Columbus College of Art & Design honors 5 alumni with awards

Sep 8, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus College of Art & Design alumni work in the coolest places, and CCAD is thrilled to celebrate them.

CCAD has long honored graduates with the Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence (previously known as the Outstanding Alumni Award).

But one annual alumni award isn’t enough. So starting in 2017, CCAD decided to expand the number of awards to include the Emerging Leader Award, the Commitment to Service Award, the Arts Educator, and the Creative Entrepreneur Award — in addition to the Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence.

“We have so many talented alumni driving the creative economy and making important creative contributions all around the world,” said Lindsey Dunleavy, Vice President for Advancement at CCAD. “We wanted a way to celebrate more of them and their amazing accomplishments.”

Below are the 2017 winners, who will be honored at a special event in November. (Read more about the winners here.)

The Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence 

This award is given to a CCAD alumnus who has earned prominence as a result of outstanding professional or artistic achievements in their chosen field.

Michael Flechtner (Fine Arts, 1981)

Artist at Flechtroneonics
Van Nuys, California

Michael Flechtner was born and raised in Tiffin, Ohio. As a child, Flechtner was always drawing, making stuff from the things he found in the junk drawer, playing with fire and electricity, and taking apart toys and other mechanisms to see what made them work. He enjoyed my K-12 art classes and went on to receive his BFA from CCAD in Fine Arts and a MFA from Wichita State University in sculpture and painting. He learned how to fabricate neon after graduate school and moved to Los Angeles, where he has resided ever since.

Emerging Leader Award

This award recognizes the outstanding achievements of alumni early in their post-graduate life. Recipients must have achieved notable success within their chosen field, or be able to demonstrate significant community impact.

Colleen Clark (Illustration, 2014)

Designer for Social Media at Cartoon Network
Atlanta, Georgia

Colleen Clark is an illustrator and designer from Gaithersburg, Maryland. After growing up with a love for magical girls and graphic novels, she attended CCAD to pursue comics. There, she co-founded The Illustration Student Collective and was awarded Student Leader of the Year for her work as president of the group in 2014. Her comic works have been featured in publications like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post. She now works as a Designer for Cartoon Network, where she produces artwork for social media and marketing plans for Steven Universe and Adventure Time. She lives with her girlfriend in Atlanta, Georgia.

Commitment to Service Award

This award recognizes a graduate of CCAD who has demonstrated commitment in their personal or professional lives to the betterment of a community through philanthropy, advocacy and/or volunteerism.

Marshall Shorts (Industrial Design & Advertising & Graphic Design, 2006)

Creative-N-Chief at Artfluential
Columbus, Ohio

Marshall Shorts is a passionate creative with a commitment to being an agent of change for creative industries, community, and entrepreneurs. He is a teacher, entrepreneur, and owner of the Artfluential collective, a small creative agency. He is also co-founder of Creative Control Fest, a conference that centers people of color who participate or aspire to be a part of the ever-growing creative class. A Cleveland native and a proud husband and father, he tries — although he’s not always successful — to live up to his motto “Shut up and Create.”

Arts Educator Award 

Alumni who demonstrate exceptional skill as an art educator or a clear commitment to the field of art education may be considered for this award. Recipients may be educators or administrators in K-12 schools or higher education institutions.

Keith Swindell (Illustration, 1973)

Professor of Visual Art at University of Kansas
Vinland, Kansas

Jon Keith Swindell has worked in the discipline of sculpture since 1974 with an emphasis on museum-based exhibitions. He has been the recipient of an NEA-Mid-America Arts Regional Award in Sculpture and the inaugural Kansas Arts Commission Meritorious Fellowship in Sculpture. Swindell’s work has been viewed internationally in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, and Canada, as well as in 44 of the contiguous U.S. states and in Alaska and Hawaii. His work is represented in more than 75 public and private collections. Swindell is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Kansas in the School of the Arts. He joined the KU faculty in 1986, holding the prestigious distinction within the university as a Kemper Teaching Fellow. He taught previously at Washington State University, the University of Nebraska, and Columbus College of Art & Design, where he began his teaching career in 1972. Swindell received his MFA degree from the University of Nebraska with distinction and his BFA degree from Columbus College of Art & Design. Swindell is a native Nebraskan, born in Holdrege in 1950.

Creative Entrepreneur Award

To be considered for this award, the recipient must have made significant contributions to a business, public, or non-profit organization, with preference given to an individual who has started a business or non-profit. Leadership within the community, organizations, and service groups may also be considered.

Paula Froehle (Fine Arts, 1987)

CEO & Co-founder at Chicago Media Project
Chicago, Illinois

A film director, visual artist, educator, and entrepreneur, Paula Froehle is Co-founder & CEO of Chicago Media Project, where she guides 50+ members in the philanthropic support of social impact documentary films. Froehle is also the fund manager for CMP Invest/Impact & CMPAC equity funds, which invest in documentary films with commercial appeal such as recent Sundance premieres: Icarus (acquired by Netflix), Step (acquired by Fox Searchlight), and Trophy (acquired by CNN & The Orchard).

From 2006 to 2014, Froehle was the Founding Academic Dean of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, where she developed an immersive degree program in filmmaking, recording arts, graphic design, animation, and game design. Froehle has also been involved in the founding of several startups, including Opal Pictures design & film production company (2004-present) and Atavistic Chicago (1988-2006).

Froehle has directed 14 films and 20+ media projects, including The Show Must Go On: An Intimate Portrait of The Flying Wallendas, which premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival and is distributed by MVD.

About Columbus College of Art & Design 

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 four-year undergraduate programs and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit

Media contact

Jeannie Nuss
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Columbus College of Art & Design