The CVPA Presents Grata Retro

(Photographed by Photography Manager Rena Danho)

Photography Manager: Rena Danho


If you haven’t heard of Grata Retro, you’re sorely missing out on one of the best on-campus events at UMass Dartmouth.

Grata Retro is a yearly event where CVPA students showcase their available art by selling it to other students and the public, showing off their art skills. While shopping was the main attraction, live music and great vibes were what really drew customers in.

Vanessa DiMase, Illustration Major (Photographed by Photography Manager Rena Danho)

Throughout Grata Retro, you could find various art majors, from illustration to photography and even animation game arts. There were many options for things you could take home, from stickers to keychains, prints, and even crocheted purses. 

I was lucky enough to talk to some of the students tabling at the event and get their opinions on how they felt about Grata Retro. 

As shown above, in the picture, Vanessa was one of the first people I talked to at the event. Vanessa DiMase is a senior in the Illustration program here at UMass Dartmouth and even has her own Etsy account, sharing her art and what she sells.

Is this your first year doing Grat Retro?

Vanessa DiMase: “No, actually, this is my third. I started sophomore year and loved it, so I’ve been doing it every year after that.”

Do you think with Grata Retro, you’re getting your art more out there, and more people are noticing it?

Vanessa DiMase: “Oh, for sure, it’s like a great practice, too. I did this and was like, oh, let me start my Etsy and stuff because it’s such a good experience for me. For sure, it gets your art out there and in the community and the school community, which is awesome.”

Should CVPA do more stuff like this?

Vanessa DiMase: “Absolutely, oh my god, I feel like we have such a vibrant community, and the fact that we only keep it to CVPA is such a shame. I feel like we need to spread out.”

Katelyn Pereira, Graphic Design & Photography Major (Photographed by Photography Manager Rena Danho)

Katelyn is one of the students I interviewed at Grata Retro. At her stand, Katelyn was selling stickers of Arnie and some prints of different singers (Melanie Martinez and Mitski).

How do you feel about Grata Retro?

Katelyn Pereira: “It’s so much fun. This is my first time vending. I’ve seen a lot of people, and a lot of people like my work, so I’m very happy, and it’s giving me a major ego boost, not going to lie. But it’s making me feel confident in my work.”

Do you wish CVPA did more stuff like this?

Katelyn Pereira: “Yes. This is so fun. I know last year I noticed it was just Grata Retro. We didn’t do anything else, so we should do more like this. I would be there.”

Does Grata Retro really help out with the art community here at UMass Dartmouth?

Kately Pereira: “Yes, I’ve seen so many cool people, and there are alumni here too that are selling their stuff too, which is crazy. Especially because you don’t have to pay. I know many places getting a table somewhere you have to pay, but you’re only making a profit here.”

Mya Ferreira, Jewelry Metal & Sculpture Major (Photographed by Photography Manager Rena Danho)

Mya was another student I had the privilege to ask about Grata Retro. Mya is a jewelry metal and sculpting major here at UMass Dartmouth, and her class with Stacy Savage made stilts for the event where anyone could try them out and walk in them across the grass.

How do you feel about Grata Retro?

Mya Ferreira: “Grata Retro is so much fun. It’s like seeing not only people currently in the CVPA community, but alumni, all of their work, and right now we are doing a stilts project which is going well.”

So, I know you’re not vending, but how is it being at Grata Retro?

Mya Ferreira: “I think it’s just a ton of fun, especially seeing all the people’s work and the turnout in general. It’s just a fun night, so many things to do.”

Heather Vangjeli, CVPA Alumni (Photographed by Photography Manager Rena Danho)

Lastly, I was lucky enough to talk to Heather Vangjeli. Heather is an alumni of UMass Dartmouth who graduated in 2023 as an illustration major and made a complete children’s book for her senior project. Now, for Grata Retro, she came back to sell her art.

How do you feel about returning to UMass Dartmouth as an alumni to showcase your art?

Heather Vangjeli: “It’s unreal to see all of my friends that are still here, but it’s also an amazing opportunity because it’s hard to get places to sell your art in the real world.”

How do you feel about Grata Retro, and have you done it before?

Heather Vangjeli: “It’s my first time; it’s really cool. I wish I could spend more time looking at other people’s tables, but it’s an opportunity for all the creatives to get together, which is amazing.”

Do you wish CVPA did more stuff like this?

Heather Vangjeli: “Yeah, absolutely, like, give people who create art a chance to sell it and actually experience the real world.”

As you can see from the interviews, Grata Retro is a huge event for the CVPA students, and not only is it essential to our art community, but it’s also so much fun meeting so many new people and seeing their art. 

With the loss of the Star Store, the art community has suffered an enormous loss. It’s not just a loss of creative space for some of our majors here. It was also vital to our art community, bringing people together under one roof.

Grata Retro was an excellent start to the beginning of the semester and the art community in bringing us together again.

*Feature image changed on 9/25/23


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