Art critique

Ball State University art students win first prize, “Outstanding Social Critic” in the 2021 Biodesign Challenge

Two art students from Ball State University were part of a design team whose collaborative creation won top prize in the 2021 Biodesign Challenge.

The students of the Ball State School of Art, Dominic Zelli and Jonathan Alexander, were part of the “River Defenders” team, which won the “Outstanding Social Critique” category at the Biodesign Challenge Summit. This year’s BioDesign Challenge, which took place June 21-25, featured projects from 51 top schools around the world.

It was the first time that a Ball State student had participated as a finalist in the Biodesign Challenge Summit. The challenge was part of a special topics course taught by Assistant Professor Devon Ward last spring in the Visual Communication area of ​​the School of Art.

“The Biodesign competition and course were exciting opportunities for students to generate work for a real-world competition with an audience of professionals in their field,” said Andy Beane, associate director of the Ball State School of Art. “Our students started in January with a simple prompt and over the course of the semester they generated new ideas, tested the design, and created a final product and presentation in front of a large number of professionals.”

The creation of River Defenders, which includes work by Erin Mawhorter and Ashlyn Sterling, is featured in this design video. River Defenders is described as a “satirical advertising campaign that imagines using military means to eliminate invasive species.”


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