Introducing CCAD’s 2022 Alumni Award winners


Columbus College of Art & Design students arrive as creatives with talent and promise—and graduate as polished professionals, set to lead in culture and commerce. It’s what we call “Proven Potential,” one of the guiding principles of The CCAD Way. And each year, we recognize a select group of our graduates at the CCAD Alumni Awards. These grads have been nominated by their fellow alumni, CCAD employees, students, and other community members, thanks to their hard work in industry, community, education, and more. Six alumni were chosen to be celebrated at the 2022 Alumni Awards held Nov. 18, 2022. Read on to meet this year’s honorees.


Arts Educator Award 


Kymberly C. Moreland-Garnett 
Fine Arts, 1991
Fine Arts Teacher
Trinity Preparatory School 
Winter Park, Florida

During her 22 years as a fine arts teacher at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, Florida, Moreland-Garnett has led foundations, printmaking, and advanced printmaking courses, hosted international school trips, volunteered in her community, and advanced her own skills through various professional development activities.  In addition to many years of active participation in professional organizations, Moreland-Garnett received the 2009 H. Benton Ellis Award for Excellence in Teaching and the following year was named Middle School Art Educator of the Year by the Florida Art Education Association. Earlier this year, the FAEA named her the June Hinckley Art Educator Award of Excellence winner, honoring her for submitting the most entries for its K–12 exhibition. Moreland-Garnett’s classroom is known as a common gathering place for her students, both to work and because she is seen as a trusted, caring adult on campus. In 2021, Moreland-Garnett led her printmaking class on a fundraiser in support of the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando following a devastating fire; the effort raised $1,200 for the rescue. 

In addition to her work teaching art, Moreland-Garnett enjoys printmaking: monoprints using an etching press, and linoleum printing on fabric. Working with fabric has been an interest since she was a child, she says, and after graduating from CCAD, Moreland-Garnett expanded her practice to quilt-making. Find Kymberly Moreland-Garnett on Facebook.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?
I vividly remember the first grade that I got for an assignment freshman year: Tam Peterson’s 2D Design class. I don’t know what the assignment was, but I got a D on it. Apparently I wasn’t listening when she gave the instructions and stated that the work had to be on a quarter-inch mount. I thought my two-inch mount looked great! I quickly learned to pay attention to the details! I learned that I work well under pressure, that friends can become family pretty darn quick, and that I should try to be open to new ideas as much as possible. (Though for our Senior Thesis, we had to critique a classmate’s work—my partner used cow intestines in his work. I didn’t get it). Skills that I learned at CCAD are passed along to my students every day.

Color Concept (Oh, the DRAMA!), 2D Design, Lettering, Printmaking, Ceramics, and being involved in Student Council and Botticelli have all shaped my career in so many ways. It wasn’t easy, but I do cherish the time that I had at CCAD.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?
My advice for current students? Have FUN! Try as many new things as possible. Talk to someone you haven’t talked to. Make connections. Ask questions! Take care of yourself—that is the most important thing!

Students graduating now have opportunities we didn’t even know could exist. It’s really amazing to me how much things have changed. If you have a great idea that keeps getting shut down, don’t give up. Believe in yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Creative Entrepreneur Award


Cathy Ann Johnson-Conforto 
(Illustration, 1989)
CEO and Creative Director, Luv-it Studio
Cofounder, Soul Ah-Mazing
Tuscany, Italy/Decatur, Georgia

Johnson-Conforto has logged many accomplishments both in design and business since graduating from CCAD. Her decades of experience in branding and innovations within the social expression and product creation industry include taking on leadership roles on a variety of new product and business pilots for Hallmark Greeting Cards, Inc., such as founding Hallmark Minority Exchange (now known as Hallmark Multicultural Center of Excellence). Johnson-Conforto was the first Black woman to design and illustrate in the Center of Excellence as well as the first Black woman to build a licensing brand that debuted at the North American International Toy Fair. Her passion and understanding of diversity in the workplace made a significant impact on corporate policies and structure changes at Hallmark and beyond.

Johnson-Conforto is CEO and Creative Director for Luv-it Studio, responsible for collaborations across multiple platforms including marketing, creative ideation, retail outlets and messaging for service sectors. In addition, she cofounded—with her son Clinton Love Johnson—Soul Ah-Mazing, a media platform that celebrates the human family in all its diversity. Johnson-Conforto recently illustrated the critically hailed children’s book Stand Up! 10 Mighty Women Who Made a Change. Find Cathy Ann Johnson-Conforto on Instagram.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?
ADVICE FOR A CURRENT STUDENT: Dr. Maya Angelou and I were in conversation. I expressed what many of us have felt, feelings of not fitting in. Dr. Angelou looked up with a big smile and chuckled. She said, ''Ms. Johnson, you were not born to fit in. You were born to stand out! STAND OUT until they notice."

ADVICE FOR ALUMNI: If you are too BIG for SMALL jobs, you will always be too small for BIGGER opportunities.

BE brave, BE beautiful, BE honest and LIVE the LIFE you want to WRITE.

Can you share a bit about yourself?
Growing up, the Linden library was a safe place for me. Reading books didn't interest me as much as drawing nice pictures. My local library provided me with a showcase of art, travel, culture, and a small glimpse of the world.

The passion for seeing beauty apart from images in books never left me. Art and culture were keys to opening up so many possibilities. I live part of the year in the USA and the other in Rome, Italy. During the pandemic, the Vatican became my remote studio. Illustrations, sketches, and the narrative of the making of the book (Stand Up!) are on display at the Zimmerli Art Museum.

There is a saying, ‘your talents will make room for you.’ In my spare time, I enjoy roaming Rome, chasing castles, and hunting the treasures of Caravaggio with my husband and our doggie (aka Frank Sinatra).

Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence 


Albert Wong 
Fine Arts, 1970
Professor Emeritus, Department of Art
University of Texas at El Paso
Vallejo, California

Born in Nanjing, China and raised in Hong Kong, Wong has had a long and fruitful career in art and education. An illustration and design professor at the University of Texas for 36 years, Wong has directly shared his knowledge and experience with hundreds of students over the decades. In addition to his work in the classroom, Wong, a painter, illustrator, and graphic designer, has participated in individual and group exhibitions around the world; has work in more than a dozen corporate and museum collections in the U.S. and Hong Kong; has created advertisements for corporate and nonprofit clients; has written academic papers on such subjects as calligraphy, graphic design, and haiku; has made academic presentations on Chinese and Japanese culture; has had work in a number of books and periodicals; and has translated the work of other art historians. Visit Albert Wong’s website.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?
The robust and vigorous training at CCAD taught me (when I became an art teacher) that solid art training should not be any less demanding, nor any less vigorous than medical or any other professional training. To this day, I’m still influenced by lessons from my freshman year color concepts, 2-D and 3-D classes. The instructors imparted to me a strong sense of work ethic in the studio. My four years was also a period in life-changing acculturation. To this day, my work still reflects the conference of my heritage and my American cultural experience.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?
A good art education should be part bootcamp, part heuristic, and part inspirational. Work as hard as you can. Learn to take criticism and rejection. Put personal ego aside. Take calculated risks. Read a good book. Attend a good concert. See a good dance performance. Watch a great film. Travel widely. Leave your comfort zone. Experience unfamiliar things. Listen to your elders. Be ambitious. Be adventurous. Be involved. Be proactive. Be compassionate. Be a good person. Be reciprocal to your community. Love your family and each other.

Commitment to Service Award


Lori Sayre 
Advertising & Graphic Design, 1985
Creative Director
Quantum Health
Columbus, Ohio 

Sayre has won numerous awards for her professional work in advertising, including taking home a bronze award in the 2009 Clio National Awards. She also is a recipient of awards from the Medical Marketing Association and the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts. Now at Quantum Health, Sayre’s previous employers include Diamond Cellar Holdings; Lord, Sullivan & Yoder; and GSW Advertising. At GSW, she was part of the original team to create the “Pink Tank,” a strategic and creative division focused on marketing healthcare to women. Beyond her paid work, Sayre has volunteered her time with New Directions Career Center, whose efforts she supports by designing marketing materials and facilitating email communications, as well as gathering donations of household goods and clothes for the women it serves. Find Lori Sayre on LinkedIn.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?
While at CCAD, I was often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work to do every week while holding down part-time jobs. President Canzani told me I was going to make it because I had heart and worked hard. CCAD provides an amazing foundation while promoting a strong work ethic, which has shaped my career in profound ways.

As a hiring manager, I know that CCAD students are well educated and prepared, which speaks volumes when they seek internships and jobs.

What is the significance of this nomination?
Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your purpose.

Volunteering your expertise, experience and talents to a non-profit group serving the community is a gift you give to them and to yourself. Creating a brand and communications that connect and motivate the audience to engage and participate, and seeing the real results of that connection in the form of human betterment and transformation, has been the most rewarding part of my career. I am super proud and humbled to be recognized for those efforts.

Emerging Leader Award


Joshua Walz 
(Advertising & Graphic Design, 2016)
Associate Director of UX
ZoCo Design
Columbus, Ohio

After graduating from CCAD, Walz started his career at ZoCo as a graphic designer with a focus on user experience and digital design. Over the past six years, he’s worked on numerous UX projects ranging from web design to agile products and today he leads the UX focus at ZoCo, working with clients, improving processes, and coaching their team. Walz is a longtime volunteer with the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts, serving as the organization’s vice president of education in 2017-2019, and in 2021, he took home an Award of Excellence from the CSCA in the Interactive category. In addition to his work at ZoCo, Walz is the designer for his family’s business, SBS Property Management. Find Joshua Walz on LinkedIn.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?
My biggest advice is to be hungry, go out of your way to discover new things, meet professionals, and get uncomfortable. If all you do is show up to class, get your grade and go home. Sure, you'll get a degree, but it'll only be an expensive piece of paper. Your degree means nothing if you don't have the drive to do better and push as hard as you're physically and mentally capable of.

For example, the only reason I ever got my career at ZoCo was that I started volunteering at the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts. Here, I networked my butt off, got to know industry professionals personally, and made amazing friendships. No teacher ever told me to do this, and it was never a graded assignment. I just did it because I wanted to meet real professionals and learn more about my field. It was extremely uncomfortable and took time out of my already busy schedule as a student. But it helped me meet my now-boss, Lacey Picazo. When it came time to start looking for jobs my senior year, a graphic designer position from Lacey practically floated into my lap. And Lacey even told me years later that she never once checked to see if I graduated from a college. She didn't care if I had a degree, or what I had learned in the classroom. She knew the work I made was good, and that I had the right work ethic from volunteering with her at CSCA. If I had just sat in class and done the minimum that was required of me, I never would have found the amazing career I have now.

What is the significance of this nomination?
The nomination for an Alumni Award itself doesn't mean as much to me as the opportunity to inspire future designers to do their best work and change the world with what they do.

Core Values Award 


David Brame 
Illustration, 2005

Cohoe, Alaska

Brame has been consistently working as a comic book illustrator and cultivating his own Afro-Futuristic character, Dusty Funk, via personal work and gallery installations for the past several years. Brame’s ongoing work in comics explores issues of race and identity in the context of the American South, Black Gothica, mysticism, storytelling, and the African diaspora. In 2021, Brame illustrated the Eisner Award-nominated After the Rain; that same year, another book he illustrated, Lionman, was included in the Afro-Futurism period room installation "Before Yesterday We Could Fly" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  In 2020, Brame contributed illustrations for an animation as part of Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch at the Bronx Museum, and he also produced The Struggle, a scholarly work for Black youth published by the University of Minnesota Press.

In addition to his work on the page, Brame has served as an arts and comics mentor for youth and a trusted voice regarding comics and Afro-Futurism in national comic book festivals and podcast conversations. Brame has worked as a Fashion Illustration professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, and as an Art professor at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an HBCU, where he cultivated a strong Afro-Futuristic comic-based curriculum. Find David Brame’s comic catalog here, or follow him on Instagram.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?
Developing a routine and following a self motivated creative plan from inception to completion has been highly influential in my work.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?
Always look outside of your current medium for inspiration.


Learn more about CCAD’s Alumni Awards. Learn more about the Advertising & Graphic Design, Fine Arts, and Illustration majors at CCAD or apply here