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First-Year Exhibition 2023 winners announced

Four winners and three honorable mentions were selected at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s (MIAD) First-Year Experience Student Exhibition opening reception on Friday, March 24, 2023. Renato Umali, Mariah Tate Klemens and Gabrielle Banzhaf, the three jurors, commended all the participating students for their strong work.

Olivia Singer won Best in Show for Grace, a graphite drawing on paper. “This drawing basically clutched me by the throat, it was amazing,” says Banzhaf. Mo Johnson won for The All-Seeing Furby (white ink and Verithin colored pencil on mix-media paper), Amanda Smithvias for Chomp (stained glass), and Laken Dreher for ☆My Room! ^_^☆ (paint pens on Bristol). “Our winners brought us to this beautiful place of nostalgia,” said Banzhaf, noting overarching themes of the contemporary in conversation with the historical. “I think that everybody put their stamp on these iconic pieces,” Banzhaf continues.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Erin Haas for Operation Cake (stop motion), Kleo Van Dornick for Cardboard Box (cardboard and hot glue) and Daniel Perez for this half of the dichotomy (watercolor on paper). “These honorable mentions were chosen because they exhibit exceptional technical skills,” said the jurors. They noted the skillful use of materials, the beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail. “It speaks to the inability of language to address some of the things we have to deal with as humans,” said Umali of Perez’s work.

Winners received gift cards to BLICK Art Materials. The installation, which celebrates the creative and personal growth that students experienced over the course of their first year at the college, will be on display on MIAD’s second floor until September 2023.

Keep up with MIAD’s First-Year Experience on Instagram or learn more about the program!


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