Student Furniture Artists Take Top Honors For Craftwork

School for American Crafts students recognized at NICHE Awards

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Peter Keun Ho Park’s “Hendrix and Clapton” won in the wood category in this year's NICHE awards. The annual competition draws entries from school all over the country. This year, RIT’s School of American Crafts had a total of five finalists.

Student furniture designers at Rochester Institute of Technology remain a cut above in the fine craft world. For the third year in a row, a student from RIT’s School for American Crafts furniture design program has taken the top prize in the furniture category in the national NICHE Awards student competition.

Undergraduate student Brian DeWald won for his piece, “Clock.” In addition, graduate student Peter Keun Ho Park won the top prize in the wood category for his piece, “Hendrix and Clapton,” a wooden guitar stand.

The school had a total of five finalists this year. Park had two pieces nominated, and in addition to DeWald, two other students were selected as finalists in the wood category—graduate student Katie Marsh for her piece “Mountain Top Table” and undergraduate Jake Mendez for “Beacon.”

“Our students have an unwavering commitment to the highest standards in design and craftsmanship, and it is gratifying to see their talent and dedication recognized at the national level,” says Rich Tannen, professor of furniture design at RIT. “Our students have consistently excelled in these competitions, comprised of some of the most talented young designers and makers from all over the world.”

The annual competition draws entries from schools all over the country. Prior student winners or finalists from RIT include Nucharin Wangphongsawasd, Elliot Drury, Dominic Fiorello, Trevor Ritchie and Heechan Kim.

Sponsored by NICHE magazine, the NICHE Awards program began in 1989 to celebrate excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft. Artists are recognized in professional and student divisions.

For more information on the NICHE awards, go to For more information related to RIT, go to the School for American Crafts website.