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March 11, 2013 — When Kira Cheshier began to prepare for the annual Art Directors Club Denver Student Exhibition, she was aware that University of Wyoming students had traditionally held their own in the region’s premiere exhibition for graphic design and advertising.
But this year, the UW graphic artists who competed in the exhibition had something going for them that previous delegates did not -- they spent the entire semester working and learning in the bright and roomy studios of UW’s new Visual Arts Building.
The experience is paying off. Cheshier, a senior in graphic design from Laramie, was named Best in Show among students from the region’s top graphic and design programs. Judges evaluated the quality of UW’s work along with that of students from Metro State University, University of Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Colorado State University, Fort Hays State University, the Art Institute of Colorado and others.
"Our students have been preparing for this competition since their first day of graphic design classes, and they did a stellar job," says Jenny Venn, assistant professor in the UW Department of Art. "All of their long nights in the studio have finally begun to pay off. It's great to receive such recognition. The results speak highly about these students' dedication to their lives and craft as well as the quality of UW's art program."
Cheshier also won awards for best logo and best printed materials. Erin Price of Shorewood Ill., a graduate student who, in December, received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, earned the award for best publication.
Cheshier describes UW’s graphic design and overall art programs as “exceptional.”
“The new building has provided not only a more efficient and high-tech area to work in, but also a more creative and relaxing space,” says Cheshier, a member of UW’s Honors Program with a triple major in art, international studies and German. "I genuinely enjoy working and creating in the new building, and I feel this is reflected in my overall work.”
She says she has received immense support and direction from several professors, including Venn and Jessica Perry in graphic design, and Mark Richie in printmaking.
“I have learned conceptual design as well as technical computer skills from this program; both are necessary to succeed in the graphic design world,” she says. “I have also had the opportunity to expand my artistic knowledge to include printmaking and letterpress, which improves my design skills.”
The Visual Arts Building is among a series of capital facilities projects at UW to improve instruction, learning and research opportunities for students and faculty. The 79,000-square foot facility provides expanded teaching studios and spaces for art history, ceramics, drawing, foundations of art, graphics, painting, printmaking, sculpture and small metals.
In addition to the basic teaching studios, the facility offers administrative offices, a large student commons area, a gallery for exhibiting students' work and to support the Visiting Artists Program, and a large lecture room for art classes and other programs. Individual studio spaces and offices for faculty supplement the teaching studios.
“I’m very grateful that the university has invested so much into the visual arts and provided opportunities such as the new building and participation in competitions such as the ADCD student show,” Cheshier says.
The following UW students had works accepted for the ADCD student show:
Albin -- Cole LeMaster.
Burns -- Jake Buckley.
Casper -- Kayla Clark.
Cheyenne -- Sara Aquin and Michael Metzler.
Edgewood, N.M. -- Hanna Arzigian.
Fort Collins, Colo. -- Reese Plante.
Laramie -- Kira Cheshier and Nathan Schiro.
Rawlins -- Jessica McKibben.
Rock Springs -- Chris Toly.
Shorewood, Ill. -- Erin Price.
Yoder -- Emily House.
Award-winning graphic artists Kira Cheshier, left, and Erin Price work on a project in a UW Visual Arts Building studio. (UW Photo)