Arts & Culture

UK Student Artists Earn $10,000 in Foundations Scholarships

photo of 5 pieces of work from Science Friction by Elijah Hanson
4 photos from Jayda Johnson's "Colorism vs. The American Dream”

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2020) Some of University of Kentucky’s newest art students were recognized for their talents during the virtual 11th annual Foundations Show presented online by the Bolivar Art Gallery. The exhibition showcases the work of 132 UK artists, featuring many pieces by artists who have never been exhibited before. This year’s online event also recognized some of the best student work with scholarships totaling $10,000.

Foundations is a first-year experience for art studioart education and digital media design majors in the School of Art and Visual Studies. As part of this program, students learn many methods of art making and gain the introductory knowledge of how to add a personal voice to their pieces.

The winners and their work selected by jurors and University of West Georgia Associate Professors Casey May McGuire and Mark Shoon were:

  • “Science Friction” by Elijah Hanson, a digital media design freshman from Louisville, Kentucky, took home the first-place scholarship and a $3,500 grand prize;
  • “Colorism vs. The American Dream” by Jayda Johnson, an art studio freshman from Louisville, received the second-place scholarship and a $2,000 prize;
  • “Nostalgia” by Abbey Purcell, a digital media design sophomore from Avon, Ohio, won the Merit Award for Digital Art and a $900 prize;
  • “Secret Consumption” by Makayla Thomas, an art studio and English freshman from Corbin, Kentucky, won the Merit Award for Two-Dimensional Surface and a $900 prize;
  • “Burden” by Mariah Rogers, an art education sophomore from Stanton, Kentucky, won the Merit Award for Three-Dimensional Form and a $900 prize;
  • “Symptoms” by Louis Dercqu, a digital media design junior from Rineyville, Kentucky, won the Merit Award for Lens Art and a $900 prize; and
  • “Coming Out: A Journey Down to Earth” by Andrew Rogers, a digital media design sophomore from Louisville, won the Merit Award for Drawing and a $900 prize.

To see these winning pieces and the entire Foundations Show, visit

The exhibition also includes “The Great Moon Hoax”, a collaborative piece by McGuire and Schoon. The work merges science and art by exploring the complicated relationships between observation, representation and understanding.

Students participating in this virtual exhibition has worked extremely hard to complete their work for the academic term, each post for a work of art has a detailed description that explains the motivation for creating the piece and the meaning behind it. SAVS students, faculty and staff hope the public will enjoy viewing their art while healthy at home.

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.