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2020 School of Visual Art and Design Student Awards

April 23, 2020

Congratulations to the following School of Visual Art and Design students and alumni on their faculty-nominated awards for the academic year!

Rising Senior Awards:

Art Education – Emily J. Filaseta

“Emily Filaseta has excelled in our art education program. She is enthusiastic and her commitment to becoming an art teacher is evident in everything that she does. She studied abroad at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She challenges herself daily, as a life-long learner to develop both her conceptual and adaptive skills as an artist and person.” Dr. Minuette Floyd

Art History – Sarah Louise Rhodes

“Sarah Louise is an excellent and engaged student with the highest GPA among rising seniors in art history. Also a member of the Honors College, she is pursuing a thesis that combines her political science and art history backgrounds, investigating policies surrounding stolen and repatriated art in Europe. This semester, she studied art history in Florence - an experience that was unfortunately interrupted by Covid-19 - but she remains dedicated to her thesis project and to returning to Italy to complete research soon.” Dr. Anna Swartwood House

Media Arts – William J. Hollerung 

“William did not only make fascinating projects but also actively develop a way to make his projects conceptually creative. He improved his own language of new media art based on the academic experience. As an aspiring artist/designer, he deserves the award.” Professor Byeongwon Ha

Studio Art (printmaking) – Alyson R. Fisher

“Alyson's practice encompasses printmaking, drawing, painting and collage. As a student and artist, Alyson is curious, deeply engaged and willing to take risks. In her recent solo exhibition at Stormwater Studios, she aimed "to depict the phenomena in female relationships that focus on the coexistence of empathy and competition." Her work has also been included in multiple group exhibitions in the Passage Gallery and at City Art. As President of the Ink and Paper Student Organization, Alyson rallied other students to participate in Arts and Draughts at the CMA and organized a trip to Puerto Rico for the annual international SGCI printmaking conference (which has unfortunately been canceled due to COVID-19). As Head Printmaking Lab Monitor, Alyson manages the other monitors and the lab schedule, assists students working in the lab, and helps maintain an organized, well-functioning facility. Although just a junior, Alyson has already begun planning and executing work for her Spring 2021 BFA exhibition.” Professor Mary Robinson 

Studio Art (graphic design) – Jahnna L. Blyden

“Ms. Blyden demonstrates a great deal of what it takes to be a successful designer: curiosity, creativity, determination, and tenacity. Her solutions are consistently considerate of her environment and the people for whom they help. Jahnna Blyden is a stand-out rising senior who is deserving of this recognition.” Professor Meena Khalili

Undergraduate Studio Art Excellence Awards, in honor of Ed Yaghjian:

The Undergraduate Studio Art Excellence Awards, in honor of Ed Yaghjian, is given to an undergraduate Art Studio major who has distinguished him or herself in the production of works of art in each area.

Drawing – Kelley F. Pettibone

“Kelley Pettibone is a motivated and dedicated individual, skilled and thoughtful in her approach to both concept and medium. In her drawings over the past year, Ms. Pettibone worked through questions relating to how we process grief through artwork. Her approach to mixed-media drawing is strong, as she incorporates new techniques and materials throughout her process. She is richly deserving of this award.” Professor Sara Schneckloth

Printmaking – Benjamin R. Doyle

“Ben Doyle is a dedicated artist and printmaker. He is willing to grapple with form and meaning in his work and continually strives for excellent craftsmanship. He readily helps other students, both with technique and critique. He has served as a volunteer lab monitor for several semesters and is an active member of the Ink and Paper Student Organization. Although just a junior, Ben has already begun planning and executing work for his Spring 2021 BFA exhibition.” Professor Mary Robinson

Graphic Design – Brooke A. Daniels

“Brooke has been a very successful student in graphic design since she was accepted into our program. She sets the bar for the other students as she is always prepared with multiple design solutions. Brooke always has well researched and thoughtful solutions to her assignments. She has always been hard working and a student that you can count on for professionalism.” Professor Stephanie Nace

3D – Tyler M. Durish

“Tyler was in my ARTS 225 in the fall. She also was integral in brainstorming and collecting and organizing materials for the large-scale collaborative installation, "Home," at Stormwater Studios. Tyler was thoughtful, engaged, and open to new ideas throughout the semester and we had many discussions about difficult and timely topics and how to interpret them through sculpture. Searching to make meaningful work, and gaining confidence throughout the semester, she pushed the boundaries of what sculpture can be, making compelling and deeply personal performance sculptures.” Professor Naomi Falk


Undergraduate Excellence Awards:

Undergraduate Media Arts Excellence – Luismario Rosas Rivera

The Undergraduate Media Arts Excellence Award, in honor of A. Porter McLaurin, is given to an undergraduate Media Arts major who has distinguished him or herself in the media arts.
“Luismario is an active, engaged and brave media maker in all his film and video production coursework. The Media Arts faculty celebrate Luismario because he is deeply engaged in the process of media making and always reflecting on his work-- on what it means, on ethical concerns, on his relationships with others, and how he can improve with each and every project.” Professor Laura Kissel

 Undergraduate Media Arts Excellence – Holly M. Kuldell
The Undergraduate Media Arts Excellence Award, in honor of A. Porter McLaurin,  is given to an undergraduate Media Arts major who has distinguished him or herself in the media arts.

“Holly, with her focus on comedy and TV writing, has pursued and achieved excellence not only in MART’s TV writing and Screenwriting classes, but she also has been extremely active collaborating with her fellow students. This ambitious, inquisitive attitude has paid off handsomely, with her comedy punch-up writing work on TV Writing class grad Tyler Spaid’s TV pilot script, which he wrote in the tv writing class, and then directed, and is now streaming at Amazon Prime! That this spectacular early career success happened in her senior year is a tribute to Holly!” Professor Northrop Davis

Undergraduate Art History Excellence – Grace D. Harling
The Undergraduate Art History Excellence Award, in honor of Charles R. Mack, is given to an undergraduate Art History major who has distinguished him or herself in art history.

“Grace Harling is not only a serious and engaged student, she is also a lively and engaging one. She participates actively in class and brings genuine curiosity, commitment, and imagination to her work. For my methodology course, she undertook research on a portrait painting in the collection of the Columbia Museum of Art that posed real challenges in terms of the identity of the subject, as well as its attribution. The final paper that resulted was strong, insightful, original, and of great interest to the curatorial staff at the Museum. Although it was not required, Grace made changes to improve the paper after the course ended, so that it could be a useful document for the Museum's files. Grace's imaginative engagement with art history was also on full display in Professor Chametzky's Art in Germany Since 1937 course, in which her presentation on Fluxus conveyed the significance and history of the movement AND included a Fluxus inspired performance in which the entire class participated.” Dr. Susan Felleman


Graduate Research Awards:

Graduate Studio Art Research – Aldric Morton
The Graduate Studio Art Research Award, in honor of John Benz is given to a graduate Art Studio major who has distinguished him or herself in the production of works of art.

“Aldric Morton's drawings emerge from intense engagement with his subjects and his medium, a conversation between people that manifests on paper. Aldric graduated with his BFA in drawing from SVAD over a decade ago; he returned for his MFA with intense conviction, an open and questioning approach to his work, and a complete dedication to creating drawings that capture nuances of the human condition. Aldric's studio research in graduate school has been exemplary and promises a rich and meaningful career ahead.” Professor Sara Schneckloth

“Aldric Morton's MFA exhibition, Empathetic Translation (working title), is composed of 18-20 works on paper: 8 large and 10-12 smaller pieces. The images are striking from a distance, each one strong in its composition and bold in color, the latter quality an exciting leap for Aldric. But the true reward comes when observing the works closely and spending time with each one. Each is a drawing and collage portrait, revealing through its form, color, texture and text, deeply personal aspects of the subject. The work is poetic and masterful. Thread is often incorporated to underscore entrapment at times, or extension and healing in other moments. Aldric states: "We have been trained to look at the surface of our surroundings, and social media is a simple process of scrolling through images and bits of information quickly. My work is a constant attempt to inspire people to retrain themselves to investigate the information they take in, to gain deeper understanding." Professor Mary Robinson

Graduate Media Arts Research – Matthew C. Hill
This award, in honor of Sandra Wertz, is given to a graduate Media Arts major who has distinguished him or herself in the media arts.

“Matthew Hill is an exceptional researcher, teacher, and scholar whose work on Japanese Crisis Cinema after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is field-changing. He works tirelessly to incorporate sources from a panoply of diverse scholarly fields in order to contextualize the societal effects of the disaster on aesthetics, thematics, and spectatorial engagement. Matthew is one of the most giving and attentive teachers we have seen in our graduate program and we are very proud of his work inside and beyond the classroom.” Dr. Lauren Steimer

Service Awards:

 Undergraduate Distinguished Service – Sarah Jane Ballentine
The Undergraduate Distinguished Service Award, in honor of Catherine Rembert is given to an undergraduate student majoring in any of the undergraduate programs whose service to the department or programs is significant.

“Sarah Jane Ballentine is a student worker in SVAD's main office where she has assisted us in daily operations for almost 2 years. In Spring 2020, Sarah Jane began assisting Olga Yukhno in the McMaster Gallery where she's organized and hung exhibitions, helped organize and host exhibition openings, and more. Sarah Jane has a hands-on, can-do spirit. She dives head-in first with all the requests given to her and completes them cheerfully and successfully. She also volunteered her time to serve as a SVAD student representative at the recruitment event, College Art Day at the State Museum, in spring 2020. All SVAD faculty and staff have benefited from Sarah Jane's unwavering commitment to the School of Visual Art and Design.” Professor Laura Kissel

Art Education Service – Justin M. Keiner
The Art Education Service Award, in honor of Jim L. Cromer is given to an Art Education major who has made significant contributions to the department or specific program through service activities.

“Justin has been actively involved in the National Art Education Student Chapter for over two years and helped with organizing art making workshops and fundraisers. He also presented his work at the State Art Education Association Conference and designed and conducted art making workshops for high school students at the local Department of Juvenile Justice as part of the NAEA Student Chapter community outreach.” Dr. Olga Ivashkevich 

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award is given to an alum who has made significant contributions to the arts.

Wade Sellers

“Wade Sellers (Media Arts, 1996) is a Columbia, SC based media producer and owner of the media production company Coal Powered Filmworks. Since its founding in 2008, Coal Powered Filmworks has produced regional and national documentary and commercial content for clients ranging from UofSC to the US Army. For more than 20 years Sellers has worked actively as a freelance cinematographer for independent documentary films, and on commercial projects for national brands. His filmography includes six major documentary projects as Director/Editor or Producer/Director. These include an eight-hour documentary series for South Carolina Educational Television, "South Carolinians in World War II" (produced years 2010-2015), for which he was nominated for a Southeastern Regional Emmy Award in the documentary category. The majority of these films achieved national broadcast across PBS stations in multiple markets, and five were nominated for a Southeastern Emmy Award in the documentary category. Sellers is very active in Columbia, South Carolina's art and media communities. He's served as President of the Jam Room Music Festival Association since 2014, President of the Columbia Design League (2015-2017), and is current President of The Jasper Project. Wade Sellers has also been a terrific supporter of Media Arts students over many years. For more than a decade he has hired our current students and alumni as interns and production assistants and given them valuable on the job training. He has given back to Media Arts in so many ways over the years as a guest speaker in classes, and by including our students in the many projects he undertakes.” Professor Laura Kissel

Todd Herman

“Todd Herman is a former Chief Curator at the Columbia Museum of Art, former Director and CEO of the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, AR. In 2018, he was named President and CEO of the Mint Museum in Charlotte.” Instructor Mana Hewitt

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