April 24, 2020

04/24/20 Update: Due to the Coronavirus, ArtFields announced that they have canceled the in-person Artfields 2020 celebration. Instead, they are sharing the 2020 artists’ submissions virtually on their website. You can see the work from this year’s artists including quite a few of our own students and alumni! For more information, visit: https://www.artfieldssc.org/

Six alumni, three current students and one faculty member from the School of Visual Arts and Design are finalists for the 2020 ArtFields competition. The eight candidates are in the running for a variety of awards totaling over $145,000 in prize money during the April 24-May 2, 2020 art competition and festival in Lake City, South Carolina. Accepted artists are invited to exhibit their work in one of the historic downtown Lake City venues for nine days. Venues include everything from a former mercantile to an historic barbershop, focusing on the beauty in nontraditional settings. Winners are determined by popular choice and juried panel.

Touted as “the South’s Most Engaging Art Competition and Festival,” ArtFields started in 2013 with a simple goal: honor the artists of the Southeast with a week’s worth of celebration and competition in the heart of a traditional Southern small town. The competition and exhibition offers over $145,000 in cash prizes. The winners of two People’s Choice Awards are determined by the votes of people visiting ArtFields; a panel of art professionals selects all the other awards, including the $50,000 Grand Prize and $25,000 Second Place award.

The jury of art professionals determining the 400 pieces exhibited throughout the town include Erika Hirugami who recently curated Coalesce at the UCF Art Gallery. The works of art will be on display in locally-owned venues, from renovated 1920s warehouses and professional art spaces such as Jones-Carter Gallery and TRAX Visual Art Center to the library, the history museum, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center, restaurants, boutiques and other shops to transform the town into a “living art gallery.” During the nine-day exhibition, a new group of jurors will survey the 400 artworks and announce the winners of each prize during a finale event on May 2.

Good luck to all our UCF colleagues involved!

Zoraye Cyrus ’19BFA
Zoraye Cyrus received her BFA in Studio Art from UCF. She utilizes different variants of charcoal to investigate her own concepts of blackness based on a southern upbringing and relating personal experiences to overarching struggles within the African American and Afro Caribbean community. She is the winner of the 2019 Women of the Arts award, and while at UCF, Cyrus received a multitude of awards, including one of three students to receive UCF’s J.R. Hopes Art Scholarship. She has exhibited at multiple gallery spaces throughout central Florida and was part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibit Allegoria in Fall 2019.

Na’ah Moriel Gordon, current BFA student
Na’ah Moriel Gordon received her A.A. in Studio Arts from Valencia College. She graduated from Jones High School in Orlando, Florida. Her work explores her religious journey through nostalgic imagery, and she is using appliquéd fabric and thread to communicate her thoughts. Gordon’s work has been displayed in Valencia College’s Phoenix Magazine, The Winter Park Art Festival, and Maitland Art Festival. She was the recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Visual Arts Scholarship for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. Gordon is living in Orlando, Florida. She works as a lab assistant at Valencia’s West Campus Art Studio. She is currently attending UCF and is in the process of obtaining her BFA in Studio Arts. Her anticipated graduation is spring of 2020.

Sara Marjorie Johnston ’19BFA
Sara Marjorie Johnston was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1995. She moved to Fort Myers, Florida with her mother at the age of seven. Johnston specializes in figurative painting, depicting interpersonal relationships. She is currently based in Orlando, and recently graduated from UCF with her Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in painting. Johnston was part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibit Allegoria in Fall 2019.

Shannon Lindsey, UCF Art Gallery director and studio art lecturer
Shannon Lindsey received her MFA in Studio Art from the University of South Carolina and her BFA in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida. She has participated in numerous exhibitions as an interdisciplinary artist exploring drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation with unconventional art materials and processes. Lindsey is the UCF Art Gallery Director and teaches undergraduate and graduate studio art courses at the University of Central Florida. She was part of the UCF Art Gallery faculty exhibitions in 2018 and 2019.

Theresa Lucey ’19MFA, visiting studio art lecturer
Theresa Lucey is a fine artist working in Orlando, Florida. Her primary practice is the creation of original paintings in the genre of figurative realism. Along with her pedagogical interests, she is pursuing a career as a full-time painter and draftswoman. She is also a current visiting lecturer. Lucey was part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibit was Domestic Imports in Spring 2019. Lucey’s work is currently on display in the Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia College through March 6.

Mär Martinez, current BFA student
Mär Martinez is an internationally exhibiting interdisciplinary artist specializing in sculptural painting. Her work dissects dominance, aggression and power dynamics through the lens of a culturally-enforced binary system. She is pursuing a BFA in Painting and Art History at the University of Central Florida. Selected Awards include: FusionFest Best in Show Award, Order of Pegasus Nominee, Katherine K. & Jacob Holzer Art Scholarship, Frank Lloyd Wright Scholar Recipient, and the Miniature Fine Arts Society Award. Selected Exhibitions include: Feminine/ Masculine, Hungary, 2020 College Invitational, Indiana, Artfields 2020, South Carolina, Chasing Shadows, Orlando, 29th Annual All-Florida Juried Arts Show, Stuart, Figure it Out!, Georgia, Celebrating Hispanic Artists & Culture Juried Art Show, Kissimmee, National Endowment for the Arts Station Eleven Art Exhibition, Orlando and Signal Flo, Gainesville. She can be reached at marmartinezart.com or @meatvoid on Instagram.

Yexilenys Rodriguez ’19BFA
Born in Chiriquí Province of Panama, Yexilenys Judith Rodriguez graduated from UCF with a major in Studio Art and emphasis in art photography. In 2018, one of her pieces was presented at ISO 108 art show at University of Central Florida. Presenting her latest piece, I Am Kuna she was awarded for her achievements in printmaking and visual arts. Yexilenys continues to expand her expertise by pursuing a variety of artistic mediums through her studies at UCF. Upcoming events include Soft Lightning Studio Volume.1 Urbanxindigenous Art Gallery in California. “Growing up it was very common to marginar (reject) indigenes group and make fun of. Through this installation I want to share my inner indigenes to celebrate my culture.”

Anamaria Romero Acosta ’19BFA
Anamaria Romero Acosta was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She has participated in various exhibitions including the juried AIOP Performance Art Festival in Orlando. She is a multimedia artist working in interactive installations, video, and performance. Her art aims to break the boundaries of oppressive societal norms. She believes that through the practice of more conscious behaviors we can change the course of our internal, societal, and ecological realities. Her practice questions and pushes the role of art and the artist, believing that art should reverberate beyond the walls of the gallery. She currently lives and works in Orlando, Florida. Acosta was part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibit Allegoria in Fall 2019. Acosta recently achieved her BFA in Studio Art in Fall 2019.

Ericka Sobrack ’19MFA
Ericka Sobrack was born and raised in a small mid-western town in Minnesota. She specializes in small and large-scale paintings portraying suburban domestic scenes of America in both acrylic and oil paint. Sobrack has participated in local and national juried exhibitions. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida and graduated in 2019 with a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Central Florida. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Maitland Art & History Museums. Sobrack was part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibit was Domestic Imports in Spring 2019.

Jacob Wan ’17BFA, current MFA student
Jacob Wan currently is an MFA student at UCF, where he received his BFA in Studio Art. As a contemporary bookbinder, he creates conceptual books to explore sexuality, cultural influence, and introspection through experimenting the materiality of the cover, page, and thread. His work celebrates solitude and the importance of oneself. Wan currently resides in Orlando and his upcoming exhibition Party for One. will open February 27 in the UCF Art Gallery.


Last year, SVAD alumnus Forrest Lawson ’18 won the ArtFields grand prize. Read the full story on UCF Today: UCF Grad’s Pulse-inspired Art Earns Top Honors at Competition