*This article originally appeared in print and online in The Corsair in March 2018.
By Becca Carlson
Pensacola State College (PSC) visual arts students won 76 awards out of 175 entries at the recent gala, formerly known as the ADDYs, held at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Hotel.
Zach Blessing and Kelly Bestgen each won a prestigious Judge’s Choice Award Feb. 17.
This was Daniela de Castro’s first time to submit. She won five Silver awards for three of the five images she submitted.
“It felt really good. It’s always a bit shocking that what you do in school can reap such high rewards. It’s such a great boost for your résumé,” said de Castro, who is pursuing a B.A.S. in Graphic Design.
Her winning entries included a piece comprised of Photo Lighting Techniques (PLT) and a stamp design she created in a graphic design class which won silvers in two separate categories.
“It was great because not only do you have all of your friends there, but it’s a very good opportunity to network. You have everybody who’s in design in Pensacola,” de Castro said.
Imani Wright is an A.S. Graphic Design student. This was her first time attending the Willy Wonka themed gala ceremony as well. Although, she did not submit entries this year, she was happy to cheer on her friends as they won awards.
“I felt a lot of pride for my classmates. I personally did not enter this year, but it was great to see how happy everybody was with their work,” Wright said. “It was great to be there for support and to see all of the professional work. I really enjoyed myself.”
Wright plans to enter next year’s competition now that she knows a little more about the competition.
“Now I know how it’s presented,” Wright said. “I think that was my big concern—was being nervous about having my things seen by other people. I’ve come to a point where it’s going to be part of my job in the future, I need to get over that.”
Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), students competed against local district colleges, including Pensacola Christian College and the University of West Florida.
“We’ve never won that many awards before,” said Mark Hopkins, a PSC visual arts instructor.
Hopkins began encouraging students to submit entries in 2004. That year the students won six awards.
“We’ve come a long way since then,” Hopkins said. “I think it does a lot for the school. Locally, they get recognized.”
The AAF Student Competition, sponsored by the AAF and National Ad 2, is a national awards program designed especially for college students. However, local area advertising agencies and business like idgroup, Embark Agency and Andrews Institute also compete at a professional level.
The competition is comprised of all mediums used in advertising such as graphic design, photography and website design.
The AAF Pensacola ADDY Awards are the first of a three-tiered national competition. Work entered at the local level can move up to district and national competition.
Students can win a crystal trophy, and if they become the National Best of Show winner, a check
for $1000. Students can find many of the past ADDY award-winning submissions along the wall of room 1515 in the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts, building 15.
Hopkins is a former board member of the local AAF and has an idea of what it takes to be competitive in the field.
“Hard work, listening, and the will to want to do really good for yourself,” Hopkins said. “If you’re trying to build a great resume for yourself, a great portfolio for yourself—this is one of the things you should do.”