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Seven Students Take Top Honors at Lander University’s Annual Art Exhibit

Lander University senior Preston Dunning, center, stands next his ceramic artwork "Language Theory" in the university's Monsanto Art Gallery. Dunning's work was awarded Best In Show by artist Jim Shore, left, at Lander's annual Student Juried Exhibit. The exhibit was organized by Jim Slagle, right, Chair of Lander's Department of Art, and by Jon Holloway, Director of the Monsanto Art Gallery.

A crowd of nearly 200 showed up on Feb. 2 to see four seniors, two juniors and one freshman win top honors at Lander University's annual Student Juried Exhibit.

The public exhibit, run by the College of Arts & Humanities since the mid-1970s, featured 75 art pieces in the Monsanto Art Gallery from all levels of art students.

"This is the third time I've entered the juried show, but only my second time getting into it," said senior Lindsay Soto, of Greenville, who placed second for her graphic design "Wayfaring." "I think it's an important lesson to keep trying and keep working harder and eventually it will be your time."

World-renowned artist and exhibition juror Jim Shore awarded 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place prizes in the categories of sculpture, ceramics, computer graphics, drawing, painting and print making, and photography.

First-place category winners included:

  • Senior Sam Robertson, of Abbeville, Ceramics - "He Kai Kei Aku Ringa" (There is food at the end of my hands)
  • Senior Olivia Bolt, of Gray Court, Sculpture - "Stripes"
  • Senior Molly Ott, of Boiling Springs, Painting - "An Abstract Melanie Fennel"
  • Junior Jamie Daniels, of Irmo, Photography - "The 1950's"
  • Junior Jamea Bryson-Phillips, of Clover, Graphic Design - "Melanin Glows"
  • Freshman Hannah Hipp, of Clinton, Drawing - Musical Passions"

"I was impressed by the whole body of work," said Shore, whose country and home décor pieces are found in more than 25,000 stores worldwide. "It not only showed the caliber of the arts students at Lander, but also the level of instruction they are getting."

Shore saved the best for last, announcing senior Preston Dunning as the winner of Best In Show for his entry "Language Theory," a three-part ceramics composition about why humans speak and how humans come to put language together.

"Mr. Dunning demonstrated a strong understanding of composition, and intuitiveness for color and proportion," Shore said. "He also created a sense of excitement and curiosity that I found very impressive for someone at the student level."

Dunning, a visual arts and Spanish major from Laurens, said the honor was something he "didn't expect."

"This was my third time displaying work in the gallery, but it was my first time winning and it feels amazing," said Dunning, who also placed second in photography. "After I graduate, I want to travel to Peru, learn about other cultures and languages, and eventually teach others about language and art."

All student works will be on display through Feb. 20 in the Monsanto Gallery.

"The juried exhibit is always special," said Jon Holloway, associate professor of art and Monsanto Art Gallery director. "For any student who gets their work into it, it really says something about their ability and potential."

Senior Rashaad Pippins, of Beaufort, added that the three times he was chosen to display his work at the juried exhibit will be a springboard to success in the world after graduation.

"My biggest lesson learned from the exhibit is to not settle with the level I'm currently in, but to keep advancing and work harder than before," said Pippins, who placed third for his graphic design "Calm Down." "I plan to start off in a graphic design establishment, then in the future branch off into my own design company."