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The Woodsons Receive 2022 Bowers Medal of Arts

The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate a deep and profound commitment to the value of the arts at NC State.

Randy and Susan Woodson with the director of Arts NC State and chair of the FANS Board
(From left) Dan Cook, chair of the Friends of Arts NC State Board; Susan Woodson; Randy Woodson, Chancellor of NC State; and Rich Holly, associate dean of University College and executive director for the arts.

On Nov. 28, Arts NC State presented the 2022 Bowers Medal of Arts to Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife, Susan, during a ceremony in Thompson Hall. Award recipients demonstrate a deep and profound commitment to the value of the arts at NC State by practicing many of the same virtues of vision, service, integrity, tenacity, and a commitment to excellence that have been consistently modeled by its namesake, Henry Bowers.

“Our Friends of Arts NC State (FANS) Board of Advisors seeks nominations each year for potential recipients of the Bowers Medal of Arts,” said Dan Cook, FANS Board of Advisors chair. “This year, the Woodsons were nominated because they have been integral to promoting and including the arts throughout their time at NC State, and they are avid donors and supporters in other ways, as well. Our FANS Board nominating committee brought the nomination to the full board, and pretty much immediately we had a unanimous vote with no discussion to award the Bowers Medal to both Randy and Susan.”

Since becoming NC State’s chancellor in April 2010, Randy Woodson has been a staunch advocate for the arts and humanities at the university. He has supported the arts on campus by featuring NC State students on numerous occasions at major events such as Red and White Night and the Alumni Awards Ceremony. He and his office frequently call upon the Department of Music’s jazz students to perform at events large and small, and the chancellor’s office recently held a team-building event at the Crafts Center. Chancellor Woodson is also a talented and dedicated guitarist in several genres, and never fails to wow students when he joins headliners like American Aquarium at Packapalooza. 

Chancellor Woodson plays with American Aquarium at Packapalooza, 2022.
Chancellor Woodson plays with American Aquarium at Packapalooza, 2022.

Susan Woodson is a leader in the Raleigh fine arts community. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, she went back to her first artistic love, painting, after retiring from her 30-year career in graphic design. Susan particularly enjoys the spontaneous immersive process of creating her paintings, rather than focusing on producing a specific or predictable end result. Many of her works feature collage, and she is known for her fun and imaginative pictures of birds, originally inspired by wildlife observed during her travels in Africa. Her works grace many locations and homes throughout the Triangle, including a commissioned piece titled Gateway to Change, which hangs in the NC State GLBT Center inside Talley Student Union. 

A long-time and well-respected member of the Friends of the Gregg advisory board, Susan’s ideas and leadership have helped the Gregg Museum of Art & Design attain new and much-deserved stature not only in the Triangle, but nationally as well. She is in the process of raising funds to bring a world-class public art piece to Centennial Campus. In addition to being a member of 5 Points Gallery, Susan founded Roundabout Art Collective and was a member of Moondog Fine Arts.

“One of the best parts of my job is that I get to interact with both Randy and Susan on a fairly regular basis, and not only have they been tremendous supporters of the arts, but are also significant ‘idea’ people who can also get things done,” said Rich Holly, associate dean of University College and executive director for the arts. “Among any number of items I could cite, I’m particularly excited about bringing public art to Centennial Campus, the first of which will be installed in fall 2023, and the collection will keep growing from there. Their dedication to promoting the arts and get-it-done attitude is a true testament to our Think and Do mantra.”

The Bowers Medal of Arts was established in 2000 to recognize and celebrate the vital role that Henry Bowers played in the development of and support for the visual and performing arts at NC State University. As associate vice chancellor for student affairs, Bowers committed himself to the goal of making the arts an inseparable part of the educational experience for all NC State students. He worked ceaselessly to create opportunities for students to have access to a full range of the arts, whether as engaged and enlightened audiences or creative and innovative participants.

Recipients of the Bowers Medal of Arts are selected by the Friends of Arts NC State board of advisors. Nominations are based on concerted efforts by an individual, organization or corporation to advance the arts at NC State over a period of time. Nominees may be individuals whose commitment to the arts is broad and deep including artists and performers as well as supporters of the arts within the NC State community.

Creative, Performing and Visual Artist Awards

Also at the ceremony, Arts NC State recognized the winners of its 2021-22 Creative, Performing and Visual Artist Awards. The Student Artist Awards celebrate NC State students from across the university’s colleges who exhibit extraordinary creativity and mastery of their craft. The Creative Artist Award recognizes students who have written, composed or choreographed an outstanding piece of original music, theatre or dance, while the Performing Artist Awards are given to exceptional student performers. Arts program directors and faculty select each year’s winners, who receive cash awards. The Visual Artist Award honors students for outstanding work in the visual arts in the categories of 2D, 3D, and computer-rendered or photography. The artist’s work is selected at the annual Student Art Sale, and the winner receives a cash award. Their piece is displayed prominently in Talley Student Union for the following year. 

The Creative, Performing and Visual Artist Awards are made possible by the NC State University Foundation, the Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf Endowment for Creativity in the Performing Arts, the Roxanne Hicklin Visual Artist Award Endowment, and Arts NC State.

The following students were honored:

Creative Artist Awards

  • Kara Pawlowski (dance)
  • Rachel Morris (dance)
  • Anika Anandpura (music)
  • Gaven Bell (theatre)

Performing Artist Awards

  • Evanna Edward (dance)
  • LilyGrace Wolfe (dance)
  • Francesca Balestrieri (music)
  • Samer Issa (music)
  • Hrishikesh Ram (music)
  • Gracelyn Kitchings (theatre)

Visual Artist Awards

  • Olivia Allen (2D art)
  • Sarah Waugh (photography)
  • Jimmy Lewis (3D art)