Grit and Glory at the 2016 RAF Addy Awards

Rochester has always been a great city for creatives. There are many advertising agencies, art and photography studios, and galleries that make living and working here enjoyable. It is part of the reason I chose to stay here in Rochester and attend Nazareth College for Visual Communication Design.

One of the reasons that Rochester is such a great city for creatives is that we have our own chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), known as the Rochester Advertising Federation (RAF). We are the ONLY city to have our very own professional chapter, which says a lot about the creativity found in Rochester.

The award show space, featuring my photobombing friends Jessica and Amanda.

The award show space, featuring my photobombing friends Jessica and Amanda.

On Friday, March 18, the RAF put on their annual Addy Awards, which recognizes the work of creative professionals, agencies and students in Rochester. Entries submitted in late January – early February are judged, and awards are given out for outstanding work in each category. This year was my first year both submitting work to the Addys as well as attending the show.

The 2016 Addy Awards was held at the Hyatt

Me standing with my entry before the show began.

Me standing with my entry before the show began.

Regency in Rochester. The space was enormous, with a main area where attendees could eat, drink, and mingle about. There were also two side rooms, one that displayed all of the work submitted to the show (it was truly awe-inspiring to be surrounded by that volume of creative work) as well as another filled with tables, a podium and a large projector where the actual show would be held. I arrived at 7 p.m. with two of my classmates who had also submitted work to the show, and mingled for an hour with other classmates, professors and professionals. Then, around 8 p.m., the show began.

"Don't get corny on me" - person dressed like corn on stage at the Addy's.

“Don’t get corny on me” – person dressed like corn on stage at the Addy’s.

As the presenters were announcing the winners in each category, they each spouted off some jokes, Oscar-style. None was funnier, however, than the two presenters who came up dressed as a carrot and an ear of corn (in keeping with the night’s theme of farming, or as the tagline read, “Grit and Glory”). They moved quickly through each category (as there were 94 awards to give out), often calling people back up to the stage to collect more and more awards. Several agencies – Dixon Schwabl, Partners + Napier and Truth Collective, to name a few – took home many awards that night for multiple entries.

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The Gold Addy I won for my Student Entry!

They also recognized student work in each category. In fact, my own entry for my Water for Hope website design won a Gold Addy in its category! It was truly a great surprise and honor to be recognized, and I am very grateful for the experience. My professor, Sherri Baker-Hamilton, who works in the Visual Communication Design department at Nazareth, took home a gold and a silver award for her professional work as well.

Overall, it was an incredibly fun, eventful and inspiring night. I highly recommend that my fellow creative students at Nazareth submit and attend the Addys in the future.

Check out the RAF’s website for more information.



Claire is a senior at Nazareth College, double majoring in visual communication design and communication & media. She has had a lifelong interest in art and design, which has influenced her choice in major. During her time at Nazareth, she has interned at Edge Advertising Group, and continues to work there part time. Claire is looking to continue a career in advertising post graduation. She also loves running, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her bunny rabbit, Nugget.


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