Arties honor best of JBU’s creative minds

JBU students lit up the Siloam Springs community center tonight with beautiful dresses, sleek black suits and stunning awards.

The Visual Art Foundry, a student group for those interested in the fields of art provided at John Brown University, hosted the fifth annual Arties awards gala. The Arties is a chance to celebrate the talent and quality of students within their fields of study.

The community center, decorated with blue balloons and sparkling string lights, was full of students, faculty and staff.
Stephen Sbanotto was the master of ceremonies and kept the jokes coming throughout the ceremony. He also congratulated all the students. “This award ceremony is for all you students who have worked so hard over the years. This is your reward,” he said.
With 13 categories and an average of four nominees in each category, the atmosphere was relaxed and celebratory.

The best graphic designer of the year is Shawn Chronister.
The best illustrator of the year is Kelly Saunders.
The best student at fine art is Katelyn Banks.
The best actress in musical performances is Johanna Merwin.
The best actor in musical performances is Andrew Layden.
The best supporting actor in musical performances is Mikael Seamans.
The best supporting actress in musical performances is Cristy Sauceda.
The best photographer of the year is Aaron Menken.
The best digital artist of the year is Becca Masters.
The best drama actress of the year is Rachael Moroney.
The best drama actor of the year is Michael Bruner
The best filmmaker of the year is Jesse Daniel.
The rookie of the year, a freshman or sophomore that shows great promise in their field of study, is Jarod Hamm.

At intermission everyone was serenaded by JBU’s own Kacie Williams. Students, especially photography majors, snapped photos of the event and their friends.
“Compared to previous years, this gala is most like our department,” Hilary Eash, president of the Visual Art Foundry and producer of the gala, said. “This fits out personality. It was very student-led and it took on a good feel for how our department really is.”

Karson Holbrook, also an officer in Visual Art Foundry, said he and multiple other people put in so many hours to get this event done well. It was awesome, Holbrook said. “We had a great turnout—more than I expected.”

Steven Snediker, associate professor of digital media arts cinema, said he thought the event was “short and sweet and very great.”
Sbanotto did a fantastic job, Snediker said, and the cabinet of the Visual Art Foundry and the four students from the drama productions worked hard. “It’s been a long day, but a good day,” he said.

Students are nominated by the consensus of the faculty of the art division, Snediker said. Students are then invited to submit a portfolio of their work to another panel of judges. These judges are all professionals in the field. A few are local artists, others are from locations like Seattle, Wash. or Los Angeles, Calif. “This is soley based on the merit of [the students’] art,” Snediker said. The aim is to get more professional eyes looking at the artwork and eliminate any potential bias.