Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

MU Art Students Bring Home Unexpected Victory

Competition created a real sense of comradery.

A Millersville University (MU) team consisting of students Gabriella Minnich, Sara McLoone and Megan Jones, and faculty sponsor Nancy Mata, did not walk into the First Collegiate Print Competition expecting to win. In fact, winning wasn’t even on their radar.

“My greatest hope going into the competition was to enjoy my time collaborating with friends and to end with a nice enough print to hang in our computer lab,” remembers Minnich, a senior design student.

“I had no expectations other than to go home with one successful print,” adds McLoone, an art education major and the only member of the MU team with previous collegiate print making experience.

Even so, McLoon’s experience complemented the digital skills of design majors Minnich and Jones to make a winning combination. The team worked together to draw, design, prepare and print their project, a cardboard relief print which read GRL PWR, to stand for “Girl Power,” and included floral accents around the text.

After the Millersville representatives completed the printing aspect of the process at the competition, Jim Sherraden, international expert in letterpress printing, judged their finished product. He liked what he saw.

“It was great to hear that he appreciated how clean our print came out and that he liked the message behind our design,” recalls McLoone. “I was proud of our team before his comments, but that really made us feel like accomplished artists.”Print competition1

Impressed by the quality of the print and the overall concept of Millersville’s design, Sherraden chose the Millersville team as the winners of the First Collegiate Print Competition.

“We just stood there for a second after the announcement was made,” Minnich remembers. “We knew that our design was strong and clean, but winning was just unexpected from the beginning… It is something that I will tell my kids and grandkids someday for sure.”

Jones, who also came into the competition with the intention of having fun, was surprised by the team’s victory because of their size. “We were the smallest team and the only one representing Millersville, as opposed to schools like Kutztown University with three teams of five to six people each,” she explains.

“I was thrilled we won because we were the only all-girl team,” adds McLoone. “I think winning made our print’s message mean something even more to us as women and everyone who watched us print at the Letterpress Fair.”

At the Letterpress Fair, which included the First Collegiate Print Competition, the MU team competed against regional schools such as Kutztown University, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, West Chester University, Harrisburg Community College and Susquehanna University.

While graduation will prevent Minnich, McLoone and Jones from participating in the competition next year, they urge interested students to do so.

“Attending and participating in events like this offer up so many benefits for us from meeting new people to learning valuable skills and lessons to sometimes even being able to add more building blocks to strengthen our resumes,” Minnich says. “What I love about Millersville, at least in the design department, is that if you are a hard-working, dedicated and talented student, doors will open.”

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