(August 2, 2013) Joe Racca, a visual arts major at McNeese State University, won a Student Silver Addy award at the recent American Advertising Federation's national conference. This is McNeese's first national student Addy Award.
Racca, a junior from Sulphur, received his silver Addy for his color photograph titled "Alley Cat." His award-winning photo features his friend Barret Istre taken in a downtown Lake Charles location with just studio lights and a battery pack, using a slow shutter speed.
Awards for advertising creative excellence for both professionals and students were presented at the conference in Phoenix, Ariz., that Racca attended. Entries were judged based on creativity, originality and creative strategy and the jury awarded 19 Student Gold ADDY Awards and 39 Student Silver ADDY Awards.
The AAF competition includes three rigorous levels of judging. Entries are first judged at the local AAF level, with winners then advancing to one of 15 district competitions. District winners then advance to the national finals.
At the local level, Racca won three gold Addys - including one for "Alley Cat" - at the competition sponsored by the Lake Charles chapter of the AAF, and those entries advanced to the 10th District competition in Tulsa, Okla. There, he received a gold Addy for "Alley Cat," which qualified him for nationals, and two bronze Addys for his other entries.
Another McNeese visual arts student, Alan Myers, of Grand Lake, won a Bronze Addy in district competition for his "Pelican Pete" entry. This entry won a silver Addy for Myers at the local level, which qualified him for district competition.
Racca said his awards at all levels were a "pleasant surprise." "This was my first time to enter the student Addy awards competition. My professors encouraged me to submit some of my work and I'm glad they did."
Racca remembers always being interested in photography and he took photography classes at Sulphur High School. When he entered McNeese, Racca took a couple of photography classes because of his interest.
"When I received positive feedback from my professors, I began to realize that I could have a career in this medium." So, he switched his major to visual arts with a concentration in photography.
"We are very excited and proud of Joe Racca for accepting the challenge, entering the competition and ultimately winning a national Addy award," said Mary Kaye Eason, faculty adviser to the AAF student chapter at McNeese and university intern coordinator in the Office of Career Services. "His work brings national attention to the quality of the McNeese visual arts program."
"Alley Cat" by Joe Racca