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Mark GageMark Gage ’11 (Communication Design) poured his passion for school arts programs into his senior thesis work. That passion, and considerable skill, was rewarded with top honors in the student portion of the United Adworkers Milwaukee 99 Awards Show, an event that showcased many MIAD students and alumni.

Gage’s Gold Award capped MIAD’s clean sweep of the student portion of the show. Communication Design seniors Dave Hoffman, Brian Frey, Nate Pyper and Alisha Denomme received Merit Awards.

Frey UEC“I wasn’t surprised,” Gage, 24, said of MIAD’s sweep. “It was great. There was a lot of good work.”

The annual event draws more than 400 members of the area’s creative advertising professionals, while showcasing their most outstanding submissions.

Members of the United Adworkers Board of Directors (who work at or lead some of Milwaukee’s most prestigious firms) judge the student portion of the competition.

Gage’s award-winning campaign consists of his senior thesis work, a series of video public service announcement commercials to raise awareness of the decline in funding for school arts programs.

Nonetheless, he was blown away by the work of Communication Design seniors Dave Hoffman, Denomme bicBrian Frey, Nate Pyper and Alisha Denomme. They all received Merit Awards for their submissions.

“I was pretty impressed,” Gage, art director at JWD-Creative who also freelances, said of the current seniors.

MIAD Communication Design faculty Ashley Potter ’07 (Communication Design) and Dan Augustine ’03 (Studio Art minor), who taught Advertising at MIAD last year, each had two of the award-winning students in class.

“Both teachers are phenomenal. They challenged us to push our projects to their furthest potentials,” Pyper said. “Their support is what helped us do so well at the Milwaukee 99.”

Pyper created a print campaign “Make Our Community More Colorful” for the Riverwest Co-op. HoffmanFrey created bus shelter advertisements for the Urban Ecology Center. Denomme submitted print ads for BIC lighters with the theme “Need a Light?”

Hoffman was actually part of multiple award winners. He received a Merit Award for his class project promoting “Pink Pearl Erasers” as vehicles of creativity. Hoffman also worked on an award-winning logo design and an application website through his internship at Jigsaw.

“We have some really talented people at MIAD. Competition never seems fair because I see such amazing work every single day,” Hoffman said. “It can’t possibly all be recognized in one night.”

Agenieszka Wojnar ’11 (Communication Design and Illustration) shared a Gold medal with Cramer-Krasselt for her illustration work on the 15th Annual Penfield Croquet Ball.

Pyper Riverwest

Nick Waraksa ’04 (Communication Design) was part of a team that took home the event’s Best in Show award for its television commercial for the Oklahoma Cancer Center. Waraksa is a partner at Blend studios, who worked with BVK on the advertisement.

Keith Goldberg (Rally Marketing Group, Seattle), Riley Kane (Mono, Minneapolis), Tim McKee (Atmosphere Proximity, New York), and Jim Schmidt (Downtown Partners, Chicago) judged the professional submissions.

Click here to watch Gage’s public service campaign videos.

Click here to watch the Best in Show video that Waraksa helped create.

Click here to learn more about MIAD’s Communication Design department.

Gage working


Brian Frey ’12 (Communication Design), “Education & Awareness,” Urban Ecology Center

Alisha Denomme ’12 (Communication Design), “Need a Light?” BIC Lighters

Dave Hoffman ’12 (Communication Design), “A Vehicle for Creativity,” Paper Mate

Nate Pyper ’12 (Communication Design), “Make Our Community More Colorful,” Riverwest Co-op

Mark Gage ’11 (Communication Design) illustrates a scene from his award-winning “Help Save The Arts” campaign.