Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow paint strokes over grey background

Student Award Exhibition Provides Honors and Opportunities for Art Students

By: Elizabeth Allison

March 8, 2019

Since 1999, the SDSU Student Award Exhibition has demonstrated the University’s support of artistic excellence and diversity in student artwork. The annual exhibition features a juried collection of upper division and graduate student artwork as nominated by full-time faculty. In addition to the honor of being selected to participate in the show, the Student Award Exhibition also offers students opportunities to win cash prizes and the chance to have their work included in the University’s permanent collection.

Representing the School of Art + Design Across Campus

Students whose work is selected to be included in the Student Award Exhibition also have the opportunity for their work to be selected for individual awards. Awards are given by a local art studio, the Art Council Ambassadors, and several administrative offices across SDSU including The President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, and the Dean’s Office for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. In addition to the cash prize associated with each award, student artwork chosen by on-campus entities is then permanently displayed in offices across campus.

“The support the students receive from administration and leadership across campus reflects SDSU’s value and appreciation for the arts,” said Kotaro Nakamura, Director of the School of Art + Design.

The prestige of having their artwork selected to be a part of the University’s permanent collection is not lost on the students. Last year, in the spring of 2018, second year MFA candidate in sculpture, Kline Swonger, won the President’s Purchase Award.

“I feel very honored to have a piece in SDSU’s permanent collection,” said Swonger. “When I make a piece, there is something very personal that goes into it, and it is always pleasing that someone else might find something in the work that speaks to them. In that regard, there is something quite special about a piece of me remaining with SDSU, even once I’ve graduated.”

The exhibition also serves as an opportunity to how to learn how to properly exhibit work. Students are required to create an artist statement and present it with professionalism.

A Variety of Artistic Styles and Media

Work in the Student Award Exhibition represents a broad variety of media and practice. The SDSU School of Art + Design has degree programs in Ceramics, Fiber, Furniture & Woodworking, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture, Multimedia and Photography, Painting and Printmaking, and Sculpture.

Adam John Manley, Assistant Professor of Furniture Design and Woodworking is one of the faculty members serving as a juror for the exhibition. “This is an event that brings people from the campus to the art school who may never be there during the rest of the year. It shows investment in the arts and a belief in what we offer the university,” said Manley.

Manley knows first-hand how meaningful the exhibition can be. He is an alum of the School of Art + Design, and as a student, his work was selected to be included in the exhibition.

“In my second year of the MFA program, my work was purchased by the Provost’s office, and that piece still stands in the lobby of Manchester Hall,” said Manley. “This award was not only satisfying because of the financial assistance that it offered, but also because it meant that someone was interested enough in my work to collect it, show it, and let it represent their department. That meant a lot to a young artist.”

Where and When

Accepted artwork will be on display for public viewing at the University Gallery, from March 18 – March 28. The annual awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 4:00 p.m., and will include presentations by SDSU History Curator Seth Mallios, and Director of the School of Art + Design, Kotaro Nakamura, among other campus leaders.

Gallery Hours:

Monday – Friday 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
Saturday, March 18, 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

Public Awards Ceremony:

March 21
4:00 – 6:00 P.M.
School of Art + Design
Fourth Floor, Room 412

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.