November 15, 2016

“Dreaming in Purple” Takes Home First Place and Wins Poster Contest in Annual Student Art Competition

Student Maria Rizzo and President Merodie A. Hancock
Maria Rizzo was presented with first prize and her winning poster by President Merodie A. Hancock. Photo/Empire State College

“Dreaming in Purple,” by Maria Rizzo, won first prize, and the collegewide poster contest, in SUNY Empire State College’s annual student art competition.

Rizzo, who is completing her Bachelor of Art in The Arts, with a concentration in visual arts, is a fine artist specializing in acrylic and oil painting on canvas who owns and operates Maria Rizzo Art.

“As art is so subjective, I was genuinely surprised to have won both awards,” said Rizzo. “Art is my life and SUNY Empire State College allows me to pursue my interests with a very personalized degree plan that includes entrepreneurial and art business classes, along with the more traditional art-related classes. I love the flexibility to study from home to accommodate my busy schedule and, at the same time, I also enjoy meeting with my professors in person when the nature of the class I’m taking requires it.”

Prizes and the poster award are presented to students during the college’s annual Student Academic Conference, which includes an exhibition of student art. This year’s conference was held in October in, Albany, N.Y.

The college received nearly 100 entries for the 2016 competition. Most were from students living throughout New York state, with three submitted by a student living in Texas, three by Christina Casanova Canizalez, who traveled from her home state of Ohio to participate in the exhibition, and one from an international student living in Israel.

“SUNY Empire students’ passion and amazing talent is reflected by their artwork,” said Patricia Myers, the college’s director of collegewide student affairs. “In addition to art, students studying other academic disciplines also won awards, which demonstrates not only the depth and breadth of their talent, but also their motivation to gain a strong liberal arts education by participating in the life of the college.”

Students may submit up to three entries, which then are judged by the student art competition selection committee. Final pieces are chosen, and then first, second and third prizes, as well as honorable mentions, are awarded by the committee.

For the annual poster contest, the SUNY Empire community – students, alumni, faculty and staff – votes online for their favorite among the final entries selected by the committee.

The winning piece is reproduced as a poster, framed and displayed throughout the college’s locations across the state. The final pieces also are digitally displayed throughout the college.

Second and Third Prize

“All Walks of Life,” by Chris Bowman, who is completing a Bachelor of Arts in The Arts, with a concentration in photo journalism, was awarded second prize.

“Peaceful Warrior,” by Deborah Berlin, who is completing a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Business, Management and Economics, with a concentration in on peace and labor studies, earned third prize

Honorable Mentions

“Peace and Love in Modern Times,” by Caroline Greenspan, who is completing a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in arts and business, received an honorable mention.

“Cup of Joe,” by Elizabeth McGurk ‘14 , who earned an associate degree in The Arts and now is completing a Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Economics, received an honorable mention.

“Underlying Mechanisms of the Universe,” by Iryna Slukvina ’16, who completed her RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and has recently been accepted into the college’s Master of Science in Nursing program, received an honorable mention.

About Maria Rizzo

Rizzo’s paintings have been selected for solo and group juried and invitational exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the Northeast United States and abroad, including:

  • the View Art Center at Old Forge, N.Y.
  • the Wilson Art Gallery in Syracuse, N.Y.
  • the Schweinfurth Art Center, Auburn, N.Y.
  • the RSI Bank's 3rd Annual Artists Contest, Rahway, N.J.
  • the Museo d' Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Italy.

In addition to receiving first prize and winning the poster contest, Rizzo is also the recipient of the 2014 Individual Artist Commission Grant from CNY Arts and  is the artist-in-residence and curator at Natur-Tyme in DeWitt, N.Y.

She is a 2012 New York Foundation for the Arts' “Mark” alumna. The NYFA Mark is a competitive, statewide, six-month program for visual artists looking for a unique opportunity for individualized focus on the professional side of their creative practice.

Rizzo, who was born in Bologna, Italy in 1987 and moved to the U.S. in 2007, lives in East Syracuse, N.Y., with her husband, Dan Wagner, and their two young sons.

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