Leyla Nora Puskar, a junior art + design education major from Sycamore, is the winner of the NIU President Doug Baker’s 2015 Holiday Card Contest.
Puskar hand-painted her design, called “The Gift of NIU,” in acrylic paint and edited it with PicsArt digital media. She wanted to keep her design simple and playful to excite the childlike charm and memories of the holidays.
“Art has always been part of my life,” said Puskar, who plans to focus on her handcrafted longboard business and on her art after she graduates. “I pursue it each day with prowess and vigor. It is my vocation, my devotional practice and lifelong commitment.”
Baker annually invites NIU students to showcase their incredible talent by submitting original artwork for the official – and joyous – university holiday card.
The card will be emailed to students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees and other friends of the university. Puskar receives $500 for her first-place entry. The NIU Foundation will print and mail the winning card to President’s Circle-level donors.
Senior photography major and Marian Catholic High graduate Amy Fleming, who hails from Frankfort, Ill., wanted to capture students coming together and doing something fun on a snow day when campus had closed.
Mush to Greatness (third place, $300)
Junior communication/media studies major Shannon Rae Jordan created her design digitally. Jordan is a Morton West High School graduate from Stickney, Ill., who wishes to pursue illustration, screenwriting and web design.
Her art combines the theme of the working sled dog with NIU students working toward greatness. “Tutors, TAs and even many professors at NIU are alumni of the university,” Jordan says, “and it really shows the ambition there is to lead the next generation to graduation.”
White Christmas (honorable mention, $100)
Junior time arts major and computer science minor Kristina Elmore is from Kirkland, Ill,, and a graduate of Hiawatha High School. A two-time Holiday Card Contest finalist and last year’s winner, Elmore plans to pursue a career in animation.
Because NIU’s Holmes Student Center stands out, even during a hard Midwestern snow, she placed the building in the center of the wreath.