The First Annual Student Graphic Design Show and Alumni Meet-and-Greet

AIGA Poster

The annual student graphic design show planning started with a move, a season change, and a twist. Radford University graphic design professors John O’Connor and Ken Smith wanted to find a way to bring together more students, alumni and community for the annual one night only student graphic design show. So, this semester they are shaking things up.

Working with the Radford University AIGA Student Group, they are moving this annual exhibition. This means in both time and place. This year’s show is from 5-7 p.m., Dec. 9, 2016, rather than during the spring semester. Sharkey’s On Top in Radford, Virginia, is the new venue.

“The student graphic design show has been a one-night show, held off campus for several years, and we hope that moving it into an even more public venue will both generate more student enthusiasm and make access easier for our visitors and alumni guests,” Smith said.

With this year’s graphic design pop-up show, O’Connor and Smith also hope to engage the program’s many alumni with a new twist – the team is inviting all Radford graphic design alumni to not only attend, but to judge this year’s show.

“We are asking our alumni to once again come and be a part of our program – which is of course their program, as well,” he said.

But wait, there is more.

The graphic design professors also see this fall show as a way to engage our current students in the spirit of competition for the upcoming American Advertising Federation’s Student Awards show (the ADDYs) in Roanoke.

The AAF awards are important for two reasons. They serve as a recruitment tool for the program, and for current students it is a networking opportunity to meet future employers and gain valuable name recognition for both themselves and the Radford Graphic Design program. Winners in the local event then compete at regional and national levels. Last year, senior graphic design student Paul Gartner won a Silver ADDY award in the national competition.

“Toward that goal, we’re asking our alumni, to participate and to jury this year’s student show, and we’re also asking them to donate $20 each toward a new ADDY Sponsorship Fund,” Smith said.

Student Graphic Design show winners will receive award certificates and free entry of their winning pieces into the AAF “ADDY” Awards competition.

“In this way, our alumni will have the opportunity to directly influence Radford’s ADDY award entries, and to make sure our program’s best work is represented,” he explained.

Though only alumni are eligible to judge the pop-up event at Sharkey’s, all are welcome to view the show for free. Others wishing to donate to the ADDY Sponsorship Fund are welcome to do so. To contribute online, visit Not only are these donations tax deductible, they include a free membership for the donor into the university’s Arts Society.

What was once a spring student show is now the 2016 Radford University Student Graphic Design Show and Alumni Meet-and-Greet.

The event is Dec. 9, 2016, from 5-7:00 p.m. at Sharkeys On Top, Radford, Virginia. For more information or for graphic design alumni who want to participate, please contact Ken Smith at To learn more about the Arts Society, please visit  

Nov 30, 2016