This year, the Department of Art Painting Award goes to Samantha McCoy, who is graduating from the MFA in Studio Art program. Samantha’s paintings focus on the boundaries between the natural and hyperreal landscapes of Florida. She pulls her inspirations from a world she grew up in where spectacles and roadside attractions dominate America’s tourism capital. Between eco-tourism destinations and constructed gardens, McCoy explores the contradictions of her experiences in these places. By pulling back the metaphorical curtain on a carefully crafted image of Florida, her ideas of disenchantment and re-enchantment are enacted in each painting. The viewer can still find meaning in the shadier and discordant corners of the State.