GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison University senior Brittany Kunkel (Yardley, Pa.) was recognized as a winner of the 2012 Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO) Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts in a ceremony that took place on Wednesday, April 4, at Otterbein University. Kunkel was one of only five student winners of this award at this year’s statewide competition. In addition, Kunkel won the People’s Choice Award, an award chosen by public vote. She bested 19 other entrants in the only online collegiate visual arts competition of its kind in the nation. Kunkel’s artwork will be on view at the AICUO Walking Exhibition as a part of Gallery Hop in the Short North District of High Street, Columbus, on Saturday, May 5.
About her work, Kunkel said, “The tension between the fantastical perfection represented in childhood narratives and the sometimes chaotic and confusing reality of life is extremely interesting to me. I attempt to blur the line between the two by deconstructing fairytales and nursery rhymes.” She added, “My artwork, a combination of painting and photography, attempts to portray the once-upon-a-time that doesn’t necessarily work out perfectly in the end.”
Carrie Olson, chair of the Denison Department of Studio Art, said of Kunkel, “I have found Brittany to be ambitious, thoughtful, and extremely motivated. I think that Brittany is a serious and gifted painter. And she is also a risk taker – willing to experiment and try new things in her work and push the work into uncomfortable territory, rather than just sticking with what works, what is easy – this is something that one wishes for in every art student.”
In addition to her work in the studio, Kunkel also finds ways to give back to her community. Olson noted “She took on the responsibilities of heading our student art organization, the DU Art Collective, that engages in several outreach programs a year, and she has created her own nonprofit art program in 2007, Create to Inspire, where she conducts arts and craft workshops for patients of all ages and leaves personalized art kits for long-term patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Nationwide Children’s Hospital of Columbus.”
AICUO was organized in 1969 to represent the interests of its members to Ohio's lawmakers, regulators and citizens. It seeks to strengthen student financial aid programs and bring about a greater understanding of the impact and contributions of Ohio independent colleges and universities.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.