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Exhibition Showcases Creativity of Lander Art, Design Students

Ana Moreno, of Simpsonville, received the Best in Show award for the 2023 Student Juried Exhibition at Lander University. Photo by Emily Montgomery

From a headless Queen of Hearts sculpture to nostalgic black-and-white photography to bright graphic designs, the creativity of Lander University’s art and design undergraduate students is recognized in the 2023 Student Juried Exhibition.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, continues through March 8 in the Lander Art Gallery.

Ana Moreno, of Simpsonville, won Best in Show for her mixed media sculpture, comprising a faux fur house with a metal dog standing in the front door. “This piece was born from the fun of creating art,” said Moreno, who will graduate in May. “I took inspiration from my dog, a poodle mix named Lucy.”

Moreno said the award was unexpected. “I was so impressed by the work entered by my fellow classmates that I assumed I wouldn't win anything. I was just happy to have been in the show. When they called me up for Best of Show, I was really surprised,” she said.

The award-winning artist and a President’s List scholar, Moreno was visiting her brother Alex, a media and communications major at Lander, when one of his professors talked to her about attending the University to pursue her art studies. “It was a good decision for me,” she said.

Moreno hopes the siblings can combine their arts interests for a career and develop “a creative company together so we can bring art and entertainment to the community.”

“Alex is good with computers and technology when I am not, and I am good at building stuff when he is not,” she said. “We have what the other lacks, but share common goals, and that's what makes us such a good team.”

Kyle Bryant, of Easley, received the Slay Sculpture Award for his Queen of Hearts sculpture at Lander University’s Student Juried Exhibition. Bryant’s resourcefulness in creating the sculpture included a dress from Goodwill, heart-shaped objects from the Dollar Tree and a guillotine crafted from leftover wood at a woodworking shop. Photo by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro

The intricate Queen of Hearts sculpture, titled “Heads will Roll,” featured a vivid red dress with a bustle made from coat hangers and a collar of mattress springs – alongside a small guillotine. The creation of Kyle Bryant, of Easley, included the lopped-off queen’s head with rotating eyes, made from ornaments that rolled continuously, thanks to the power of a small motor.

Bryant attended the show with high school friends, Christel Ahern and Katelyn Green, who also are Lander art majors. “We grew up down the street from each other and came to Lander together to study art.”

The friends garnered multiple awards at the exhibition, which was judged by Charles Jeffcoat, the Peter D. Hyman Professor of Fine Arts at Francis Marion University.

Jessica Duran, whose ceramics received top awards at the show, grew up in Greenwood after her family moved to the Palmetto State from Mexico. A senior, Duran will graduate in May and plans to pursue a master’s degree in art education at Lander.

Jessica Duran, of Greenwood, won first place in the ceramics competition of the Student Juried Exhibition at Lander. She also received a merit award for her work. Photo by Emily Montgomery

“I would love to teach here one day in Greenwood and experience what it would be like as an educator since I’ve already experienced it as a student, and I enjoyed it. Eventually I want to expand and move to a bigger city and look at other teaching opportunities,” she said.

Her desire to share her love for art stems from the instruction she received from her high school art teacher, who was devoted to her students. “I knew that I wanted to have that same impact on students. After taking my first field experience class here at Lander, I knew I was in the right career path because of how excited the students were to see me in their classrooms on a daily basis,” she said.

Creating ceramic pieces is a peaceful pursuit, she said.

“I forget about everything else when I am on the wheel. You also never know what you’re going to get or how it will ultimately turn out. I enjoy the little surprises after kiln firings,” said Duran, who enjoys working with other materials, such as steel, papier-mâché, and other mixed media.  

Students receiving sculpture awards included Kyle Bryant, Slay Sculpture Award; Georgia Watts, the Badass Sculpture Award, and Kennedy Henjes, the Blue Violet Sculpture Award.

Merit Awards were presented to Kennedy Henjes, the Art History Merit Award; Anastasia Muzzarelli, the Dig the Dirt Merit Award, and Erin Anderson, the Dig More Dirt Merit Award. Other merit award honors were presented to Anastasia Muzzarelli, Jessica Duran, Mary “MG” Morrow, Alyssa Glazer, Katelynn Green, Kristina Peay, Victoria “Tori” Taylor, Emily “Kephira” Davis, Erin Anderson and Hannah Sacay-Bagwell.

Special category awards included:

  • Ceramics – Jessica Duran, first; Faith Holmes, second, and Anastasia Muzzarelli, third;
  • Sculpture – David Urbanic, first; Carla Sease, second, and Christel Ahern, third;
  • Photography – Brooke Ruhoff, first; Hannah Sacay-Bagwell, second, and Kristina Peay, third;
  • Painting/Printmaking – Amber Reese, first; David Urbanic, second, and Anastasia Muzzarelli, third;
  • Drawing – Alyssa Glazer, first and second place, and Carlie Beth Wilson, third;
  • Graphic Design – Katelyn Green, first; Kyle Bryant, second, and Christel Ahern, third.
Kenney Henjes and Carlie Beth Wilson earned Purchase Award honors.