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Ohio Northern Student Is Winner of the AICUO Art Award and a Finalist for the Grand Award

Andrew SteingassOhio Northern University student Andrew Steingass, a senior studio arts major from Ada, Ohio, was selected as a winner for the 2009 Excellence in Visual Arts Award from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO). He also was one of six finalists for the AICUO Grand Award. The students were chosen from a field of 21 students nominated from colleges and universities affiliated with the AICUO. Each member institution was allowed to nominate two seniors for the award.

The Excellence in Visual Arts award was created as an opportunity for AICUO institutions to recognize outstanding senior art majors who display outstanding range of work and maturity as an artist. The nominated students were judged in a first round by 11 art faculty. Six award winners were chosen to be evaluated by a second round of judges from Ohio’s arts community for selection of the Grand Award winner.

“I am extremely excited and surprised to have been chosen as a finalist,” said Andrew. “The faculty here at Ohio Northern has influenced my work and continue to push me in new directions.”

At a formal ceremony to be held in April, the Grand Award winner will be announced and presented $2500. The People’s Choice Award also will be distributed based on the most popular votes taken from an online public voting event. In addition to Andrew, ONU senior Stephanie Rader, from Mount Cory, Ohio, will participate in this competition.

About his portfolio submitted to the AICUO competition, Andrew continued, “I found interest in clay because of its unlimited potential for form and surface and the physicality of wheel throwing. Formerly an athlete and performing artist, I adapted well to techniques of clay because they too require a strenuous physical and mental discipline. Plastic clay was much a recorder of a performance as much as it was a solid and enduring building material.”

“I am primarily interested in how, as humans, our sensual perception translates to desire,” said Andrew. “How the psychological effects of form, surface, and color develop our sense of what we value. It is different for everyone. These things shape our identity and our reality.”

After graduation, Andrew will continue his education. He has plans to move to North Carolina and apply to Penland School of Crafts. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Penland is a national center for ceramic and crafts education. According to Andrew, “The school is well known in our discipline and offers a lot of opportunities.”

The Excellence in Visual Arts Award recognizes seniors who have been nominated by their department chair or dean. These seniors possess and demonstrate artistic excellence over the span of their four years of study at their colleges.

AICUO was organized in 1969 to represent the interests of its members to Ohio's lawmakers, regulators and citizens. AICUO seeks to strengthen student financial aid programs and bring about a greater understanding of the impact and contributions of Ohio independent colleges and universities. For more information about the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts, visit

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the top 200 creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design, contact the department at 419-772-2160.