3 Students Win Foot Levelers Art Contest

Three Radford University students from Professor Halide Salam’s advanced painting class are winners of the 2011 Foot Levelers Art Contest.

“We are just thrilled that three of our students won it,” Salam said. “Radford University has the largest number of winners for this statewide competition, so this win speaks to the quality of our program.”

A recent ceremony in the Gallery of the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts recognized students Emily Whittaker, Chrissy Frostick and Megan Zalecki, each of whom received a $200 award from a company representative. Foot Levelers will display the contest winners’ work in chiropractic college clinics nationwide.

student winners

Left to right are Megan Zalecki, Emily Whittaker and Chrissy Frostick with their winning paintings.

With international headquarters in Roanoke, Foot Levelers has been a provider of individually designed stabilizing orthotics and other health-care products for more than 60 years. The company partners with local colleges to turn the art contest into a collaborative effort, said Hilary Kelley, the company’s public relations manager.

The three students were in their class studio when they learned they had won.

“Dr. Salam came running in, and she was jumping up and down with us,” Frostick said. “We were all so excited.”

Participation in the contest was a class assignment, with all 12 students submitting works of art. The goal, Salam said, was to create pieces that reflected Foot Levelers’ strong emphasis on whole-body wellness. Some of the key terms the artists were encouraged to use for inspiration were chiropractic, skeleton, muscular structure, arches, architecture, feet, whole body, symmetry, walking, structure, balance, foundation and vault.

The student winners said they respect and admire each other’s artistic talents.

“We all have completely different styles,” Zalecki said, gazing at her classmates’ artwork, “but it’s nice to see all the different color combinations and the thought process that goes into it.”

The students completed their paintings in just under three weeks, which is even more impressive given the quality of the finished results, said Jason Williams, head graphic designer for Foot Levelers.

“We just thought they were gorgeous,” Williams said, noting how each winning work fit the contest’s criteria. “Overall, all of the paintings were wonderful,” he said. “The turnout was just amazing.”

Salam said one of the biggest challenges facing the student artists was finding the right balance to sync their personal vision with the contest’s parameters.

“When commissioned to do a particular project, they have to be able to manipulate the ideas of their client without compromising their own personal integrity,” the professor said. “All three students accomplished that, and that is what the judges all commended them for.”

The students’ energy, the entire class’s attitude and collective enthusiasm throughout the project were infectious, Salam said. “Each student rose to the occasion. As far as I am concerned, they are all winners.”

Nov 23, 2011
Keith Hagarty