WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 24, 2022 — It’s not often that a student in rural West Virginia attracts the attention of West Hollywood, but that’s exactly what West Liberty University student Kaija Sydlowski did this summer.
“I am so proud of Kaija. She earned first place in the poster design competition held for the annual WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, one of the most significant LGBTQ events in the U.S.,” explained her professor, Moonjung Kang, who has taught at WLU since 2009.
Sydlowski is a junior this fall and is a graphic design major from Ann Arbor, Mich. She is the daughter of Diana and Michael Sydlowski and also is a student-athlete and member of the Hilltopper Volleyball team.
“We worked on the project last fall (2021), in the ART 388 Advanced Computer Graphics class. The festival itself took place for 40 days and began on May 22, 2022,” Kang said. “The organization voted unanimously for Kaija’s work as the year’s poster. In addition, they liked Kaija’s design so much that they asked her to create additional promotional material; banners, signboards, and more. Kaija also received $1,100 as a prize.”
The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival theme for 2022 was “With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion and Progress for All.” According to the festival’s press release announcing Sydlowski’s win, the open call poster competition resulted in submissions from around the world.
“It was a very cool experience to have my artwork shown at this amazing festival! Professor Kang has helped me a lot to elevate my skills and I am very excited now to be able to add this to my portfolio. I am also very excited see what my future holds in the graphic design industry!” Sydlowski said.
“I always like working on the competition project with students because it gives them the maximized real-world learning experience in a short time. We produced many winners in various national and international design competitions. Winning or being selected from the competition is a potent tool for students to enhance their portfolios, often leading them to better career opportunities,” Kang concluded.
Kang’s ART 388 Advanced Computer Graphics is one of the courses that WLU’s graphic design students leverage to achieve winning results from competitions often.
The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival is well-known and includes participation by celebrities like Cardi B and JoJo Siwa. It is funded by the City’s Arts Grant Program. To view its webpage, please click here. https://pride.weho.org