. I think it speaks volumes when we leave this place that has formed us for many years and then carry that legacy with us into the next chapters of our lives. I also think it’s important to return back to our roots at UVA—as an alum, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and mentor many current students, and in doing so provide them with some perspective on post-college life and career. I also still serve in some capacities with different groups at UVA; all of this has not only been an act of my giving back, but has also been a gift to me as I continue to be formed by those experiences and those I connect with.