For DonorsFor Applicants

Terry Masters Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$1,500
Application Deadline
Dec 5, 2024
Winners Announced
Jan 5, 2025
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
Field of Interest:
Fine arts (plein air painting preferred)

Terry Masters was a beloved and award-winning oil painter who is best known for his passion and immense talent for plein air painting - the act of painting outdoors in natural light versus in a studio or enclosed setting.

Among his many accolades and awards, Terry held the distinguished honor of being a California Art Club Signature Artist. He could often be found exploring the Southern California desert where he lived; setting up his easel in a remote spot and painting the stunning pieces he was best known for.  

Terry loved nothing more than to be outside in the fresh air, finding inspiration for his canvas in the beauty of the everyday world around us. A gifted artist, teacher, and friend, Terry was also known for his generous spirit and warm heart.

This scholarship aims to continue Terry’s legacy of giving by inspiring others to embrace and pursue the same passion and joy that Terry found in painting outdoors and to honor his memory through excellence in the arts for years to come.

This scholarship is for painters (oil, acrylic, watercolor, ink, gouache) only. Any high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate pursuing a degree in the fine arts may apply. Candidates who practice plein air (painting in the outdoors) are highly preferred.

To apply, submit a short essay telling us how the everyday world inspires your art and submit 3 images of your original art pieces. Original art only. No reproductions accepted. 

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published January 5, 2024
Essay Topic

How does the everyday world around you inspire you as an artist? Additionally, please submit 3 images of your original art pieces.  Applications without art piece submissions will not be considered.


50–300 words

Winning Application

Elizabeth Zbiegien
Milwaukee Institute of Art & DesignWaukesha, WI
I was an outdoor child. I loved rolling in the fresh-cut grass, chasing butterflies, and climbing trees. When I wasn't running around I was creating whatever I could imagine. I didn't want to buy a new shiny dollhouse, I wanted to make it. I created the animals I discovered out of paper and tape, and painted the flowers from the garden. Now as a creative, I want to become a scientific illustrator. Every piece I draw or paint has some sort of greenery or living creature in it. My sister loves photography and I use many of her landscape photos as references for my pieces so they can all have meaning to me. I find inspiration in the smallest details, from the climbing ivy above a door to the cracks in the wall. I have a strong interest in environmental wellness and I want to learn more about sustainability to do my part in fighting for the planet. I have been plant-based for 5 years and vegan for 2 years. I also am conscious of the amount of waste I create. I want my future work and career to focus on promoting environmental issues to work toward positive change.
Jonathan McHugh
Laguna College of Art and DesignALISO VIEJO, CA
Whenever I am in nature, whether in the wilderness or my neighborhood, I cannot stop observing the way light flickers through trees, dances over waves as they crash, ricochets off the jagged angles of rocks, or diffuses through the sky into a golden haze on a distant horizon. I feel profoundly and vividly alive when I am outside in this myriad of sensations. Combining these experiences with my other deepest passion – painting – is an absolute joy for me. Over the years, I have found that my plein air paintings begin to capture an energy that I can rarely replicate in my larger studio works. There is something almost magical about the challenge of conveying the weather, season, time of day, and emotional impact of a scene through paint in real time. I am on a lifelong quest to visually portray my sense of wonder in nature, and the thrill of painting lies in the fact that I never quite succeed but get a little closer with each attempt.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 5, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jan 5, 2025.