Spring Show 2017: A Big Surprise for JEM Award Winners

SS17 Award Winners Faculty.jpg

JEM Spring Show Award winners and faculty. Photo courtesy of Justin Atangan.

This year marked a first for the School of Jewelry & Metal Arts’ annual Spring Show Awards. Held on Tuesday, May 16, students and faculty eagerly gathered in the 410 Bush conference room for an intimate ceremony.

Unbeknownst to the students, the department had a special surprise up its sleeve to honor the exceptional work of the winners. Faculty, along with JEM Club officers, had been invited months prior to participate in creating one-of-a-kind trophies that best represented the techniques taught in their respective classes. Covering the scope of JEM’s curriculum, these techniques ranged from wax working to casting and laser cutting to enameling.

Director Charlene Modena hosted the ceremony, drawing great anticipation as she announced the winners in each category and revealed the talented artists behind the trophies. “Take note of the patin!” Modena exclaimed when commenting on the exemplary work done by the instructors. The room erupted in laughter as everyone attentively nodded in agreement. Shock and excitement overcame the faces of the winning students as they walked up to receive their awards, while faculty proudly stood by offering warm words of encouragement.

“When I was asked to make two awards for the 2017 Spring Show, one for M.F.A. and one for B.F.A., I was eager as a metalworker for the possibilities of creating something new and unique,” instructor David Casella reflected. “But what I was most excited about with my awards is that I was able to give a piece of myself to a student who showed great skills and admiration from their peers, and who are just starting out in the rich and exciting world of jewelry and metal working.”

Recent graduate Ziqin “Marsh” Min was among the two recipients of Casella’s trophies. Newly inspired and motivated, Min shared, “I got first place for B.F.A. in the Spring Show 2017. It [gave] me more and more confidence because this award [brought a] positive force during [my university career and even for] the future.”


First Place B.F.A. trophy by David Casella. Photo courtesy of Patty Nelson.


Faculty Choice trophy by Killean Evans. Photo courtesy of Patty Nelson.


Second Place M.F.A. trophy by Online Coordinator Karen Chesna. Photo courtesy of Patty Nelson.


Director’s Choice B.F.A. & M.F.A. trophies by Director Charlene Modena. Photo courtesy of Patty Nelson.


Second Place B.F.A./M.A. & M.F.A. trophies by David Sekoll. Photo courtesy of Patty Nelson.

As the ceremony was held on site during the week, only a few had missed the celebration, including online student Korrine Lewis. “As an online student, sometimes you can feel disconnected,” Lewis disclosed. “The entire Spring Show experience was a perfect way to get involved in [the Academy].” While most remote students ship their submissions to the department, Lewis made the journey up from the greater Los Angeles area to personally deliver her delicate, nature-inspired pieces. The road trip proved to be a rewarding adventure as she was named one of the runners-up under the B.F.A./M.A. category, earning herself a vessel-shaped trophy crafted by instructor David Sekoll, who skillfully demonstrated his expertise using the lathe and mill.

“Fortunately, I live in California and was able to attend the opening night of the Spring Show,” Lewis continued. “I was amazed at how large the show was and overwhelmed that I was able to be part of it. … I am also appreciative that I was able to meet instructors from the department and fellow peers. Receiving my certificate and trophy was another highlight. Seeing these items displayed in my house reminds me each day of how far I’ve come and the excitement of what’s to come.”

In addition to the trophies, winners took home personalized grab bags comprised of gemstones, framed certificates, gift codes courtesy of Otto Frei, and art books courtesy of Alexander Book Company. The 2017 JEM Spring Show Awards certainly was an exciting end to a successful semester.

The full list of award-winning students and additional photos can be found on the JEM blog at