UNCSA has won three awards in the international Circle of Excellence competition of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The honors, announced earlier this month, include two Silver awards and one Grand Gold. A Grand Gold Award is the highest level of recognition in the program. Grand Gold Awards are rare, and only one is given per category.
The Grand Gold winner was “What it Takes,” a video for Powering Creativity: The Campaign for UNCSA, in the short fundraising videos category. The two Silver winners were: new Powering Creativity-themed recruitment collaterals in the student recruitment publications/packages category; and “UNCSA Together, A Response to COVID-19’s Impact on the Arts” in the PSAs and commercial spots category.
“I am extremely proud of the division of Strategic Communications, who worked so hard to bring these extraordinary videos and publications to life,” said UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole. “Their work portrays the heart, mettle and true spirit of UNCSA students, faculty and staff, which set us apart and make us top-rated in so many national rankings of the entertainment industry.”
CASE is a global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement, focusing on communications, marketing, development/advancement, and alumni relations. Each year, CASE assembles judging panels made up of professionals inside and outside of education for the awards, which are peer-selected and adjudicated. For the 2021 Circle of Excellence competition, CASE received almost 3,000 entries from 530 institutions across 27 countries, for consideration in 100 categories.
“CASE awards are highly coveted in the higher education arena,” said Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Claire Machamer. “My team is dedicated to telling the story of UNCSA and has worked tirelessly to evolve our representation on all channels. This recognition confirms what I already knew, we are succeeding.
“As so often is the case at UNCSA, creativity is a collaborative process. I am grateful for the contributions and support from our Advancement team, led by Interim Vice Chancellor for Advancement Rich Whittington, on the highly successful campaign video,” Machamer added.
The Grand Gold Award-winning video was created for the largest comprehensive fundraising effort in the university’s history. Also a 2020 Gold Telly Award winner, “What it Takes” is a thematic encapsulation of the rigors, demands, victories and setbacks of students at an innovative, top-tier performing, visual and moving image arts conservatory. The “What It Takes” campaign video was produced by Myriad Media of Raleigh, in collaboration with Strategic Communications and Advancement.
“What is truly remarkable about the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ ‘What it Takes’ video is that it stays with you long after the 1 minute and 51 seconds are over,” the CASE judges said. “... By deliberately focusing on the work that goes into creating the art, the school gives viewers an inside peek at the lives of its talented students, but also highlights the need for resources and enhancements. The climatic call to action “You can power ART” really brought it home.…”
A Silver winner, the package of Powering Creativity-themed recruitment collaterals includes a viewbook and conservatory- and program-specific brochures for each of the five arts schools that make up UNCSA: Dance, Design & Production, Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA partnered with Devote Studio of Columbia, South Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama, to develop a suite of materials that would represent the unparalleled student experience at UNCSA. The Powering Creativity recruitment campaign was created to showcase students’ energy, passion and commitment to their chosen discipline.
"We LOVE the look and creativity of these pieces,” the CASE judges said. “More than that, we liked the thoughtfulness of how they all thematically tied together — each conservatory having its own color, while still matching looks with the rest. They tell their institution’s story through compelling visuals, relying on text to instead nail down the specifics of its academic offerings.”
The other Silver winner, “UNCSA Together, A Response to COVID-19’s Impact on the Arts,” was the centerpiece of a brand awareness campaign for UNCSA, released in June 2020. It underscores the university’s position as the nation’s first publicly funded arts conservatory and celebrates the enduring power of the arts, which was alive and thriving despite the challenges of the pandemic. The Division of Strategic Communications again collaborated with Devote Studio on the video concept, script and video editing.
“We loved the visuals, dramatic touches of lightness and dark, and interesting contrasts (stage lights up and down, flickering lights, etc.),” the judges said. “This PSA is a perfect example of show, don't tell. We can easily see through the sophistication of the set, the lights, the grip truck, etc. that students will get a high-caliber arts education here.”
CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham said, “(The) CASE Circle of Excellence Awards highlight the creative, nimble and innovative approaches our members bring to championing the success of their institutions. This year, CASE member schools, colleges and universities across the CASE global membership were faced with challenges that have never been seen before, and (these) professionals demonstrated their skills and sensitivity as they created inspiring and important work to engage their communities in entirely new ways.”
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June 28, 2021