October 24, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Janice Rago Carse Named College of the Arts Distinguished Alumna at VSU

Valdosta State University recently honored Janice Rago Carse with the 2022 College of the Arts Distinguished Alumna Award. She is pictured with Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. 

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University recently honored Janice Rago Carse with the 2022 College of the Arts Distinguished Alumna Award.

“This recognition inspires me to continue growing, learning, and honing my skill,” she said. “Being a self-employed artist is a nonstop hustle yet is so rewarding when I see people experiencing my work in person. It’s certainly not a career that guarantees success in the beginning; you have to put a lot of hard work, sweat, and sacrifice into it. I love what I do and being recognized with this honor shows me that staying dedicated and pushing myself can truly be rewarding.”

Rago lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Nick, and their beloved Australian Shepherds, Scout and Mango. As a full-time artist, she specializes in bringing flora, fauna, and female forms to life through painting.

“I run my own business as a full-time artist,” she said. “I spend a lot of time at my studio creating gallery work as well as client-commissioned pieces. The other part of my business is creating murals for client spaces, both indoor and outdoor, including office buildings, salons, restaurants, apartment lobbies, parking garages, and anywhere else you can imagine.”

Rago has contributed multiple murals as part of Atlanta’s Forward Warrior project, an all-day, live painting event that brings artists and the community together to celebrate public art in action along a half-mile stretch of Wylie Street in the city’s historic Cabbagetown neighborhood. She has also used her talents to support a number of Atlanta’s nonprofit organizations, like Trees Atlanta, Captain Planet Foundation, and Southface Institute. Her commitment to creatively serving her community earned her an Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award, the highest honor given on the state level to any citizen.

In 2019, Rago unveiled an Azalea-themed mural in Valdosta, Georgia, where she lived from 2002 until she graduated from VSU. Her mural work is also featured in other cities across the Southeastern United States, including Orlando, Florida; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Charleston, South Carolina.

When she needs to take a break to replenish and retreat, Rago enjoys playing with her two dogs, participating in book club, watching television shows and movies, and cooking Korean food. She and her husband love to travel, garden, and explore the ever-changing scenery, events, restaurants, and music scene in Atlanta and throughout the region.

Rago earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art in 2009.

Q: What are some highlights from your Valdosta State experience?

A: I made wonderful friends that I consider life friends from going to VSU. Some more highlights were working and having a blast in the art studios. I think I spent most of my late nights there working on projects. Mr. Harry P. Ally is the professor that really helped build my skill at painting and pushed me to be better at it.

Q: What advice do you have for current Valdosta State students? What do you wish someone had told you when you were in college?

A: Don’t fret if you don’t know what you want to major in going into college. You’ll figure it out. Enjoy your college years. They were some of my best, and they go by way too fast.

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