Arts & Culture

18 UK Student Artists Take Honors at 2020 Carey Ellis Awards Ceremony

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picture of artwork featuring hands clasping by Ember Kawarada
photo of painting of woman in bath by Reagan Profit
photo of portrait of female by Abby Green

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 30, 2020) At the end of each fall semester, University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies (SA/VS) celebrates its best and brightest young artists as part of the Carey Ellis Juried Student Show and awards ceremony presented at the school’s annual visual art celebration, Open Studio. While this fall looks different due to the pandemic, the school was still able to honor this year’s 18 winners with an online ceremony held Nov. 20.

Although 2020 has proven to be a challenging year, UK’s SA/VS students have persevered, generating work that is thoughtful and inspired. As part of the annual juried show, the best work from three undergraduate degree areas — Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science — was recognized. The winners were selected by Brooklyn-based textile artist, surface designer and fine art printmaker Stephanie Santana.

This year’s Carey Ellis Bachelor of Arts award winners are:

  • Ember Kawarada, an art studio junior from Lexington, who is also minoring in Japan studies, who took first place;
  • Abigail Peck, an art studio senior from Lexington, who is also minoring in art history, who took second place;
  • Channing Salazar, an art studio senior from Lexington, who took third place; and
  • Marie McClary, an art education and art studio senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, who received a merit award.

This year’s Carey Ellis Bachelor of Fine Arts award winners are:

  • Reagan Profit, an art studio senior from Nicholasville, Kentucky, who took first place;
  • Ellan Luna, an art studio senior from Bowling Green, Kentucky, who took second place;
  • Mia Rambo, an art studio senior from Lexington, who is also minoring in art history, who took third place; and
  • Brianna Armstrong, an art studio senior from Lexington, who received a merit award.

This year’s Carey Ellis Bachelor of Science award winners are:

  • Abby Green, a digital media and design senior from Carlisle, Kentucky, who is minoring in art history, who took first place;
  • Jonah Peck, a digital media and design sophomore from Lexington, who took second place;
  • Jordan Reese, a digital media and design junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who took third place; and
  • Christopher Corbett, a digital media and design sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky, who is minoring in media arts and studies, who received a merit award.

The 2020 Carey Ellis Best Art History and Visual Studies Paper Scholarship was awarded to Haley B. Drake for her paper titled "Touch Sanitation: An Ecofeminist Approach to the Abjection of Maintenance." Mentored by SA/VS faculty member Miriam Kienle, Drake is an art history senior and Lewis Honors College member from Lexington.

Other SA/VS honors presented as part of the virtual awards ceremony included the Theophilia Joan Oexmann Original Art Awards given to Luna, Profit and Katie Creech, an art studio and arts administration senior from Georgetown, Kentucky. The SA/VS faculty presented the Oexmann Awards to students who showed great promise in their work through creativity and originality.

The Ross Zirkle Memorial Art Studio Award was presented to Isabelle Pethtel, a Lewis Honors College member and digital media and design and writing, rhetoric, and digital studies junior, minoring in Japan studies, from Palestine, West Virginia. Created in memory of faculty member Ross Zirkle, funds for this award were raised by donations from family, friends and former students of Zirkle. This award is presented to a student who is studying printmaking or drawing, and demonstrates qualities of artistic excellence, hard work and interest in helping the community, like Zirkle.

The NCAA Award was presented to Madison McGill, an art studio senior from Goshen, Kentucky. The award provides financial aid to students who demonstrate potential for academic and/or artistic success. This award is made possible from an endowment set up with proceeds from posters created by UK art faculty for the 1985 NCAA tournament at Rupp Arena.

The Cheryl Kelly Haffler Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Marie McClary. This honor recognizes academic and creative excellence and is presented to a student who displays a dedication to learning and a passion for the arts, while playing an active role in the community.

The Kim Adler Memorial Scholarship was presented in memory of 1996 UK graduate and sculptor Kim “Kimmer” Adler. This year’s recipient is Amalia Galdona Broche, a graduate student from Jacksonville, Florida.

In addition to the scholarships and awards above, SA/VS also recognized its two Windgate candidates. UK was allotted two nominees to be considered for the prestigious Windgate Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered nationally to college graduating art students. This year’s nominations went to Brianna Armstrong and art studio senior Terence “Terry” Powell Jr. of Lexington.

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, part of the College of Fine Arts, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, art education, curatorial studies and digital media design.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.