Photos by Bara’ah Jaraiseh + Nick Bridges
3… 2… 1… Lift off! You can now see Pensacola State College’s graphic design students exhibition “50th Anniversary of the First Step” at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
The works of the nine Marjan Mazza Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Management, Graphic Design Management Concentration students will be displayed in the museum until January 2020. The exhibition is the final body of work for the graduating students and pays homage to the Apollo 11 mission, the crew and Neil Armstrong’s 1969 first step on the surface of the moon.
“The exhibition exemplifies the creative interpretation of the moon landing through color, fabrication, typography, photography and graphic design,” PSC’s Graphic Design Exhibition Coordinator Mark Hopkins said.
Each year, the museum gives out three awards to the graduating students: Most Creative, Director’s Choice and Best in Show. The director of the museum retired Navy Capt. Sterling Gilliam announced the recipients of the awards. Karli Kimmons received the Most Creative award; Devin Bonner received the Director’s Choice award; Lam Nguyen received the Best in Show award.
The exhibition – themed differently each year ─ is an annual project. Graduating Pensacola State students have exhibited their artwork at the museum since 2014, explained Hopkins, a veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and the Naval Aviation Museum’s former art director. Hopkins said that this exhibition also benefits veterans.
“It impacts the military because this is the students’ giving back to the people who served, and in some cases, their family members, or they themselves, have had some connection with the military,” Hopkins said.
The students’ displays covered a wide range of approaches to the theme. One display was of Margaret Hamilton, the lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, standing next to a stack of the handwritten codes she wrote to get the Apollo to the moon. There were also displays about the food the astronauts eat while in space, the evolution of the space suit and the purposes of each part of the space suit, to name a few.
Nguyen, the Best in Show recipient, did his display on the evolution of the space suit.
“I actually got inspired to create the evolution of the space suit because of a cartoon show I watched as a child. It’s called Dexter’s Laboratory. It was really exciting to be able to approach this project from that mindset,” Nguyen said.
Once Nguyen graduates, he plans to start his career as a graphic designer at the Lamar Advertising Company.
Hopkins expressed how important the opportunity to showcase these artists’ work in this museum is to their careers.
“The motivation behind this exhibition was to get more exposure to our graduating seniors,” Hopkins said. “The first two shows we did were held downtown. So, the only time someone saw their work was the opening day. This museum is the 12th most visited museum in the country, so I can’t give them anymore exposure other than this.”
Nguyen also said how beneficial this exposure is for artists like him.
“I’m so appreciative of getting the experience of working at a museum and of Mark, our professor, for giving us the opportunity and Dr. Macon the opportunity,” Nguyen said. “Being able to present my art at such a large scale is just awesome. It’s great exposure.”
You can experience the exhibition for yourself daily from 9 am -5 pm at the museum located at 1750 Radford Blvd, Pensacola. To access the museum, the general public must enter at the NAS Pensacola Back Gate at 1878 S. Blue Angel Parkway. Admission is free.
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