PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University’s Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department hosted a reception Wednesday at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts for a new exhibit of award-winning student work titled Graphic Content, which will be on display and open to the public over the next several months.

Each piece on display in the Graphic Content gallery “has won an award in some way, shape or form,” Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department Associate Professor Rion Huffman said in his opening remarks at the reception.

“As educators, we get to see the students creating these things on a daily basis so we know how amazing their work is and how awesome they are, but not everyone in the community always gets to see that, so we really wanted to be able to show that off,” Huffman said. “We know in the department how important competition is.

“For creative competition, creative-minded individuals, it’s especially important. It gives them a chance to show their talent, and our students have a broad range of talents. Our students are not just graphic designers, they’re not just photographers, they’re not just printers, they are everything and all of the above.”

In 2019 alone, Huffman said, PSU students’ work has won an international award, 18 national awards, 36 regional awards and 68 local awards. Going back to 2015, students’ work has won 35 national awards, 147 regional awards, and 384 local awards.

There are pieces on display as part of the Graphic Content exhibit in several categories including photography, videography, web design, motion graphics, packaging, graphic design, graphic design, graphics research, and printing.

Padee Vang, a PSU senior majoring in graphic communications with an emphasis on digital media, is one student with pieces on display in more than one category in the Graphic Content gallery. Vang’s photographic piece titled “Spinning” is the winner of the Crimson Creative Awards Gold Award, while her video project “My Favorite Time of the Year” is a Gold American Advertising Federation (ADDY) award winner.

Vang said her video project is “kind of like a dedication to my mom, so there’s like a running theme of a mother’s love throughout the whole entire video about a mother dressing her daughter for what my culture is, I am Hmong, and in the Hmong culture the new year’s celebration is one of our biggest celebrations, and so we spend the whole entire year getting ready for that, and so this video is to story-tell about my favorite time of the year, which is our Hmong new year celebration.”

Vang also described the process of creating her award-winning photo piece.

“We were learning about how to utilize shutter speed, so this one is a slow shutter speed with a pan motion,” she said, “so all of that panned motion was created in-camera and taken at the park with a fellow classmate of mine, and I made it black and white just so that it would really bring out the details of the shot rather than the distraction of the colors.”

Audrey Dainty, also a PSU senior majoring in graphic communications but with an emphasis in graphic design, meanwhile, has four pieces on display in the Graphic Content exhibit: two research projects presented at the University & College Designers Association national conference, “Seeing What is Not There: The art and process of infrared photography” and “Simultaneous Color Contrast Collaboration,” along with her photography piece “Troubled Psyche,” which was accepted into the Photo Spiva national photography gallery, and her “This is Paracosm Blog” web design project, which is a Gold American Advertising Federation (ADDY) award winner.

“That’s one of my favorite things of this program is that we get to, you know, touch base on all different aspects of design and creativity and not just necessarily only focus our attention on one thing,” Dainty said, “and so naturally I’m used to creating those physical, visual pieces such as photography, or you know, graphics pieces like flyers or T-shirts. So whenever I got into research it was a whole new world for me but it was very eye-opening, and I have a new passion for it now because it’s very interesting for me to see something visually and see something creative and know that there’s a research side of that and how that happened and why it’s a thing, and you know, those critical thinking aspects of that.”

The Graphic Content gallery will be open for public viewing through the fall and into the spring semester. The Bicknell Family Center For The Arts is located at 1711 S. Homer St. and is regularly open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, except on holidays, and is also open at other times for special events.