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Alumni Magazine

To invent, design and build: Engineering students showcase their talents with 2021 Arts NC State Student Art Sale

composite image of three works of art

Engineers are known for their abilities to invent, design and build complex concepts. While usually reserving their skills for machines, data systems and structures, seven engineering students showcased their artistic abilities through the virtual Arts NC State Student Art Sale. The College of Engineering was the second largest participant of the colleges and units at NC State.

“This sale is a great opportunity for student artists to share their work, generate some income, and to develop valuable entrepreneurial skills by learning how to sell their artwork,” said Amy Sawyers-Williams, Arts NC State’s manager of outreach and engagement. “This annual sale lets student artists get their work out and share it with the wider public.”

While the sale has drawn numerous participants across multiple colleges, in recent years, Sawyers-Williams has noticed an increase in STEM students.

“At first it was pleasantly surprising; you would expect drastically more design or humanities students, but now after a few years it just makes sense,” said Sawyers-Williams. “Even though NC State is well known as a STEM institution, many STEM majors are not only creative, but very talented artists.”

Engineering students who participated in the sale are: Olivia Allen, a sophomore engineering major; Lauren Bartek, a senior civil engineering major; Luke Hinshaw, a senior civil engineering major; Shilpa Kancharla, a graduate student in computer science; Jimmy Lewis, a senior environmental engineering major; Mehrzad Mehrabipour, a graduate student in civil engineering; and Nicole Worth, a senior computer science major.

Kancharla, who was awarded two honorable mentions for her work, found oil painting to be an outlet that enabled her to be more successful within the world of engineering.

Shilpa Kancharla received an honorable mention for her piece, “Back Study.”

“I found that as I took breaks from my engineering work to work on paintings, I would somehow come back to my technical work with new perspectives and be able to solve problems,” said Kancharla. “I was able to break down my engineering problems piece by piece, and appreciate each aspect of it.”

Hinshaw appreciates wood burning, or pyrography, as an outlet that allows him to be simultaneously creative and productive.

Luke Hinshaw created “Pearl the Squirrel” using pyrography on cedar.

“Pyrography takes a lot of focus when doing the fine details, which helps clear my mind while I’m producing the artwork. Bringing out the beauty of a piece of wood and incorporating knots or grain patterns into the work has been one of my favorite parts of wood burning.”

“Flora,” made with ink pen and colored pencil, by Olivia Allen.

Student work can be found and purchased through the student art gallery: