Rio Students Named Finalists in Art Competition

January 23, 2013


Senior Art majors Ashton Saunders and Kia Wright have been named as two of the six finalists for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio's Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts. Each year, Rio nominates two outstanding seniors to compete with students from up to 49 other colleges and universities in Ohio, including Columbus College of Art and Design, Cleveland Institute of Art, Denison, Kenyon and more.

This year's nominees were required to submit a porfolio of digital images, a short video explaining their work, and an artist statement. Each of the six finalists will display work at the awards ceremony in April, when the grand prize is announced.Their work will now be judged by eleven visual-arts-community leaders from across the state and a leading Ohio legislator, Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, chairman of the House Higher Education Finance Subcommittee, to determine the grand award winner. The Grand Award winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize and have a piece of their art purchased by AICUO and hung in the governor's office for the next year. In addition, each of the six winners will receive an exhibition of their work and this year's custom award sculpture.

Finalists Saunders and Wright are thrilled to be included in the show. "This is a great honor, and I'm very excited-even if I don't win the grand prize, I feel really good to be a finalist." stated Saunders. Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the School of Fine Arts Benjy Davies added "I'm very pleased, but not a bit surprised. Both Kia and Ashton are very mature and thoughtful artists. Their work is top notch."

Todd Jones, the President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, stated that the judges were very impressed with Saunders' and Wright's work. Not only were these students the first award winners from Rio Grande, but Rio was also the only institution to get both its nominees into the finalists, and eligible for the grande prize.

Saunders and Wright will hold their senior exhibition in the Greer Museum on Rio's campus in April. Both students graduate this May.