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Watkins College of Art students sweep student ADDY awards

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Students from the Watkins College of Art and Design took home 26 of the 60 total awards at The Nashville Student Advertising Awards aired on February 23.

The awards, aired over Facebook Live and hosted by the American Advertising Federation Nashville showcased the best work of 2020 in professional and student divisions. Other student winners came from Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville State Community College and Nossi College of Art.

Senior design communications major Abraham Mast received 7 awards, one of which was Best of Show, for his illustration piece entitled “The Most Dangerous Game”. Mast took inspiration for the piece from the book of the same name he read in high school.

The Best of Show award reminded Mast his work is moving in the right direction.

“You’re always wondering, ‘Is this even good? Do people like it?’ Then when you win an award you think ‘I’m doing something right’,” said Mast.

Many Watkins students also received more than one recognition for their work.

Recent graduate Natalie Briscoe won gold for her illustration “ST George and the Dragon” and silver for “Gevalia Package Design”. She incorporated both illustration and lettering, which she hopes to use in a future career in publishing.

For Briscoe, winning ADDY awards meant that people outside of the school environment were recognizing her work.

“It’s cool to see other people acknowledging your work and your progress outside of the school community,” said Briscoe.

Photographer Abigail Bobo, a judge for the student awards, was one of those people.

“The pieces were judged on conceptual quality, artistic vision, and technical quality,” Bobo said of the criteria.

The subject matter of students’ work this year stuck out to Bobo.

“We saw a lot of themes of racial injustice, processing with sadness and grief, political pieces, and quite a few COVID pieces. It really felt like the students were stepping up to grapple with hard things over the last year,” said Bobo. “That would set this ADDY’s apart from other ones.”

Senior Amy Varboncoeur won two silver awards for her pieces “Kusama: Cosmic Nature” and “Trader Joe’s Package Design”. She felt validated in her work after winning and felt hopeful about what the achievement means for her future.

“Having something like this on your resume can tell future employers you worked really hard and are capable of handling professional work,” Varboncoeur said.

This article written by Sarah Crawford.

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