SMC’s Student Art Show returns

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College’s annual student art exhibition returned for the first time since 2019 April 18 with an awards ceremony in the Art Gallery of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

COVID-19 canceled art shows beginning in 2020, so the reopening of the Art Gallery, under the leadership of Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Sam Walker, resurrected some familiar elements, such as the Terry Pfliger Toaster Award and the Mina, while christening it with a SASSy new name — Student Art Show at Southwestern.


  • 1st Place – Nicholas Patterson
  • Mina Award – Nate Turbyfill
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Cavina Marquez

Graphic Design

  • 1st Place – Elena Barkman
  • Mina Award – Haily Shadix
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Julius Vinall

Mixed Media

  • 1st Place – Evan Brown
  • Mina Award – Ciara Taff
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Elena Barkman


  • 1st Place – Eylul Antisdel
  • Mina Award – Nikola Mccllen
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Maria Long


  • 1st Place – Haily Shadix
  • Mina Award – Owen Cooper
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Caylie Dibble

3D Work

  • 1st Place – William Lafleur
  • MINA Award – Eylul Antisdel
  • Judge’s Merit Award – Marissa Jones

Recipient of the Presidential Choice Award – Nicholas Patterson

Recipient of the Terry Pfliger Toaster Award – Nate Turbyfill

Recipient of the Peer Award by popular vote – Olivia Converse

The Mina is named for Mina Kay Pouyamehr, 23, killed in a Dec. 1, 1989, crash in Tipton County, Ind. She graduated from Elkhart Memorial High School in 1984. She was born Jan. 6, 1966, in Independence, Kan., and lived in Dowagiac at the time of her death.

Provost Dr. David Fleming revived the toaster presented by the apocryphal Pfliger Foundation for the Arts.

Fleming slipped on a wig to recreate his alter ego, Marcelle.

Pfliger, an art professor emeritus who retired in 2015, died June 9, 2016, at 68. At the time of his death he lived in Bridgman.

A well-respected artist in Canada, from 1973-95 he led the art department at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario.

A Canadian council chose his work for a 2012-13 traveling exhibit of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.

A mischievous man who took humor seriously, the only child in 1999 introduced SMC to his fake foundation run by invented siblings, twin brother David and younger sister Marlene.

Many pieces are whimsical historical fiction, taking real events and altering them to toy with the viewer by almost being believable.

Early TV quiz shows inspired the odd prize, but “it is a serious appreciation of the student’s work with a personal touch that edges beyond a judge’s considerations and becomes ‘The art was selected because it would look good on our wall.’ ”