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Marshall University Foundation holds contest for School of Art and Design

The Marshall University Foundation Inc., hosted its first holiday card design competition in conjunction with Marshall University’s School of Art and Design.

With the task of drawing their favorite place on campus for the foundation’s annual holiday card, students created vibrant autumn scenes and spectacular hues of hope to send warm visuals of gratitude to the university’s donors.

“For the students who participated, this is a real-world, working artist situation,” said Frederick Bartolovic, interim director of the School of Art and Design. “Students were asked to develop an artwork that depicted a seasonal fall theme and were presented with a deadline for when they needed to complete the project, using virtually any medium or material. For students, this was an opportunity to have a piece of artwork published, a moment when they can get their name out there and build their student portfolio with a project that will make a lasting impression. We are thankful to everyone who participated in this year’s holiday card competition.”

The School of Art and Design narrowed down the entries and sent them to the Marshall University Foundation to choose the winners. The top three choices were awarded a monetary prize.

Tia Walkup, a sophomore art education major from Greenbrier County, West Virginia, was named the first-place winner. Her design, “A Cultured Autumn” depicted the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center and Playhouse, as she believes it is “one of the most unique places to be in the cold, fall months because of the beautiful foggy windows and lights inside.” Walkup’s design will be featured on the annual holiday card for the Marshall University Foundation.

Second place winner Ali Smith, a junior art and psychology major from Portsmouth, Ohio, designed a piece called “Stained Glass” to remind others that “even during hard times, there is still beauty.” After reviewing Smith’s design, the Office of Annual Giving chose to feature it on its holiday card.

Baylee Grueser, a sophomore who is undecided within the School of Art and Design and a native of Racine, Ohio, received the third-place prize for her submission titled “Gather.” Featuring a Celtic knot border for the lack of starting and finishing points, Grueser’s work reminds others that “we can always find loyalty, faith, friendship and love.”

The Marshall University Foundation is hopeful to make the holiday card competition an annual event and is thankful for the students who participated.

“We were elated to see the concepts that students submitted in our first holiday card competition,” said Kristin Rhodes, program director of foundation communications. “With the goal of taking campus to our donors in a year where many were unable to visit, we believe that the images our talented students created will remind others of how grateful our Marshall family is for one another and the importance they play in helping us rise.”

For information about the Marshall University Foundation, please visit For more information about the School of Art and Design, please visit