First “Dimensions of Diversity” art competition winners announced

Top competition winners, from left, "But We All Wear Hats" by Adam Sanford and "…

Georgia (Dec 3, 2014)

Top competition winners, from left, "But We All Wear Hats" by Adam Sanford and "Loving Kindness" by Meg Daniel

Kennesaw State students’ original art works reflect range of ideas about diversity

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 17, 2014) -- Six Kennesaw State students have been awarded prizes in the University’s first diversity art competition designed to develop a deeper understanding of diversity on the campus.

Three levels of prizes were awarded to winners in the “Dimensions of Diversity: Explorations of Self and Others” competition, a joint project of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and The College of the Arts. The winning art works will be purchased for the award amounts and permanently displayed in the Office of Diversity beginning in January. They will become part of Kennesaw State’s permanent art collection.  

Competition winners are:

·      First-level ($500) - "But We All Wear Hats" by Adam Sanford and "Loving Kindness" by Meg Daniel

·      Second-level ($300) - "Neurodiversity" by Shanna Coulter and  "Learning Seeds "by Manami Lingerfelt

·      Third level ($200) - "As the Winds Change" by Ryan Benefield and "Be Yourself" by Mandy Holasek

“The campus community is a richly diverse environment where dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability and economic status help shape the KSU experience,” said Nathalia Jaramillo, Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. “The competition is a unique way to engage students in dialogue about what diversity means at Kennesaw State.”

The competition encouraged art students to “pursue holistic and profound notions of difference” and how it applies to relationships on campus, with self, in nature and with the wider society. Students were invited to submit paintings, prints, drawings and mixed media works reflecting these concepts. Fifteen students entered the competition. 

Several of the entrants submitted an explanation of their work and its notion of diversity.

Adam Sanford, one of the first-place winners with his piece “But We All Wear Hats,” stated: “We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We all have our own way of approaching how we live our lives, and we all have something unique to offer to the world and to those who share that world. Give us a box, and we will inhabit that space in our own way, because we are all different. Yet there is truth in the idea that we all have more in common than not. We all wear hats.”

Meg Daniel, another first-place recipient with “Loving Kindness,” chose a composition that conveyed spiritual diversity. “The model is in a classic meditative pose, and in nature, grounded by the marble bench she's seated on, and bound by nothing above so as to portray her loving connection to the universe,” she wrote.

Shanna Coulter, a second-place winner whose painting is titled “Neurodiversity,” observed: “The human brain is a dynamic system of connections, as are communities. In a neurodiverse web of connections, we benefit from richer interactions and stronger communities. This painting illustrates dynamic connections made within and between minds, reflecting biodiversity, framed within a broken border of psychiatric diagnoses from the DSM-IV.”

Manami Lingerfelt, whose “Learning Seeds” also captured second place, wrote: “Each root from the seeds spread and connecting [sic] us all under KSU ground of soil.  We put these seeds onto this ground with hope and excitement of bright future. All the plants, flowers and trees are metaphor of ourself who wants to learn to grow beautiful and strong, and become a part of this world. Kennesaw Mountain is on our back, where we learn and grow big. [An] owl is watching and guiding us to be a part of his wisdom. Buildings represent … the nutritious KSU ground [where] we learn, grow and eventually transform like a beautiful butterfly."

 Ryan Benefield, a third-place winner wrote: “With my piece, “A Change in Winds,” I decided to take a different perspective on the theme. Instead of doing the stereotypical ideas that come upon hearing the word diversity, I decided to base my painting on the definition of the word itself.  ‘A Change in Winds’ is showing the diversification of energy and how we as people are trying to help perform damage control for what we have done to nature. … In the past we [solely] relied on one source of energy and now we are welcoming different forms of energy into our lives to make this world a better place.”

Mandy Holasek also received a third place award with “Be Yourself.” “My piece was about the differences between populations as a whole, by their appearances, and facial expressions,” she explained. “The media I used also contributed to the overall theme because every piece of wood is unique and impossible to replicate.”


-- Sabbaye McGriff



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit