Best In Show At PSC Student Art Exhibition “Means Nothing”
by James Coulter
Ava Edmonds, a sophomore art major at Polk State College, won Best In Show at the Student Art Exhibition on Thursday. She won the award for her abstract painting, prominently featuring three large faces smashed together almost as one while surrounded by several smaller faces.
If you were to ask Ms. Edmonds what her painting means, she would simply point to its title: “Look Closer And It Means Nothing.”
“A lot of people look really deeply into my work to try to find really crazy detail meanings, but it is like…I like to paint things that I like, people who are awkward just like I am,” she explained.
Edmonds receives her inspiration from many places, from religious artwork to the illustrations within children’s storybooks. Her favorite subjects are plants and people. While other artists might want to find deeper meaning, Edmonds remains content in drawing what she loves.
“I just like art,” she said. “I have always liked to read, and I always look closely [at] the illustrations in my book forever. I remember staring at pages for hours, and I want to [create artwork like] that.”
Currently, she is in her fifth semester as an art major. She has big plans for publishing her own art and even her own writing. Outside of the arts, she’s contemplating becoming a teacher and perhaps even a filmmaker.
“I have a lot of dreams,” she said.
More than 100 art pieces by various students, including art majors, were exhibited and judged in several categories during the art reception at the Fine Arts Gallery at Polk State College on Thursday.
Winning Judge’s Choice was Hope Shiver, a sophomore psychology major, for her 3D art sculptures. Her many art pieces range from a cluster of porous balls to a makeshift house.
As for what inspires her and her artwork, Shiver simply shrugged and replied that she makes whatever is on her mind. She simply creates and doesn’t think about it, she explained.
“I made it because of the deadline,” she said of her recent art pieces. “Honestly, whenever I make things, I don’t really sit or think about it, I just do it and it comes to me.”
She really enjoys being able to mix different glazes and seeing the final combinations once her art pieces have been placed within and removed from the kiln.
“Seeing it come out of a kiln after it glazes is fantastic,” she said.
Though a psychology major wanting to move onto forensic psychology, Shivers has an interest in art. She is especially inspired to do what she does through the support of her grandmother and boyfriend.
“It feels good to win,” she said. “I did not expect to win anything.”
The art reception that evening exemplified the growth that the college’s arts program has experienced in recent years. As of 2019, PSC has 200 art majors enrolled for their two-year degrees. Once they graduate, many will transfer to other colleges to pursue their art degrees, explained Holly Croggins, Visual Art Organizer and Coordinator.
The art reception that evening showcased the sheer number and diversity of its many art students, and even many of the students who are not art majors, Croggins said.
As for the success of the show, Croggins states: “I think it is their hard work and professionalism, trying to exhibit their work. And their professors…have really invested in them.”
The Fines Art Gallery at Polk State College is located at: 999 Ave H NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881. For more information, visit: https://www.polk.edu/visual-arts/
Here are the other main winners of the art show reception:
Best In Photo: Nikie Silers, “Harold.”
Best in Ceramics: Finn Hoffen, “American Traditional Pitcher.”
Best In Drawing: Allison Guana, “Growth.”
Best In Painting: Aca Edmonds, “Series Of 5.”
Best In Mixed Media: Judith Zamora, “Sea Breeze.”
Best In Sculpture: David Santiago & Kieran Fox, “End The Violence.”
Best In Digital Design: Oliva Yeager, “Ehteral Imperfection.”