For DonorsFor Applicants

Elizabeth D. Stark Art Scholarship

2 winners, $5,000 each
Application Deadline
Aug 23, 2024
Winners Announced
Sep 23, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Must be pursuing a degree in art or art history
Home State:
Must be from Virginia
Must be female identifying or non-binary

Elizabeth Stark was a beloved mother and artist who was passionate about all forms of art and art history.

Unfortunately, arts programs frequently are underfunded or fully cut from schools. More than 80% of American schools have faced budget cuts since 2008, and the arts are often one of the first things to go. It’s critical that artistic students have the resources they need to pursue their passions.

This scholarship honors the life of Elizabeth Stark by supporting two female-identifying or non-binary students who are pursuing degrees in art or art history.   

Any female student from Virginia who is currently pursuing or planning to pursue an art or art history degree may apply for this scholarship. Students attending art schools are also eligible to apply.

To apply, tell us how art has made an impact on your life and why you are pursuing art through higher education.

Selection Criteria:
Published April 22, 2024
Essay Topic

How has art impacted your life and why do you want to continue to pursue it through education?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Anabelle Lombard
School of the Art Institute of ChicagoArlington, VA
Art is the most effective way I know to express myself. I have grown up in a community of artists, creative thinkers, and communicators. Being surrounded by creativity has allowed me to feel comfortable embracing my individuality and to use self-expression to form connections between seemingly unconnected things. Art has given me the power to create something from nothing and also something from everything. Art has guided me to take the less-traveled, but more unique and impactful path of communication. When something inspires me, I plummet into an energized mode of impassioned research, sketches, and brainstorms to connect my concepts with my materials through a multidisciplinary format. I’ve also always valued group performance as an important way to express myself, but when the COVID-19 pandemic began to rattle the world as we know it, it took away my voice and sense of self as part of my artistic community. I shifted towards visual expression because it was more accessible. I realized that most of what drew me into performance was the history behind telling a story and the visual aspects of it, such as costumes and makeup. With all this time by myself, I developed my skills and style as a solo artist and incorporated my roots in performance while adding other creative methods that were more accessible while I was in quarantine. To keep myself company, I listened to music and began exploring all sorts of genres. Inspired by these newfound tunes, I experimented with poetry and lyric writing, as a form of introspection and identity solidification. I shifted more towards visual art and experimented in producing self-directed forms of theater. I was reminded that creative self-expression endures all hardships. What I concluded was that when I create the message, performance, and visuals, I feel most like myself, and most like an artist. Because of the pandemic’s shift on my creative opportunities from social to singular, I’ve been able to prove to myself that my artistic voice is powerful, even when standing alone and no matter what the world sends my way. My professional creative involvement began in 2019, when I co-founded Generation Ratify, a youth-led gender equality organization that has grown to over 10,000 members across the country. In my experience working collaboratively as the National Creative Director, I’ve dedicated my skills in communicating as an artist to make fighting for equality as magnetic, engaging, and creative as possible. However, I’ve noticed there’s always a disconnect between how people think change can be made and the reality of creative possibilities. Through my work so far, I’ve shown that artists are as necessary in the process of change as anyone else. It’s our nature to look at the world differently and create new possibilities – to create an exchange of radical art, radical expression, and radical values. As an artist, I want to get the point not only across, but front and center. Through a creative education, I aim to connect further with my creative tenacity, while developing a range of technical skills and learning experiences. When I am able to synthesize these skills and advance my style as an artist, the impact of my creations can be even greater. I know I can develop my unique understanding and vision for the world even more and learn how to utilize it in the real world to take action. My artistic visions have had a long and winding journey to get to where they are today, and they will continue onwards on that path through pursuing an arts education and beyond.
Parisa Enayatpour
The University of Texas at AustinChicago, IL
I had never seriously considered a career in the arts until the day I came across the Pazyryk Rug while doing some research for a fashion design project. Consumed by a Wikipedia rabbithole I was on an hour long tangent looking at ancient pieces of Persian art, each one more stunning than the former. After a while I had drifted from the original topic of the architectural remains of Persepolis to achaemenid jewelry and coinage to edged weapons to rugs. I clicked on an image of a tattered old rug, the Pazyryk Rug, the oldest rug discovered. So shocked at the existence of the 2500 year old rug, I enlarged the image and began to inspect it as best I could, and, amazingly, the color and bulk of the rug had remained intact due to a combination of precipitation and low temperature conditions in the royal grave in which it was buried. Everything about this handwoven rug was astounding to me; the design was much more complex for a rug of that era than I thought possible. The anatomical renderings of the elks on the rug show the weavers’ mastery of the loom, and repetition of the elements along the border, maintaining even spacing, consistency, and symmetry, also reflect their artistic prowess. Reflecting on the advanced construction and complex imagery of this rug, questions started swirling around in my mind. How many hours went into each and every knot in the pile of that rug? How many hands touched this rug before its final form came to fruition? What were these artisans encountering in their daily lives that inspired their patterns? Suddenly I was brought back to the moment, sitting in my backyard thinking about how this artform had been passed down through generations and reached me. After studying the rug and understanding its unique story, I felt the overwhelming need to share this discovery with everyone who would listen. Days later I found myself coming back to this experience, the desire to curate spaces that give these works context and allow people to experience the same intensity of emotion I felt coming across that artifact. Art History as a study connects us through place and time by giving us insight into the values and priorities of specific cultures; by responding to the culture art acts as a commentary, either by validating or subverting the norms of a society. Months later as I think back to that rug I understand how it compelled me to appreciate the transcendent nature of art. The decision to pursue a life in the arts allows me to feel such a profound connection with people whom I will never meet, like the Pazyryk people who were nomadic and had contact with my ancestors. The arts remind me that I am part of something much bigger than myself -- and I want to give others the opportunity for that transcendent experience as well.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 23, 2024. Winners will be announced on Sep 23, 2024.