For DonorsFor Applicants

Polly Addison Art Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Apr 19, 2024
Winners Announced
May 19, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate student
Field of Study:

Every student should have the same opportunity to be able to achieve their goals, aspirations, passions, and dreams. Unfortunately, the playing field is not always equal, and many students don’t have access to the opportunities they need. 

Polly Addison of Boulder, Colorado, was a beloved mother who gave her all to the arts and was an artist herself. She wanted to see artists of all kinds be able to reach their goals and not be hindered by obstacles, be they monetary or societal. 

This scholarship seeks to honor the memory of Polly Addison by supporting students who are interested in pursuing their artistic passions.

Any high school senior or undergraduate student in Colorado who is pursuing higher education in the arts may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, submit a piece from your portfolio and tell us about yourself, how you plan to make a difference through art, why you’re passionate about your work, and what obstacles you face in your pursuit of art.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Passion
Published August 21, 2023
Essay Topic

Please tell us about yourself and how you plan to make a positive impact through your art. Why are you passionate about your art? What keeps you from pursuing your art in the way that you would like to be able to? What do you see as hinderances that keep you from achieving your goals, be they people or circumstances, disabilities or financial hardship. Additionally, please submit a piece of your creative arts portfolio.

500–800 words

Winning Application

David Grajeda Gonzalez
University of DenverEnglewood, CO
I must approach my life with wonder and curiosity to navigate the overwhelming nature of my intersectional identity. This mindset has been my driving force as I confront pressures that threaten to divert me from my path of artistic expression. As my love for the arts blossomed during my childhood discoveries of visual expression, so did the expectations imposed upon me, both externally and internally. These expectations became an ever-growing burden as I attempted to start an art practice, constraining my creative ambitions to fit into predefined molds. Whether it was conforming to others’ notions of what type of artist I should be or succumbing to the pressure of pursuing a more “realistic” path, I felt a seed of guilt take root within me while I contemplated continuing this journey. However, I’ve realized that being “realistic” doesn’t mean abandoning my artistic aspirations. Even amid the demands of daily life, I find comfort in simple acts of creativity — sketching during my commute, capturing sunsets through my lens, and expressing my thoughts on paper. This is what being realistic means to me. Through the resilience of figures like my mother, I’ve learned that true success lies in living a life aligned with my values, which include the pursuit of creative expression. With this, I hope to be a lifelong learner of the various modes of visual expression, sustaining a practice through my art and helping others within my community achieve the same. I want to create! I want to manifest my emotions into tangible forms, even if it means transcending traditional boundaries of artistry to make that possible. While my current academic path may only encompass some of my creative interests, I am committed to expanding my horizons and pushing against my limitations. Hence, I embrace ambiguity and seek it in all aspects of approaching the world. Yet, as I navigate adulthood, the weight of my intersecting identities — as a first-generation student, low-income individual, and queer person — becomes increasingly notable as that seed of guilt grows. These labels, far from being vague, are clearly defined and carry significant implications for the opportunities I will likely have access to. So, despite my desire for artistic fluency and embracing this vast field of subjectivity, I have to acknowledge how these barriers have impacted my ability to access opportunities to communicate my curiosity with others.  In an ideal world, I would address each limitation individually, like checking off a box of obstacles toward success, but due to the nature of intersectionality, I can’t. Thus, while I pursue my artistic dreams, I must also confront the reality of financial instability. So by seeking the Polly Addison Art Scholarship, this represents a step towards reconciling my aspirations with the constraints imposed by societal expectations. My self-portrait, Distorted Perceptions (Colored Pencils on 22” x 30” paper), visually represents these introspections while I reference the art of Kintsugi and my self-image. Within its lines and colors, I explore the vulnerability inherent in our identities—the cracks that threaten self-destruction but can also signify resilience and growth. Embracing ambiguity, I endeavor to reclaim all facets of my identity in my creative journey, nurturing and healing my soul to help others do the same.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 19, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 19, 2024.

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