Annual Visual Art Contest

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Announcing the Religion COMPAS Visual Art Contest

Across human cultures, religion has been one of the leading sources of both inspiration and conflict among individuals and groups. It has provided the motivation for some of the most significant movements for social reform, and for some of the most significant violations of fundamental moral norms. It has both supported and stood in opposition to domination and social hierarchy.
In keeping with the COMPAS program’s mission of fostering civil and informed discussion of important and controversial issues of public concern, we are soliciting contributions in the visual arts from a wide range of religious and non-religious perspectives. 
Suggested topics include:
  • The role of religion and pluralism in domestic and global politics
  • Religion as a cause of violence and a force for peace
  • Religious and secular understandings of human equality and social justice
  • The relationship between religious and scientific modes of understanding
  • The prospects for inter-religious cooperation to address challenges such as global poverty and environmental sustainability
We welcome submissions from anyone in the Columbus area. Awards will be offered in two categories: College Students (OSU, CCAD, etc) and Columbus Community (OSU-related and other).
For each group, there will be:
  • One Grand Prize, $500
  • Up to 2 awards of excellence, $250 each
  • Up to 3 awards of distinction, $50 each
All types of visual art are eligible: painting/drawing, sculpture, glass, photography, art and technology, video, virtual reality, printmaking, ceramics, etc.
Important Dates: 
  • Submissions Due: February 16, 2018
  • Jury Notification: February 23, 2018
  • Drop-off: March 2, 2018
  • Show: March 9, 2018
  • Pickup Date: Late March / Early April
Limit of two pieces per person.
The show will be hosted by The Steam Factory (400 West Rich Street, Columbus OH, 43215). While the Steam Factory does not carry insurance for artwork, every care will be taken to protect the work during the exhibition.
Applications should be submitted at and must include:
  • The artist’s full name
  • The category of submission (College Student or Columbus Community)
  • The title of the artwork
  • The medium of the artwork
  • A high resolution photograph of the work or a video link as appropriate
  • A brief artist’s statement (~100 words)



Previous COMPAS Visual Art Contests

Beginning with the second COMPAS program on the relationship between the public and the private, the Center for Ethics and Human Values has held a Photo Contest in conjunction with each of its COMPAS programs. Last year, as past of our program on Inequality, we added an Art Contest as well. Beginning with this year's program on Religion, we will merge the two, offering an annual visual arts contest in the fall. It is our hope that we will also begin to offer a Performing Arts contest each spring.

Below are winning photographs for the Inequality, Sustainability and Public/Private photo contests, as well as the Inequality Art Contest winners.


2016-17 Inequality COMPAS Art Contest Winners


When many people think about inequality, they think of economic inequality—inequality in wealth and income. However, it is important to also examine the causes, significance, and effects of political, legal, and health inequality, the relationships between these forms of inequality, and their connections with race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ status. These different dimensions of inequality can often be difficult to connect with, especially when we do not experience them firsthand. A photograph can change this. A photograph can force us to confront the inequalities that we often overlook, providing the knowledge and motivation needed to foster change. In addition to their general aesthetic merit, submissions will be judged on the ways in which the photographs explore issues related to the COMPAS theme.

Grand Prize


Avery McGrail, ”This is not normal” 

”This is not normal” - Avery McGrail - square     ”This is not normal” - Avery McGrail - wide shot

This is a handmade accordion book made in light of the recent 2016 election. I took inspiration from a special that comedian John Oliver did prior to the election on This Week Tonight, and the internet movement to speak out against the "#notnormal" behavior of president-elect Donald Trump. I want to try and urge people not to stay quiet during these next four years and instead continue to fight for equality.


Awards of Excellence


Virgil Clark, "Wealth Redistribution"

Wealth Redistribution - Virgil Clark - Front     Wealth Redistribution - Virgil Clark - Back

This artwork is a pair of digital prints displayed back to back. It meant to highlight how dramatic income inequality is in our society.

Vincent Cohen, "Where The Head Lies"

Where The Head Lies - Cohen, Vincent - Front

Where The Head Lies - Cohen, Vincent - Side

This elegant, one story cardboard beauty offers an inviting, custom accented entry featuring a charming garden gnome and renovated welcome mat. No detail was left unconsidered in the gorgeous entryway, opening onto the spacious master suite. 
A newly installed roof covers this exquisite, portable one bedroom, no bath home which has the additional benefit of being located within walking distance of wherever it's placed. Nicely updated removable newspapers allow transformation of the opulent master suite into a large formal living area great for family fun.
Relax in unique out door living spaces as wind chimes and a Victorian looking globe lend a sophisticated character to this one of a kind property. An exceptionally beautiful home that promises to add curb appeal to any lush manicured lawn on which it resides.

Merle Vaessin, "Income Altitudes"

Income Altitudes - Vaessin, Merle - Side     Income Altitudes - Vaessin, Merle - Top

A 3d topographical map of central Ohio, with the altitudes of the different census areas raised and lowered to match the average household income for that area. Wood of frame made from old grown pine, from a house owned by the Marion family, who helped build the economy in the state of Ohio.



Awards of Distinction


Carmen Allen, "The Scales of 'Justice'"


A mobile made of chains and wire supporting various pods that represent the inequality of incarceration amongst various races.


Julia Barrett, "Anxiety Attack #2"


This piece is part of a series which deals with having anxiety. Each piece has a specific anxiety. 
For this one I am showing the anxiety women have with how they are viewed in the eyes of society. It questions what women need to look like--clothed/veiled-- in order to fit into society? It expresses the fears we have to hide on a daily basis.
It shows how our bodies are controlled by things out of our own control. It says when we try to speak out--they muffle us. When we try to run away--they trap us. When we try to breathe...they suffocate us.

Maggie Barrie, "The Black Mother"

The Black Mother - Barrie, Maggie

The black mother My piece focuses on the topic of racial inequality and it's deep-rooted presence in America. 
The piece is meant to be transcendental in the way that is not tied to just this era of racial inequality but also the era of slavery, two similar but very different times. It was inspired by my mother who was born in Africa but has lived in America for the past 20 years. 
During this time she has given birth to three girls and one boy. With this one boy she has feared his experience growing up in a country where being a black male can be a very dangerous thing. My piece reflects this, the women I sculpted is ebony to represent the black mother and her ever present reality of being different. 
The black is rich and intense and contrasted against a pure white background to signify how being black in America doesn't go without notice and how it stands bold in a country where 63% of its citizens are caucasians. When you see the piece you will notice that she is pregnant. Within her stomach is the black child that she fears will grow up in a society that is judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character (Martin Luther King, I Had A Dream Speech).
Furthermore, this piece has two parts, aesthetic (the sculpture and African cloth) and then interactive and technological. The second part is that whoever observes the piece can actually go inside the stomach of the sculpture and pull virtual reality googles from her womb, to represent the poignant but violent symbolism of society taking the child from her, much how mass incarnation and gun violence takes the children of many black mothers. Next, the person is to place the virtual reality goggles on and they are transported into the womb of the mother, where they will experience animations that depict the struggle of the black mother and her children in America.

 Sarah Bowe, "Society in Time"

Society in Time - Bowe, Sarah

When my professor said that this contest was on inequality, I knew immediately that I wanted to do gender inequality. I wanted my work to illustrate the gender roles of women that we have created as a society, and where they are now vs. where I want them to be in the future. 
The lingerie model is in the forefront, with makeup, a cheerleader, and a pregnant women directly behind her. This is supposed to signify the roles that I believe society still places women in. The graduation cap, briefcase, the word "equal", and the bars of equal height are supposed to represent the transition that I wish to see in society: a transition of more education, respect, and equality. Finally, the business woman at her desk is supposed to represent what I hope to see as a future role of women. The woman is furthest from the viewer, signifying that we must move toward her.
In addition, I included the quotes "You can't be what you can't see" to signify the role the media has in forming the roles of women in society, and "Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed" to signify that these gender roles have been created out of society.

Elizabeth Dang, "Water is Life"

Water is Life - Dang, Elizabeth

The North Dakota Access Pipeline has been a very controversial and unconstitutional event where history repeats itself in its wrongful treatment of Native Americans and peaceful protestors. Water cannons and tear gas were a few weapons that were used. Peacocks symbolize dignity and beauty and a headdress is used instead of the feathers.


AdaObinna Ijomah, "Inabata"

Inabata - Ijomah, AdaObinna

This piece reflects the African culture which is part of my identity. Inabata means "accept" in igbo. I decided to do a study of figures that exaggerate certain features of the body.
One particular focus was the facial features that is emphasized. Features such as the nose and lips which gives reference to the stereotypical features that are known for classifying people not only of African descent, but people of color in general. Which is normally a noticeable feature in our society reflecting its beauty.
My piece is about me taking those qualities and embracing the physical features and background of what society view, and in hope that one sees beyond the external but focus on the internal beauty of a person.

Lexis Vanhecke, "1 in 3"


This is a digitally altered drawing of mine which represents the outrageous fact that 1 in 3 African American males will go to jail at least once in their lifetime.

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2016-17 Inequality COMPAS Photo Contest Winners


Undergraduate/Graduate Students

March to the Capitol
1st Place: Ingrid Raphael, "The March to the Capitol"

2nd Place: Bella Kitzis, "Roles"
Low Yielding Maize
3rd Place: Nall Moonilall, "Low Yielding Maize "
Outside the Walls
Honorable Mention: Chris Baggott, "Outside the Walls"


Cultural Decor
1st Place: Julie Rae Powers, "Cultural* Decor"

2nd Place: Adam Brown, "Silence"



Co-1st Place: Holly Curry, "Twenty-One"

80 Cents on the Dollar
Co-1st Place: Holly Curry, "80 Cents on the Dollar"

2nd Place: Jason Joseph, "Separation"

In a Cage
3rd Place: Yu Tsumura, "In a Cage"

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2015-16 Sustainability COMPAS Photo Contest Winners

Perhaps the greatest cultural, economic, and technological challenge facing modern democracies and global development groups is how to respond to the depletion of natural resources and the effects of climate change. The health of the planet as well as the future shape of human society is at stake, and a photograph can tell these compelling stories like no other medium. A photograph can show us the wonders of our planet that are at stake. A photograph can show us the harsh realities we face as those wonders begin to disappear. Perhaps most importantly, a photograph can show us what we have accomplished and explore solutions to the challenges facing us. In addition to their general aesthetic merit, submissions were judged on the ways in which the photographs explore issues related to the COMPAS theme.


Communal fishing in the Logone Floodplain, Cameroon
1st Place: Sarah Laborde, "Communal fishing in the Logone Floodplain, Cameroon"

Scarred Earth
2nd Place: Danae Wolfe, "Scarred Earth"

Abandoned Faith
3rd Place: Richard Burry, "Abandoned Faith"



1st Place: Holly Curry, "Ozymandias"

Horse logger, New River Valley, Virginia
2nd Place: Pradeep Edussuriya, "Horse logger, New River Valley, Virginia"

Undergraduate/Graduate Students:

Our Nation's First Offshore Windfarm
1st Place: Lillianna Marie Baczeski, "Our Nation's First Offshore Windfarm"
Evaluating Green Space
2nd Place: Joshua Cheston, "Evaluating Green Space"
Yellow Beauty
3rd Place: Nall Moonilall, "Yellow Beauty"
Honorable Mention: Brooke Hall, "Fabricate"

2013-14 Public/Private COMPAS Photo Contest Winners

While photography can be a private art form, traditions of photojournalism and photography as public art illustrate its relevance for public matters. The two come together when, for example, per-sonal grief in the face of tragedy ends up on the front pages of newspapers. In addition to their aesthetic merit, submissions were judged on the ways in which they illuminate the themes of personal privacy and publicity, public and private in the political and economic senses, and how they interact.


I Thought it was a Man Asleep

1st Place: Evan Dawson, "I thought it was a man asleep,
it was a tent rolled up in itself."

Enfant a la plage
2nd Place: Andrea Grottoli, "Enfant a la plage"


3rd Place: Kaethe Sandman, "Pawprints"

Advance and Recede
Honorable Mention: Robert Ladislas Derr, "Advance and Recede"


Honorable Mention: Lisa Downing, "WOMEN"


Restoration Work
Honorable Mention: Evan Dawson, "Restoration Work"



1st Place: Amy Powell, "Cuffs"

vision, mudslide, shadow clump (no. 3)
2nd Place: Theodore Zanardelli, "vision, mudslide, shadow, clump (no. 3)"

Kids will be Kids
3rd Place: David Wai, "Kids will be Kids"

Road to Recovery
Honorable Mention: Parker Dudzik, "Road to Recovery"

Airplane Dog
Honorable Mention: Amy Powell, "Airplane Dog"


Undergraduate/Graduate Students:

Streets of Manila
1st Place: Kaylin Chen, "Streets of Manila"

We are the Media
2nd Place: Corey Reeb, "We are the Media"


Leave a Letter
3rd Place: Thomas Wright, "Leave a Letter"


The Scarlet Letter
Honorable Mention: Michelle Goodwin, "The Scarlet Letter"


Rush Hour
Honorable Mention: Miao Zhou, "Rush Hour"

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