McKenzie Simpson earns Outstanding Arts Student Award at VSU

May 10—VALDOSTA — McKenzie Simpson of Quitman is the recipient of Valdosta State University's 2023-2024 College of the Arts Outstanding Student Award.

Simpson was recognized during VSU's annual Academic Honors and Awards Dinner on April 25.

The College of the Arts Outstanding Student Award is presented to a student with a record of academic excellence and distinguished service inside and outside the classroom.

"I am proud to represent the College of the Arts and set an example for future Blazers in the Department of Art & Design," she said. "This award is a symbol of everything I have worked for over the past four years."

Simpson graduated May 4 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art. She plans to take a gap year and pursue artist residencies and internship opportunities in printmaking. She then hopes to return to school and pursue a master's degree in art with a focus in printmaking, "which will work toward my eventual goal of becoming a printmaking professor."

Highlights of Simpson's time as a student at VSU include the following:

— Celebrating the opening reception of her senior exhibition, Spectrum, and seeing all of her thesis work installed in a gallery setting, an experience that inspired her to continue making large-scale, immersive work.

— Giving an artist talk about her thesis and her practice as an artist to the public, her peers, and Department of Art & Design faculty for her senior seminar class.

— Presenting her research on color connotations in international graphic design at the Blazer Summer Research Institute and the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference.

— Being chosen to represent the College of the Arts as the President's Award for Academic Excellence recipient and carry "our banner" during VSU's 237th commencement ceremony.

— Meeting and learning from all the visiting artists that the Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery brings in for exhibitions and workshops.

Her family includes parents Jay and Edwina Simpson and dog Remi.