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BIG Awards in Art

Students Recognized by Faculty

UMass Lowell Image
UMass Lowell gallery assistant Jason Allen joined the four BFA students who received best in show awards at the 22nd Annual BIG Student Show. From second from the left to right: Steve Kinney, Jessica Tawczynski, Alexandra Derderian and Peter Apperti.

By Julia Gavin

Four students recently received sought-after accolades: best-in-show awards. As part of the 22nd Annual BIG Student Show, faculty in the Art Department selected examples of outstanding work created by bachelor of fine arts undergraduates. 

The winners selected from several dozen entries were Steve Kinney in sculpture; Jessica Tawczynski in painting; Peter Apperti  in photography; and Alexandra Dederian in new media. While excited about the recognition, the winners also say that the show made them consider their creative processes and lives as professional artists.

“Nearly everyone studying painting wants to be a professional artist so, yes, I would like to paint professionally. More than that, I’m going to do it,” asserts Tawczynski, whose large-scale abstract paintings help her work through frustrations and stresses.

Apperti, whose winning black and white nature photography studies mirror cracks and plants in rocks near Cape Elizabeth, Maine, says that he plans to balance commercial photography with fine art in his professional life.

“Professor Minkinnen said that there has never been an unsuccessful commercial photographer, so I’ll probably have to go commercial at some point,” says Apperti. “But my real passion is fine art, so I’ll photograph nature as well.”

Kinney’s views of his art and professional work are slightly different than those of his classmates. The military veteran is studying art to expand his lifelong interest in creativity and already has commissioned works. His undulating sculptures made of synthetic building materials are inspired by his recent home renovations and interest in nature.

“Art is meditative for me and I like using the building and insulation materials to build up the layers of the pieces,” says Kinney, who layers materials in boxes and then covers the base layer with insulation foam of different colors before shaping and cutting the artwork to his liking. “While I’m here more to learn than to start a profession as the other students are, it’s good to see the students recognized for their work.”