By Myshala Liddick |
May 3, 2023

UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) is proud of the many successes of our hard working students, faculty, and alumni. We’re starting a new outlet to share these successes called “Art Bytes” to share recent bites of SVAD news seasonally with the arts community. This spring, we celebrated many accomplishments:

CREATE, Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment, has been selected to receive $3K in funding from the Cartwright Family Humanities & Arts Endowment Fund, created by the generous support of Alexander and Melinda Cartwright. The reward will help fund 3 scholarships to students attending the Pre-College Animation Intensive summer camp program, furthering their educational endeavors.

The 2022 class’ two character animation films, directed by faculty member Darlene Hadrika, have received a combined 67 awards and 24 screenings as of March 2023. The 2021 class’ two character animation films, directed by faculty member Cheryl Briggs, have received a combined 67 awards and 117 screenings.

UCF Professor Keri Watson has debuted a new book, This is America: Re-Viewing the Art of the United States. The book is co-authored with Text and Technology PhD student and McKnight Doctoral Fellow Keidra Daniels Navaroil. It was published by Oxford Press and released on April 4.

SVAD student Valeria Fajardo is currently serving as a Jenkins intern at the Orlando Museum of Art. After learning that OMA had no Spanish language text in the institution, she offered to do translations to improve the experiences of the Central Florida Spanish speaking population. Translations are an important staple in the effort of making cultural institutions, such as OMA, more accessible to the community. Valeria’s efforts will help improve the experiences of many citizens, both residents and tourists alike, while also expanding the museum’s reach.

UCF Assistant Professor Bobby Aiosa was a featured member of The Furniture Society, “a premier non-profit organization representing, promoting, and connecting furniture makers, designers, collectors, curators, educators, and manufacturers from around the world.”

UCF Associate Professor of Experimental Animation, Digital Art, Design, Motion Graphics Matt Dombrowski has received a $85K Unity for Humanity Grant to continue to develop the Limbitless Training game. Only eight grants are awarded to over 500 applicants. This grant is in addition to the $40K Epic Mega grant received at the beginning of the spring semester. Unity and Epic Unreal are the top two game engines used in the industry.

Experimental Animation Senior Celina Sandoval has been accepted into the Digital Lighting Circle, a competitive student mentorship program with Women in Animation. During the program, she will receive mentorship from a Senior Generalist at Industrial Light and Magic.

Art history student Nathanael Lapierre was one of the recipients of UCF’s Order of the Pegasus Award, the university’s highest student honor featuring 30 inductees with exceptional achievements. Nathanael was presented the award, along with the other inductees, on April 5, 2023, during UCF’s Founder’s Day reception.

Fifteen SVAD students were part of this year’s AIGA mentorship program resulting in the SPOT Showcase. SVAD Lecturer Ashley Taylor helped facilitate the event. Taylor says, “The AIGA Orlando Mentorship program pairs students with professional designers in our community, working with these mentors, they are tasked with creating a socially engaged project. For the past few months are students meet with their mentor who guides them through the entire process, along the way, AIGA provides access to tours of local designer studios and agencies. At the end of the program they get to show off their work to the community.” On April 29, four UCF students received awards for their projects at the Mentorship SPOT Showcase Awards CeremonyAriel Stull, Jacob McPherson, Shelby Mefford, and Envy Velez. 

UCF alumni Reina Castellanos ’16MFA will showcase their artwork on Bounty Towels packaging as part of Bounty’s Inclusive Artist Project. Her art utilizes her signature style of layering of color and patterns, as well as influence from her experience as an immigrant in the US. The initiative has also donated $100,000 to the Huenited Collective, funding scholarships for emerging artists. 

Several UCF students involved in the “Advanced Design Lab” exhibited their 3-D sculptures at the Mead Garden AD Lab Student Sculpture Design Competition, in which students combined nature and creativity to showcase their incredible design talents. Winners were chosen at the opening of the event, April 19, and the first place winner’s 3-D sculpture were erected at the Mead Garden.

Graduates of the UCF B.S. in Photography program and the DSC A.S. Degree in Photographic Technology will showcase their portfolios at the annual Thesis & Departures exhibition. As a celebration of their time and artistic practice, the exhibition will be on display from May 2 through July 29.

Six SVAD faculty members and alumni—Channing Gray, Anthony Mancuso, Sam McCoy, Alex Moonsang, Ryan O Price, and Jim Wysolmierski—have their artwork featured in the Experience Contemporary art exhibition. The exhibition is on display at Casselberry City Hall from March 13 through May 18.

SVAD lecturer Ashley Taylor has been selected for Adobe’s inaugural Creator Class, in partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League, which provides exclusive access to league events and the Orlando Pride! This opportunity also provides Taylor with learning experiences from Adobe workshops, as well as $10,000 for creative endeavors using Adobe tools and resources.

Dandria Carey ’22 won first place in the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative Visions in Black exhibition in January of 2023, “celebrating the work of artists of African descent who live in Florida.” Carey’s winning work, “Reunion,” was on display at the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County in February. In addition to the exhibition, Carey received a cash prize.

UCF is proud to be the home of so many exceptional creatives, who are furthering their endeavors, both educational and professional. Check back soon for our next edition of Art Bytes from the School of Visual Arts and Design. Go Knights! Charge On!

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