Brightpoint Community College Foundation Announces its 2024 Art Award Winner

Primary Media Contact: Holly Walker, Director of Communications and Public Relations, 804-594-1530

Secondary Media Contact: Heather Busch, Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy, 804-594-1532

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Sue Berinato’s interest in photography started with her teenage children and their discussions about high school senior pictures. She became curious, wondering what she would need to learn to take photographs like that. So, she took some basic photo classes at an art center and began taking photographs at family events and as part of her volunteer work. As Berinato’s interest in the medium grew and her desire to remain engaged after retirement intensified, she searched for other opportunities to nurture her talents and grow her skills. That search eventually brought her to Brightpoint Community College, where she took her first class in the fall of 2021. Berinato found her instructors to be inspiring and her classmates to be welcoming. “The students here are all wonderful and are willing to help, to ask questions, and to give each other pointers,” she said. “Age doesn’t matter. We feel comfortable enough with each other to be really supportive, and our teachers encourage that support and mutual respect.”
That support and her growing confidence prompted Berinato to enter her work into the Brightpoint Community College Foundation’s annual art award contest. She was among the finalists for the 2022 and 2023 awards, and this year, her artwork, A Good, Good Day, was named the winner. Berinato said she is thrilled to win the 2024 Foundation Art Award for the photo she took while on a cruise. During a stop in Greenland, as she walked around a village on a sunny day, she was amazed by the scenery and also by how simply the people lived. “It made me realize you have to make a good day, a good, good day,” she said. Then, she saw the subject of what would become her award-winning photo. “It was somebody’s house, and it was just so beautiful,” she said. “It just struck me.” 

The Brightpoint Community College Foundation Art Award, which originated in 1995, showcases the artistic abilities of the college’s students. Finalists are chosen by the Foundation Art Award Selection Committee, made up of Foundation Board members and college faculty and staff. Members of the Foundation Board of Directors then select the winning entry from among the finalists. An image of the winning artwork is converted into a poster and into cards that are used by the Foundation and the college. The winner receives a financial award, a framed and matted copy of the poster, and additional posters for their portfolio.

In addition to Berinato (23060), the following students created artwork that were finalists for the 2024 Brightpoint Community College Foundation Art Award (zip codes follow each name): Joshua A. Cloninger (23235), Audrey Cren (23112), Emily Jalbert (23192), Estefania Jimenez Rivero (23832), John-Lewis Opher (23060), Camila Sánchez Carrera (23116), and Olivia Satterwhite (23112).

The Brightpoint Community College Foundation secures resources that provide scholarships for students; fund academic programs, student support services, capital projects, and renovations to modernize classrooms and labs; and stimulate innovation within the college faculty and staff. This work ensures the college continues its pledge of providing academic excellence to students while expanding the services it offers to meet the community’s workforce requirements. Since most of the college’s graduates live and work in the area, gifts to the Foundation are an investment in both students and the community.    

Brightpoint Community College, one of the largest institutions in the Virginia Community College System, envisions a success story for every student. Brightpoint offers students a high-quality, high-value education, with more than 80 majors that provide pathways to careers in in-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 11,700 students during the 2022-23 academic year. It also assisted more than 4,000 learners through Community College Workforce Alliance, the shared workforce division of Brightpoint and Reynolds community colleges.