January 16, 2008

Two students are finalists in art competition

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Two graduate students in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Art and Design are finalists in the prestigious NICHE Award art competition for 2008.

Kyoung Hwa Oh, from South Korea, is a finalist in functional ceramics with "Water Vase 2," and Yoshi Fujii, from Japan, is a finalist in sculptural ceramics with "Hub." As finalists, the two will be among the students featured in the spring issue of the magazine.

NICHE Magazine, a trade journal for craft gallery retailers, sponsors the annual competition. Professionals compete separately from students. Besides ceramics, students can enter categories such as fiber, jewelry, metal, wood and mixed media.

The annual award competition is for American and Canadian craft artists who want to sell their art through craft galleries and retail stores. A jury selects the handful of finalists and the winners, judging on technical excellence, market viability and creativity. According to NICHE publicity, the jury considered more than 1,100 entries this year.

A special exhibit of all the finalists is set for Feb. 15-18 at the Buyers Market of American Craft, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa. NICHE will announce the winners during a ceremony on Feb. 17.