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DAVID CITY – Ciarra Howell, sophomore communications and English major at Central Community College, received first place for one of her artwork pieces during the college's 48th Annual Fine Arts Festival held April 27-29.

“It has always been a big passion,” Howell said. “I’ve always heard mixed things about following your passion and following bigger things and I’ve wanted to make my passion a part of what I do. That’s the biggest reason on why I decided to pursue art.”

The festival showcased the creative work of the college's art, music and theater students. On Sunday, April 29, the gallery was opened to the public to view different works of art such as ceramic sculptures, graphic art, and paintings. The different pieces were also up for sale with prices ranging from $20 to $100, depending on hours of labor and materials used.

A judge analyzed each piece for the Best of Show Award, as well as giving ribbons for first, second and third places in specific media.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking because you never how you’re going to be placed until after they’ve gone through and judged everyone,” Howell said. “But it’s also nice too because as an artist, your biggest friend is gaining exposure for your artwork.”

Howell, who is originally from David City, submitted six pieces for the festival and her “Growth by Gases” painting received first-place recognition.

“It pays off because this whole semester is a big process into this finale and then for graduation,” she said. “So it’s a payoff. It’s rewarding.”

In addition to the placement, her painting, photography and poetry were featured in the 2018 Hillside Review, a magazine that highlights students’ artwork and writing. The magazine publishes different types of writing, short stories and poetrt each year.

“It’s nice to be a part of that contribution toward a collection of artwork and pieces,” she said.

After submitting her work for the magazine, she worked closely with a team of editors to put together the pages.

Howell’s majors emphasize photography, art, writing, designing and advertising. This was her second time being featured on the Hilltop Review and participating in the event. Her art piece was featured on the magazine’s cover in the earlier edition.

Howell is happy that she is able to continue pursuing her passion for art at college while meeting new people in the process. After completing her associate’s degree, she plans to enroll in Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design located in Colorado for a bachelor’s degree in game art. She aspires to be an animator or a concept artist in the future.

“After college, I plan to expand on that and experiment with more techniques,” she said.

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