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/ Exhibitions / 35th Rosen Sculpture Competition and Exhibition

35th Rosen Sculpture Competition and Exhibition

May 15, 2021 – May 11, 2022(This exhibition has passed.)

Outdoor campus

The Rosen Competition Turns 35!

A legacy of artistic excellence

The Rosen Sculpture Competition and Exhibition is a national juried competition presented annually by An Appalachian Summer Festival and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Since its establishment by Martin and Doris Rosen in 1987, the Rosen Competition continues a tradition of showcasing contemporary American sculpture in outdoor settings across the beautiful campus of Appalachian State University.

Celebrating its milestone 35th anniversary in the summer of 2021, the competition has become firmly established as a cultural treasure and a significant point of pride for Appalachian State University and our entire region. The competition has garnered national praise for the free access to the “best of the best” in contemporary sculpture it offers for countless residents and visitors across North Carolina and beyond.

The Rosen Family proudly continues the legacy of Martin and Doris by generously supporting this important program dedicated to sharing the power and joy of public art, creating a fascinating glimpse into the world of contemporary sculpture, and building new audiences for the visual arts.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Martin & Doris Rosen Giving Fund/Debbie Rosen Davidson and David Rosen and the Charles & Nancy Rosenblatt Foundation.

Joan Benefiel, Hoodoos: Awarded 1st Place in the 35th Rosen Sculpture Competition

Joan Benefiel, Hoodoos: Awarded 1st Place in the 35th Rosen Sculpture Competition


The Dance, 2018

Wayne Vaughn
Graham, NC

Painted steel, patina steel
7.5’ x 4’ x 4’

Artist statement

Nature and industry inspire my work. I strive to bring animation, balance and intrigue to my work, playing with gravity, but keeping trust between the piece and its landscape. My hope is that my work invites the viewer to play, question, and respond. It is a great honor to have my work recognized. I love to bring animation to cold hard steel. My greatest satisfaction is bringing a smile, inciting a conversation or inspiring a new creation.

About the artist

Wayne Vaughn is a builder, musician and sculptor. As an apprentice to a master carpenter, Vaughn enjoyed a successful building career that spanned four decades. Music plays an important part in his life as founding member of the 30-year-old Triangle Brass Band. Rooted in this combination of physical skill and know-how, dedication, and creative pursuit, his career as sculptor was fostered. Very quickly his bold, geometric, large-scale works began winning awards and the attention of regional and national shows.

For more information, visit

The Dance

Teeter Tower, 2019

Matt Amante
Winterville, NC

Painted steel
8’ x 1’ x 1’

Artist statement

Life gets busy sometimes. Between teaching, making display and now being a dad, life is going fast!

About the artist

Matt Amante is a maker and Art Professor in Eastern North Carolina. Much of his work develops into series and nature has been a recurring motivation and theme for him.

For more information, visit

Teeter Tower

Steampunk Babylon, 2020

Charles Pilkey
Mint Hill, NC

Rusted steel, bronze
Ht. 10’

2nd Place Rosen Winner

Artist statement

The sculptor – a beachcomber wandering the boundless shore of the world, collects unusual wave-washed shapes and assembles them into artworks. The shore is the edge of the unconscious and the wave-washed shapes are the flotsam and jetsam of world culture, tossed up by the tides of time. It’s humbling to consider how ancient the lineage of sculpture is; by some reckoning, it goes back tens of thousands of years. Certain issues – love, birth, death – have always been of interest to the sculptor. Other issues have changed with the advance of technology. But the technical and formal concerns of Phidias, Unkei, Michelangelo and other masters of form, are much the same for the contemporary artist. And like them, we too want to give free flight to private visions, even while feeling the cold chain of morality tugging at our throats. I’ve been influenced by everyone and no one; my allegiance is to the individualistic visionaries of the past – Bosch, Sesshu and others – more than to any contemporary movement. I am at home everywhere and nowhere. My technique is no technique. My style is none; the works flow from hands like dreams. I worship in equal measure the creative power of the human mind and the vast capacity for love in the human heart. At night, I look up at the stars and wonder…

About the artist

Charles Pilkey has shown his sculpture, participated in competitions and received numerous awards in Tennessee, Kansas, Colorado Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Turkey and Italy.

For more information, visit

Steampunk Babylon

Remembering Giotto, 2018

Glenn Zweygardt
Alfred Station, NY

Painted steel, powder-coated steel, stainless steel, bronze
9.7’ x 5.3’ x 2.5’

Artist statement

“Finding one’s place in a relationship with nature is the theme of my sculpture. While working with materials such as metal and stone, a relationship between nature and myself is formed. I want to tell stories and comment on my collective life experience and my perception of a collective consciousness. Hopefully, these ideas and expressions will enter into human consciousness and the fourth dimension.”

About the artist

Kansas born, Zweygardt earned the BFA degree from Wichita State in 1967. He received the MFA from the Maryland Institute of Art in 1969 and is an emeritus Professor of Sculpture at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Zweygardt works independently in his workshop in Alfred Station, New York. Here his work continues to evolve-varied shapes and rich surfaces, transparent and dense forms, concept and technical relationships, personal and collective perceptions-into fine art of eminent legacy.

Zweygardt’s mastery of the building process along with his ability to create enormous works of art from materials of tremendous mass has gained him international recognition and membership to the Berman Group, a cooperative of sculptors whose collective work spans virtually the entire spectrum of possibilities of “traditional” modernist sculpture. Duplication and relationship are a recurring theme found throughout Zweygardt’s work. A carefully chosen stone, cast and duplicated in bronze, aluminum or steel becomes the basis of definite architectural themes that manifest in a range of sizes.

For more information, visit

Remembering Giotto

Phoenix, 2020

Rudy Rudisill
Gastonia, NC

Steel, copper, paint
8.6’ x 1.4” x 1.4’

Artist statement

Inspired by mythology and legend. Filtered through personal experience and a love of color, my current series of freestanding figurative sculpture is called “Painted Ladies.”

About the artist

A native of Gaston County, North Carolina, Rudisill has been a working metalsmith for over 40 years. His sculpture has been exhibited and won awards in the US and abroad, including: the Outstanding Prize in the Yuzi International Sculpture Awards, Yuzi International Art Center, Guilin, China; First Place in the 26th Rosen Sculpture Exhibition at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC; and Best in Show in The Sculpture Salmagundi XVI, Rocky Mount, NC. He has completed several public art commissions, including designing the buildings for the Mallard Creek Park and Ride lot for CATS in Charlotte, NC. His work can be found in public, corporate, and private collections on three continents.

For more information, visit


Light Pulse, 2018

Hanna Jubran
Grimesland, NC

Steel, paint
11’ x 3’ x 3’

Artist statement

Hanna Jubran’s work addresses the concepts of time, movement, balance and space. Each sculpture occupies and creates its own reality influenced by its immediate surroundings. The work does not rely on one media to evoke the intended response, but takes advantage of compatible materials such as wood, granite, steel, stainless steel, iron and bronze.

About the artist

Hanna Jubran’s journey as an artist began in his home village of Jish, in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee dividing his time between ceramics, sculpture, and painting and went on to receive his M.F.A. in Sculpture from UW-M as well. Post-graduation, Hanna taught ceramics and sculpture at UW-M and design and sculpture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He is currently a sculpture professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

Jubran regularly participates in international art shows, competitions and symposiums. Some of his most recent projects include: The creation of “A Monument to a Century of Flight” in Kitty Hawk, NC; The International Sculpture Biennale, Chaco, Argentina; The Elements of the Earth Symposium at Pedvale Sculpture Park, Sabile, Latvia; The International Wood Carving Symposium, St. Blasien, Germany; The International Sculpture Symposium in Pirkkala, Finland; Tultepec, Mexico Monumental Sculpture Symposium; The international sculpture symposiums in: Jish, Israel; Ma’llot, Israel; Cayo Largo, Cuba; Granby, Canada; Kemijarvi, Finland; The international Sculpture Symposium and Conference in Europas Parkas, Vilnius, Lithuania and The Toyamura International Sculpture Biennial at Toyamura Japan-where he received the semi-grand prize. Every symposium Jubran participates in, the sculpture created is retained as part of the town or organization’s permanent collection. Hanna is consistent in his pursuit of creating enjoyable sculptures for private and corporate collections.

For more information, visit

Light Pulse

Hoodoos, 2019

Joan Benefiel
Brooklyn, NY

Resin, steel
7.75’ x 2.2’ x 2.4’

1st Place Rosen Winner

Location: Appalachian House

About the artist

Joan Benefiel, born and raised in Wichita, studied art at the University of Kansas and attended the MFA program for figurative sculpture at the New York Academy of Art. Her desire to produce large-scale public art and figurative sculptures inspired her work with bronze. As a technician at a local foundry, she learned the lost wax method of casting before relocating to New York where she joined the Excalibur team. She describes them as “a truly unique and versatile group of talented artists, craftspeople and designers.”

For more information, visit


Scheme, 2012/2020

Tom Scicluna
Miami, FL

Concrete parking bumpers, rebar
5’ x 6’ x 6’

Artist statement

As a practice, Tom Scicluna utilizes readily available materials and processes to create context informed sculptures and architectonic-based installations. Whether specific in geographic, economic or social reference, or more immediate and improvised in outcome and form, the project-based works refer to the situational nature of objects and spaces – associative as well as contradictory – with regards to the given conditions of production and display.

About the artist

Tom Scicluna received his BA in Contemporary Art Practice from the University of Northumbria (UK) and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Miami, FL. Recent shows and projects include: 2019 Atlanta Biennial: A thousand tomorrows, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA;6319 NW 2nd Avenue, Nina Johnson, Miami, FL; Some Aesthetic Decisions: Centennial Celebration of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Climate Sync, a public artwork realized in conjunction with Miami-Dade Art in Public Places and the University of Miami’s School of Communication (installed at Oolite Arts, Miami Beach, FL). A South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists recipient, his work is in the permanent collections of ICA Miami, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Scicluna is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida International University, Miami, FL.

For more information, visit


Unfurling Rising, 2020

David Boyajian
New Fairfield, CT

Oxidized Steel
10’ x 6’ x 4’

3rd Place Rosen Winner

Artist statement

An iconic form is created in the moments when nature deconstructs itself. A seed caught in the wind. The green shoots of a wildflower pushing through the soil. The thrashing of a river after heavy rains. A surge of energy spurs a separation – a great unfolding. It is these naturally sculptural moments that inspire my work.

The physical act of creating sculpture requires a great deal of energy. I create and alter structures until they find balance and become entities unto themselves. This process often begins in drawing, a much more cerebral and immediate medium connecting the hand to the mind. Both sculpture and drawing can find completion in a natural, unadorned state, or a piece may ask for added dynamism and emotion in a layer of bright orange powder-coat or rich scarlet pastels.

The elements of nature are present in all of my work, from personal to private and public commissions. In creating public art, I am one of many authors writing the history of man’s existence, and that of his attempt to rationally construct and give relevance to his emotional, physical, and spiritual connection to the world. This endeavor continually brings me back to the cycle of nature and its poignant synchronicity to human evolution.

About the artist

David Boyajian is an artist, art instructor, and the owner of David Boyajian Sculpture Studio in New Fairfield, Connecticut. In the early 1980s, Boyajian studied at Alfred University, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute Rinehart School of Sculpture. Following his fine art education, Boyajian continued his studies while assisting figurative sculptors Wolfgang Behl, Elbert Weinberg, and Andrew Coppola.

Over the course of his thirty-plus-year career, Boyajian has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including SculptureNow on The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA, Bull City Sculpture Show in Durham, NC, and “Genesis” an outdoor solo show at the Robert Moses Sculpture Garden at Fordham University.”Genesis” received praise from both The New
York Times and Review Magazine. “Boyajian’s buds and seeds rise well above the usual dross,” wrote Grace Glueck of The Times.

Boyajian’s numerous public commissions include “The Weaving Shuttle” and “The Eye of the Needle” at the Mansfield Town Square in Mansfield, CT, “Lift,” a memorial to a former student at the Canterbury School in New Milford, and “Sanctuary” at the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island for the state of Connecticut. His teaching career has spanned over twenty years at institutions such as Western Connecticut State University, Silvermine School of Art, and Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. Boyajian teaches metal, stone, and wood sculpture at his studio at David Boyajian Sculpture Studio.

For more information, visit

Unfurling Rising

Blue Nautilus, 2018

Gretchen Lotz
Orlando, FL

2.4’ x 2.25’ x 2.2’

Rosen Honorable Mention

Location: Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM)
159 Ginny Stevens Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Artist statement

I became a sculptor because I wanted to make the images I saw in my head when I closed my eyes. I knew what I wanted to create, but I had to figure out how to do it. I knew where I wanted to go— but how could I get there? This was not an easy thing for me to do. Untrained in three-dimensional craft, I struggled to recreate the pictures I saw in my inner vision. All my images seemed to be developing in a consistently personal way.

My sculptural influences have come out of myself, maybe from that secret place that connects us all to something greater. Here are words I like: rescued, ageless, primordial, symbolic, oceanic, mystery, arcane, mythical, wonder, original, timeless, sacred, corporeal, coil of transcendence, uncompromising, temple, undersea, ruins, beginning, unexplained, unsaid, depths, unknown, unspoken, unrecognized, unrealized, unborn, just is, control, out of control, invitation, message, whispers, Argonaut, baroque, pre-history, dreamy, fantasy, magic, organic.

About the artist

Gretchen Neumann Lotz, by her own admission, had a very unenriched and uncreative childhood— she never drew, colored, or made anything that she would call art. However, she enjoyed making her own clothes— and she still does. She grew up in an old Miami, Florida neighborhood, which would later become historic Little Havana.

Lotz went to the University of Florida and inexplicably enrolled in a drawing class for which she felt she was totally unprepared. Obviously, art was not for her. Trying to offer solace, her teacher said: “You can always tell a Gretchen Neumann.” Eventually, she married that teacher, Steve Lotz, and devoted herself to emotionally supporting his blossoming art career. Meanwhile, she loved the “language” of “symbols;” so she became an English teacher. She never thought much about “art” again until, two children later, she was watching them play along the shore of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala, when she picked up two lava rocks and started shaping unexplained forms. That was when she realized that the written images she was working with wanted to become visual images— they demanded to be born.That was the beginning of consciously trying to give corporeal life to the pictures she saw in her head. She became the sculptor she always had been.

Blue Nautilus

About the juror

Rachel Stevens

A native of the Northeast (Connecticut, Maryland and New York), Rachel Stevens received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and her MFA from Syracuse University. She attended The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture while still an undergrad at MICA. Rachel’s passion for art serves as a flying carpet of sorts, inspiring travels and research to many countries around the world, including Fulbright Research Scholarships to Patan, Nepal (2006) and Lviv, Ukraine (2018).  In Nepal, her collaboration with Buddhist icon makers culminated in installations that conceptually and aesthetically blended elements of East and West.  When in Ukraine, Rachel collaborated with geographers, historians, and other artists to produce works that honored the Jewish community that populated the region prior to the Holocaust.  These pieces manifested as a map of former Jewish sites in Lviv, a walking tour demarcating the journey of Holocaust survivors who survived in the sewers of Lviv and a haunting installation comprised of illuminated glass skeleton keys, cast from an iron original.  Rachel has received numerous grants and awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant and has exhibited her work internationally.  Rachel served as Area Head of Sculpture at New Mexico State University for 25 years and is now Emeritus Professor.  She divides her life between Las Cruces and Missoula, Montana.


About the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition logo

This nationally recognized juried competition, established in 1987, has long been credited with enhancing the cultural landscape of the High Country region, while serving as a highlight and point of pride for the university’s summer arts festival, An Appalachian Summer Festival.

Reflecting the vision and generosity of Martin and Doris Rosen, an extraordinary couple whose lives were shaped by the spirit of public service and philanthropy, the competition brings a remarkable array of contemporary sculpture to our campus and community.

Each year, ten sculptures are selected for exhibition, and are situated in outdoor, public settings across the university campus. A cash prize is awarded to the artist whose work is chosen as each year’s Rosen Award winner, which is announced by the juror at the popular Annual Sculpture Walk, a highlight of every summer festival season. In the last several years, two additional sculptures have been selected. One is installed on campus at Appalachian House and another at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

Over the years, the exhibition program has earned an international reputation for showcasing the finest in contemporary sculpture, and has become a source of inspiration for thousands of visitors, area residents, and members of the university community who enjoy access to a diverse and ever-changing selection of outdoor sculpture each season.

Martin & Doris Rosen

Vision, generosity, and a pursuit of excellence are some of the many qualities that characterized the lives of Martin and Doris Rosen. From their years devoted to building a successful business, to their lives after retirement, revolving around family, philanthropy, and a commitment to the arts, this exceptional couple left an indelible mark on the communities in which they lived and worked.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of the Rosen Family, Martin and Doris’s legacy of support for quality visual arts programming has been continued by their children, and enables this beloved exhibition program to continue to develop and flourish. In July 1997, the Rosens donated Hephaestus, a large commissioned sculpture by Bruce White, to Appalachian State’s Permanent Collection, and it adorns the Rivers Street frontage area of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts to this day.

On the occasion of the Rosens’ 50th wedding anniversary in October 1999, their children established the Martin and Doris Rosen Scholarship to assist rising junior or senior art majors at Appalachian State. Tireless supporters of the arts, the Rosen Family has given so much of themselves over the years to ensure that the arts remain a strong foundation of campus and community life in the High Country. We wish to extend to them our deepest appreciation.

Martin and Doris Rosen
Martin and Doris Rosen
Martin and Doris Rosen

Contact us

Please address all inquiries to:

Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition
c/o Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
PO Box 32139
423 West King Street
Boone, NC 28608