After event cancellation, Emerging Artists prizes awarded virtually


On March 12, art and design students installed work in Wichita State's McKnight Art Center for an event that never happened.

Traditionally, Emerging Artists is an annual showcase of work by many of the best students in the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries. The Art & Design Advocates, a patron group that raises money for the school, hosts the event. The group planned to disburse $1,750 in prize money, thanks to the sponsorship of Celebrity Cruises.

Though the March 14 event was cancelled due to novel coronavirus concerns, the group pivoted to a virtual awards ceremony, posted in a video to their Facebook page. They asked the event photographer to document the show, and photos of each piece are also available on Facebook. Many of the works are for sale.

“The work this year was incredible, and we absolutely hated to cancel,” said Emily Brookover, president of the Art & Design Advocates. “We’re glad we can at least share the work of these talented students, and we encourage everyone to check out the photos and maybe add a piece to their collection.”

First-year graduate student Robert Bailey (sculpture) placed first and won $1,000. Second-year graduate student Lily Guillen (photo media) took home second place and $500. The $250 third-place prize went to Meghan Miller, another first-year graduate student with an emphasis in sculpture.

Kelsy Gossett Dennis, an assistant professor of photography at McPherson College, served as this year’s judge. She was able to view the work in person before campus buildings closed.

Board member and Emerging Artists committee member Richard Overby took video of each student holding their ceremonial giant checks — at a safe social distance, of course. These videos are also available on Facebook.

The Art & Design Advocates are affiliated with the WSU Foundation and disburse money directly to students and faculty through a simplified grant process. Recently, they have funded student trips to Peru and Italy, materials for student exhibitions, and travel to professional conferences.

To learn more about the Art & Design Advocates, contact Alyssa Scott, associate director of development for the College of Fine Arts: or 316-978-3899.