2022 Student Artist Awards Presented

NC State’s student artist awards celebrate students from across the university’s colleges who exhibit extraordinary creativity and mastery of their craft. On Monday, Nov. 28, the annual awards ceremony returned to a live format for the first time since 2019, held in conjunction with the Bowers Medal of Arts presentation to Chancellor Randy Woodson and Susan Woodson.

The Creative Artist Award recognizes students who have written, composed or choreographed an outstanding piece of original music, theatre or dance, while the Performing Artist Awards are given to exceptional student performers. Arts program directors and faculty select each year’s winners, who receive cash awards.

The Visual Artist Award honors NC State students for outstanding work in the visual arts in the categories of 2D, 3D, and computer-rendered or photography. The artist’s work is selected at the annual Student Art Sale each spring, and the winner receives a cash award. Their piece is displayed prominently in Talley Student Union for the following year.

The Creative, Performing and Visual Artist Awards are made possible by the NC State University Foundation, the Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf Endowment for Creativity in the Performing Arts, the Roxanne Hicklin Visual Artist Award Endowment, and Arts NC State.

Olivia Allen was selected for the Visual Artist Award in 2D art for her piece Future Pack Leader that represents Tuffy, NC State’s mascot. Olivia is a junior majoring in architecture. In 2016, she decided to draw all of the foster dogs that passed through her home as a special way to remember each one, which sparked her passion for realism and animal drawings. While she has experimented with other art styles, she particularly focuses on realism and animal/wildlife portraits.

Anika Anandpura was selected for the Creative Artist Award in music for her song titled Fidelity.

Anika is a biology major on the pre-dental track and is in her second year at NC State.  She has been writing songs since age 14 and plays guitar, piano, ukulele and bass. During the summer of 2020, she wrote and produced a dancepop EP with J-Stylz from Blackstreet. Her song Seaside was a semi-finalist entry for the International Songwriting Competition judged by Dua Lipa and Coldplay among other artists. Another song, Steal The Crowd, peaked at #1 on the Starfleet internet radio DJ pool charts.

Francesca Balestrieri was selected for the Performing Artist Award in music for her outstanding work in the choral ensembles. She is a senior majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in human biology, and minoring in psychology and vocal performance. Fransesca has sung in the State Chorale since her first semester (and has been the alto leader since her junior year) and in the Chamber Singers for the past three semesters. She calls choir “one of the best parts of my college experience.” As a part of her vocal performance minor, she has had the opportunity to learn a wide variety of repertoire, such as French art songs, classics by Samuel Barber, and arias from well-known operas.

Gaven Bell was selected for the Creative Artist Award in theatre for her original play Muse. Gaven is a senior majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in integrative physiology and neurobiology and minors in science communication and theatre. She likes to do a little bit of everything in theatre and has been involved with University Theatre since her first semester at NC State when she played Emma in Fefu and Her Friends. She currently serves as treasurer of the Psi Kappa Cast of Alpha Psi Omega, NC State’s chapter of the national theatre honor society. Her first award-winning play, A Case of Salt, was produced by University Theatre in spring 2022. Gaven’s 2022 award-winning play is a contemporary rendition of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and will be produced in spring 2023.

Evanna Edward was selected for the Performing Artist Award in dance for her outstanding work in the Panoramic Dance Project. She is a junior majoring in fashion and textile management and minoring in both business administration and dance. Evanna has been dancing since age two, studying at Carolina Dance Center, Broughton High School, and the American Dance Festival. Evanna has trained in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, African and hip-hop and has been a member of the Panoramic Dance project for the past two years.

Samer Issa was selected for the Performing Artist Award in music for his outstanding work in instrumental performances (both concerts and solo) throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. He is a senior majoring in human biology and minoring in music performance. Music has been an integral component of his life since middle school. Samer has continued this commitment to performing throughout his time here at NC State, performing with multiple ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, Brickyard Brass Quintet, Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, and in the pit for University Theatre’s production of Cabaret. He has spent multiple summers performing with the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps.

Gracelyn Kitchings was selected for the Performing Artist Award in theatre for her outstanding work in multiple University Theatre productions. Gracelyn graduated in May 2022 with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in marketing. She has been involved with University Theatre since the fall of 2018 performing in her first show at NC State as Hall in Men on Boats. Over her time at NC State she had the privilege to be involved in seven shows in both acting and stage management roles. In the 2021-2022 season, Gracelyn had the privilege to play Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Patchy the Pirate in Spongebob the Musical (which she describes as one of the highlights of her time with University Theatre).

Jimmy Lewis was selected for the Visual Artist Award in 3D art for his wooden sculpture, Fan Carved Bird #9. The birds he makes are a part of a 100-bird collection that he committed himself to in January of 2022. He is a senior studying environmental engineering. Jimmy has been woodworking since 2017 while in high school. In 2018 he worked in Vermont and learned a bit about boat building. The opportunity at NC State to work at the Crafts Center let him continue his woodworking in college, where he teaches classes in building Peruvian wooden drums known as cajón.

Rachel Morris was selected for the Creative Artist Award in dance for her work titled Who Am I? Rachel is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in dance. Starting at age four, she danced for 13 years before coming to NC State and has been a member of the State Dance Company since she became a student here. She has enjoyed learning more about dance history and experimenting with different styles and choreography while here at NC State. Her award-winning dance composition explores how the different Enneagram types have impacted her life and her faith journey.

Kara Pawlowski was selected for the Creative Artist Award in dance for her work titled The Complexities of Loneliness. A sophomore majoring in biochemistry, Kara is a dancer for the State Dance Company. Prior to coming to NC State, she danced competitively for seven years. Her award-winning dance composition is about the effect of the societal standards put on women by men and how this causes insecurity that extends to all females.

Hrishikesh Ram was selected for the Performing Artist Award in music for his outstanding work in piano performance. He has been a student of piano for more than a decade and is pursuing music performance at NC State under the guidance of Dr. Olga Kleiankina. Hrishikesh previously studied for over a decade with John Herrmann of Durham, NC. He has ranked highly in both solo and chamber music competitions at local, state, nationwide and international levels, leading to performance opportunities at prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall. He is a second-year student in chemical engineering and chemistry.

Sarah Waugh was selected for the Visual Artist Award in digital art/photography for her photo titled  Miami Beach Lifeguard Stand,  taken on a family vacation to Miami. Sarah started taking photos when she first got a smartphone around age 15 but pursued photography more seriously after getting a camera for her 18th birthday. A master’s student in public history, she also creates in other mediums but became too attached to her collage work to enter it into the Student Art Sale.

LilyGrace Wolfe was selected for the Performing Artist Award in dance for her outstanding work in the State Dance Company. Ever since LilyGrace was three years old and asked Santa for a stage, dancing and performing have been a source of joy for her. In spring 2022, LilyGrace graduated with a B.A. in communication media and minors in art studies and English. She was a member of the State Dance Company and a student ambassador for the Dance Program. She’s so grateful to have spent four incredible years performing work by student choreographers, Tara Mullins, and amazing guest artists, including Tracey Durbin and her childhood dance teacher, Kassandra Taylor Newberry.