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Lander Students Sweep Awards in Peach Belt Art Competition

Kyle Bryant, a senior at Lander University, created the Queen of Hearts sculpture, which won first place in the Peach Belt Conference Art Exhibition. Photo by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro

Lander University students from the Department of Art + Design earned top honors in the 2023 Peach Belt Conference Art Exhibition.

Of the six awards given in the annual competition, Lander students received four of the prizes.

Lander students swept the Campus Spirit Category by winning all of the awards.

Kyle Bryant, of Easley, won first place for his “Heads Will Roll” multimedia sculpture of a headless Queen of Hearts.

Jacob Ray Harry, of Simpsonville, earned second place honors with his sculpture, “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” created in steel and wood.

A multimedia work of art, featuring a rabbit wearing a men’s suit and titled “Calvin Works a 9-5,” won third place for Maggie Ahern, of Easley.

Anastasia Muzzarelli earned second place honors in the 2023 Peach Belt Conference Art Exhibition. Photo by Laura B Wood

In the General Category, Anastasia Muzzarelli earned second place for her oil and acrylic painting “Familiar Faces.”

For the ninth consecutive year, the art exhibition is presented digitally and has become a virtual exhibition for art lovers. Each institution in the Peach Belt Conference was invited to submit digital images of two- or three-dimensional artwork completed by students and faculty. All submitted artworks were featured in a slideshow presentation during the recent Peach Belt Conference Basketball Tournament Championships.

Muzzarelli, of Mauldin, said the human form was her inspiration for the painting.

“I was very interested in drawing and creating works that included the human form, and I wanted to experiment with different ways to portray the face,” she said. “I incorporated a lot of friends and family and tried to create a flowing composition with a range of emotions.”

Bryant, who recently won the Slay Sculpture Award during Lander’s Student Juried Exhibition, said the Queen of Hearts was first created for a puppet parade at Lander. He enhanced the puppet for the Lander art show and included a miniature guillotine as part of the display.

When asked why the Queen of Hearts lost her head, Bryant said, “She wouldn’t listen.”

Lander students have a history of success in the Peach Belt art show. Last year, Lander students won first place honors in the General and Campus Spirit categories. In 2021, student artists won four of the six awards.

Visit to view the exhibit.