Photojournalism Senior Wins Grand Prize in MU Arts Competition

Tim Tai Receives $3,000 Award in the Undergraduate Visual and Art Design Showcase

By Kiara Ealy

Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 8, 2016) — Missouri School of Journalism senior Timothy Tai won the grand prize winner in the inaugural Undergraduate Visual and Art Design Showcase, which ran Jan. 25-29 at the University of Missouri.

Protests Erupt After Police Shoot Teen In St. Louis
Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson, in charge of crowd control, watches a demonstration on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.

The showcase brought forth the talents of students in the art, theatre, textile and apparel management, architectural studies, digital storytelling and journalism.

“The idea was to create a new venue to recognize and celebrate the exceptional work in the areas of visual art and design that are taking place on our campus and bring attention to the arts here at Mizzou,” said Joshua Murray, communications associate of the MU Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Timothy Tai
Timothy Tai

Tai won the award in applied design for his work “Ferguson’s Son,” a series of photos that recorded the reactions and protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in August 2014.

“My goal was twofold: to create a visual record of a major social conflict, and to produce images that would evoke an emotional response, whatever it may be, from the photos’ audience,” Tai said about the project.

Tai’s $3,000 award is designated for professional development. Winners will use the funds to enhance their educational and professional experience in visual art and design, according to the MU Undergraduate Research website.

Tai wants those who view his series of photographs to understand the true magnitude of the events that unfolded in Ferguson.

“As a journalist, it was both exciting and challenging to photograph amid such a tumultuous period of time,” Tai said. “I hope the audience views the photos with an open mind and is able to feel the variety of emotions – grief, anger, fear, uncertainty – presented in the 8-picture edit.”

Five other journalism students were selected to participate in the Undergraduate Visual Art and Design Showcase. The titles of their projects, hometown and mentor are:
  • “Italy” by Shelby Baseler of Barnhart, Missouri. They are a senior pursuing a dual degree in photojournalism and anthropology. Faculty mentor: David Rees.
  • “Enerkem Campaign” by Emelia Oh of Cincinnati. She is a senior studying strategic communication. Faculty mentor: Frank Corridori.
  • “Promotional Campaign for Metro Link St. Louis” by Mitch Renfrow of St. Louis. He is a senior studying strategic communication. Faculty mentor: Frank Corridori.
  • “Bombay Sapphire Campaign” by GL Richardson of Richmond, Virginia. He is a senior studying strategic communication. Faculty mentor: Frank Corridori.
  • “Virgin Atlantic Website and Mobile Concepts” by Kelly Shunneson of Dallas. She is a senior studying strategic communication. Faculty mentor: Frank Corridori.

Two journalism students were involved in the event’s promotion. Jessica Welsh, a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, Illinois, designed the program. She and and Abigail West, a junior from St. Charles, Missouri, created a variety of collateral materials, including posters, signage, artist plaques and the like.

The Office of Undergraduate Studies, along with co-sponsors Undergraduate Research, Honors College, Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors’ Program and Mizzou Advantage, funded showcase awards.

School of Journalism faculty members Andrea Heiss and Stacey Woelfel served on the planning committee the showcase. Professor David Rees is Tai’s faculty mentor.

Updated: September 15, 2020

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