Seniors display years of hard work

Students show off their artwork through an annual graphic design exhibit put on by the Studio and Digital Arts Department

Seniors from the Studio and Digital Arts Department (SADA) were given the opportunity to showcase their best work from their college career in the Senior Graphic Design Exhibit that began Thursday, March 20.

Students submitted various types of work, from photographs to digital paintings. Stacy Cannon, a SADA professor, said the exhibit only happens once a year and is required for all seniors graduating in May.

DIGITAL — Students had the option to submit photographs or other digital work. Photo credit: Christieanna Apon

DIGITAL — Students had the option to submit photographs or other digital work. Photo credit: Christieanna Apon

“All seniors have to take a portfolio class, which requires them to submit a piece for the exhibit, but they ultimately get to pick their favorite piece overall,” Cannon said.

According to Brianna O’Neal, a senior SADA student, the Senior Graphic Design Exhibit is an excellent opportunity for students to show off their work to not only their professors but also to their families.

“I think it is a good experience for the students, because at this point, we haven’t really had to professionally show our work,” O’Neal said. “It is so cool to show off your work to your family, friends and the whole university.”

O’Neal has a few pieces displayed on the ADDY wall of the exhibit, a wall that showcases the work from American Advertising Awards winners. O’Neal won five gold ADDYs, and one of her pieces went on to win silver at the district-level competition. All of her winning pieces are in the ADDY portion of the exhibit, along with the piece she chose to showcase from her portfolio.

“I love seeing my former students’ work in the exhibit, I just get really proud,” SADA professor Monique Maloney said. “I really only teach them in the foundational classes, so to see them advance and win awards is so exciting. … I get to see all their hard work pay off and say, ‘I told you you could do it.’”

While the exhibit is exclusive to seniors, there are exceptions for underclassmen who have won ADDY awards.

One such exception is junior Cassie Foster’s work. Foster garnered three ADDYs for her photographs in both the color and black and white categories.

Foster is a graphic design major with a minor in both advertising-public relations and studio art. She expressed her excitement at being a winner of multiple ADDYs and having her work displayed as a part of the Senior Graphic Design Exhibit.

“Winning three ADDYs in one year is amazing,” Foster said. “Having my work displayed as a junior was an incredibly awestruck moment for me. The fact that the ADDYs ranked me with the seniors was a sweet and rewarding moment.”

Having work displayed in the exhibit allows family and friends from outside Liberty to see the work.

“On opening night of the exhibit, the line was wrapped all the way from the art gallery to the elevators,” O’Neal said. “It was so cool to see all these people had come out just for our work. … My family got to come and actually see my work off a computer screen, framed and hanging on the wall. … It was great.”

Foster also commented on how great it was being able to share her vision behind her work and see the reactions from loved ones.

“(T)he best part had been being able to share my stories behind the photos,” Foster said. “Two of the three were taken while doing missions work in Guatemala, so I am able to tell them about my passion of using photographs to show the need of clean water wells in rural countries.”

The exhibit is located on the fourth floor of DeMoss Hall in the art gallery and will be on display through April 13. The display is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.–7 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

For further information on the Senior Graphic Design Exhibit or the SADA Department, email Todd Smith, the department chair, at

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