RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College announces senior Gabe Richmond has been selected as a recipient of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO) 10th annual Awards for Excellence in the Visual Arts competition.
The organization recognized the recipients with a reception and exhibit at the Columbus College of Art & Design. The awards honor senior students from independent colleges throughout the state deemed finalists in the competition by a panel of Ohio artists and members of the art community. Richmond, a general fine arts major from South Webster, said he was glad to have his work chosen among the top six students who entered the competition.
“I was excited to receive this award because there were a lot of other great artists in the show. It was exciting to see how the way the other students approach their studies and work at the different schools,” Richmond said. “I’m still a little speechless that I was nominated. At first, I didn’t realize just how big this competition was, so it’s exciting to know that among all these private colleges and universities throughout Ohio, I was in the top six. I think it’s great that the professors here at Rio work really close with the students and encourage us to enter these kinds of competitions and exhibits.”
The AICUO asked the independent colleges throughout Ohio to nominate two outstanding senior artists from each campus for the online competition. Rio nominated Keri Lawrence, a senior general fine arts major, and Richmond for the dedication they’ve put into their studies and artwork. The students were required to submit 10 pieces of art to the AICUO. Richmond sent in both sculpture and photography pieces for his art compilation, and selected two of those to display at the reception. Chair for the School of Arts and Letters Benjy Davies said he is proud of both students for their efforts, and is happy for Richmond on receiving one of the event’s awards.
“Gabe is a hardworking, talented student and we’re proud that he’s one of the award winners. We chose him and Keri because they are excellent students and take opportunities to participate in workshops, travel and do independent work in the arts,” Davies said. “We have had several students chosen as finalists for this competition in previous years, so having our students competing on this level with other schools shows that our program is preparing students with the highest quality education for their future careers.”
Prior to the reception and awards announcements, the award winners displayed their work in at an exhibit in CCAD’s Acock Gallery and participated in a panel discussion, offering candid views of art in their lives, their inspirations, academic experiences and career aspirations.
Richmond, along with several other participants, will be featured in a walking exhibition as a part of Gallery Hop in the Short North District in Columbus on May 5.
Both Richmond and Lawrence had a joint art showing in the Greer Museum Monday.
“I relate to seeing wild animals out in the woods and being free,” said Richmond. “People can be judgmental and people struggle when they come out as gay or transgender or just for how they look. They really struggle. Whenever I take these pictures, it’s like they’re just being themselves.”
Richmond mixed sculpture, photography and elements of tattooing in his work, while being influenced by both the nude human form and animals.
Lawrence integrated a theme of bees and conservation into her work with sculptures, photography, ceramics and paper casting.
“Me and my dad started beekeeping when I was in fourth grade for a 4-H project,” said Lawrence. “I started making things with honeybees (as a theme). From there, it turned into (her art) I want to push it into something where I try to focus on getting out that honeybees are experiencing a population decline and we should plant more wild flowers and to be aware of the pesticides we spray.”
Artwork from all the nominees, including Richmond and Lawrence, is available to view on the awards website, www.aicuoartaward.com.