For DonorsFor Applicants

WCEJ Thornton Foundation Music & Art Scholarship

20 winners, $1,000 each
In Review
Application Deadline
Jul 16, 2024
Winners Announced
Aug 16, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Music and/or Art
grade level:
at least a senior in high school

Despite the contributions of artists from a diversity of backgrounds and cultures, many have been historically excluded from opportunities and leadership within the realm of professionals. The WCEJ Thornton Foundation believes it is critical to support the creative ambitions of these individuals to create a future with a greater diversity of voices within the artistic community.

To support this ideal, the WCEJ Thornton Foundation Music & Art Scholarship will be awarded to twenty individuals with an interest in continuing their study of the arts in higher education, with preference given to arts majors. To apply, please write about how you plan to make a positive impact on the world through your art. Additionally, please submit some samples of your artwork/music/other creations!

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Minority, Ambition, Creative
Published April 15, 2024
Essay Topic

How do you plan to make a positive impact on the world through your art or music?

150–400 words

Winners and Finalists

September 2023

Lily Nguyen
Yami Becerra Barbosa
Aliyah Pflueger
Obataiye Lyles
Hahmini Lewis
Cameron Burke
Gustavo Guzman
Shane Rucker
Jazui Mejia
Leah Clemons
Alexej OMalley
Wynter McCray
Joseph Percy
Amaya Gusman
Teanna White
Yunji Choi
Israel Gonzalez
Kamiyah cox
Najm Muhammad
Myck Aviles
Cheyenne Murray
Amber Resendiz
Anna Mendez
Michelle Brooks
Sage Silvera
Nia Perrault
jadah rowan
Jayla Jamison York
Alexis Ramsey
Brinett Rodriguez
Destiny Brown
Malachi Kingston
Jacqueline Nava
Jesus Lizarraga
Sharron Van
Elisa Moran
Na'Kiya Hall
vy nguyen
Dante Billups
Cayla Smith
Bianca Calá
Isabel Balladares
Brian Hobbs
Zoe Crooks'
Aniah Jimmerson
Abraham Espino
Demetrius Cox
Dayon Lewis
Mariano Cocar
Roxane Ybarra
Lia Ottinot

August 2022

Andrew Marshall1st PLACE
Nadeige Fontaine2nd PLACE
Salihah Aakil Bey3rd PLACE
Sydney Dean4th PLACE
MaKenna Charles5th PLACE
Julianna Sanroman6th PLACE
Mariana Morales Pacheco7th PLACE
Dylan Griggs8th PLACE
Shawnta Hunter9th PLACE
Nina Ly10th PLACE
Oscar Garay11th PLACE
ximena robles12th PLACE
Zamara Porter13th PLACE
Amari Thomas14th PLACE
Steven Baloue15th PLACE
Taysha Kim
Graviela Hernandez Sosa
Ricardo Ibarra
Michael Dash, II
Malenni Gutierrez
Aimy Rujiraumporn
Isabella Sanchez
Saxon Kennedy
Julia Hester
Maliyah Clark
Laia Torres Salmeron
Allison Paul
Yaziel Diaz
Donald Whaley, Jr.
Chiquila Pearson Pearson
Danielle Collier
Carissa Lofton
Samantha Garcia-Ortiz
Nicole Kim
Ebenezer Matthew
Travis Guillory
Samantha Marcial
Jeremy Paul Vivier
Sydney Coleman
Lisa R
Destiana DeJesus
Kelis Tyghter
Dayanara Villela Galeas
Nicole Alcalde Hester
Katianna Estima
Makaylah Hopkins
Trinity Davis
zoey vagner
Lóri Fejes
Amaiya Sanders
Natalia Cole

Winning Application

Lily Nguyen
Laguna College of Art and DesignSanta Ana, CA
In ten years, when someone excitedly exclaims, "Dude, this new agent that just dropped looks amazing!" they will be referring to a character that I, Lily Nguyen, a passionate game artist, have designed. My dream is to create unique and immersive characters that will make playing games more exciting and generate anticipation for new heroes, agents, or champions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual connections became crucial, and I realized the power they hold in building bonds, providing entertainment, and helping individuals cope with personal challenges. This realization sparked my desire to become one of those artists who shape and create experiences in virtual worlds. While the joy derived from video games is smaller in comparison to achievements like curing cancer, it is essential to understand that these small positive impacts can nurture and inspire individuals who will one day make significant contributions. Without these moments of joy and inspiration, the bigger achievements would never exist. Before embarking on my journey as a game artist, I created fine arts. I participated in the Garden Grove First Impression Art Show, where I showcased my sculpture artwork titled "AI Art." There, I met an elderly woman who wanted to converse with the artist behind the creation. As I shared my inspiration and artistic process, I witnessed the joy spark in her eyes. It was a moment of connection and appreciation. Through this encounter, I grasped the profound impact that art has on people's lives, for both the artist and the audience. Even though artists are undervalued in society, I aspire to be a role model for other aspiring artists, demonstrating that pursuing an art career is not only possible but also essential. Art has the power to inspire, uplift, and bring joy to both the creator and the audience. By following my passion, I hope to encourage future generations of artists to pursue their dreams. In a society that often encourages the pursuit of STEM and education over art, I aim to showcase that there is an abundance of opportunities to be an artist—regardless of what anyone says. Therefore, when excitedly exclaim about the new agent I've designed in ten years, it will be a testament to my creativity and a reminder of the impact art can have on people's lives. Through my artwork, I hope to enhance the gaming experience, generate excitement, and be a role model
Yami Becerra Barbosa
School of the Art Institute of ChicagoLakeland, TN
As a kid playtime became an escape from reality, a world of my own. As l've matured I have moved on from dolls and toys to other mediums of play. Within my art I utilize playfulness as a means to explore and express memories from throughout my life. I have always been very private about my personal life. Mentioning labels such as Mexican American, low income, child of separated parents, child of felon parent, child of immigrant parents and etc. can be difficult and uncomfortable. I have lived a complicated life and I'm not good at verbally expressing my feelings about it. Art has helped me reconnect with my younger self to cope through these emotions. My art is about memorializing, the negative and positive, memories in a visual aspect by talking without words. My goal is to feel alive and powerful by embracing my past, but most of all relieved to not have to remain hidden about my unique life story. My approach to being playful is by utilizing a 3D/2D form that immediately catches the viewer's eye. A form that lures the viewer to get close and personal with the memorialized memory. It persuades the viewer to insert themselves in a memory and wonder the meaning behind every detail and decision. The 2D aspect correlates back to a childhood photo, while the 3D is more spontaneous to the mood of the memory. During the construction process I like to get in the mindset of a childlike scientist that will allow whatever to happen with curiosity I want to show my truth shamelessly and if someone is able to connect with my art and feel seen/represented I feel joyous and grateful to be able to do such a beautiful thing. I realize now that my purpose is to bring light to vulnerability to exhibit the hidden realities. Vulnerability is a scary thing, but to feel seen without needing to explain verbally, can be enlightening. I want to normalize acceptance of the unconventional aspects of ones life. Playtime with my art has allowed me to redefine my life and my
Aliyah Pflueger
California College of the ArtsNew Orleans, LA
Obataiye Lyles
Howard UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
Aside from being a trailblazing artist ushering in a new era of contemporary music of any genre I so choose to use as a medium for my compositions, another big part of my life goal is to make music education more accessible. As someone who never even picked up an instrument till I was 13 and began teaching myself how to play piano on a whim, I understand that creative passion is spontaneous, and can strike anyone at any time. Now, I was lucky enough to have a piano at my house because it had been passed down through generations of my family, but a lot of children and people, in general, don't have easy access to an outlet for the self-expression of music as I did. My goal is to get music back in public community spaces such as schools, summer camps, city-wide youth arts programs, annual concerts, and much more. My goal is to showcase to people young and old, beginner or advanced, that music is about bonding and community building, it's a way of life, and for some a means of making their lively hood. In the end, all I want to do is give people the exposure and the opportunity to discover the creative side in themselves, potentially through music, whether choose to become a professional musician, music teacher, or music business owner, I think that it is a useful life skill for anyone to have, that can take as far as you want as long you're willing to give it your time, attention, and most of all your self-expression. And that is how I plan on giving back and making an impact through my art.
Hahmini Lewis
Rhode Island School of DesignParkville, MD
In my cite- specific work called “Connecting History”. Originally, I was going to take the photos at a museum but decided to take back up shots just in case the museum thing wasn’t going to work out. In the photos, my models were wearing masks made out of hair. The reason why the model with the mask is placed in the woods because when slaves were escaping, they would travel through the woods with many obstacles in their way and underground. Their hair become maps for them to escape and find somewhere to go. Different type of braids or styles symbolized for different geographic features such as river (zig zag), roads(cornrolls), and mountains(knots) that my ancestors had to come across. So why not connect the two. Our elders were beaten, starved, neglected, etc for us to walk the paths they dug out with their own hands. I want my work to be truthful which can be unsettling but if no one talks about it then nothing will happen. I want change in our society. A couple events have taken place involving people of color and the police in 2020. It’s important to reflect on other’s mistakes and become away which led me to create “So you Think it’s a Game,” In the earlier stages of the pandemic, there was a spike in police brutality. Even though it is not happening a lot right now, it does still occur. The different ages between the figures indicate that age does not matter when becoming a victim. I made sure the environment felt like a simulation or a type of game. To me during those times, some of the police officers were playing shoot the ducks. I want to inspire other black artists and creators and that is happening soon enough. For a commission, I made a painting for someone’s wedding and one of the guests called me and said I inspired them to paint again, and they did a self-portrait of their own. For change to happen, I started putting my life and who I am out there for the world. Vulnerability is the best weapon to use against others because people are afraid of being weak. I will never be silent and never show fear. We need to do something so why not start with me? An artist of color, a voice of truth.
Cameron Burke
Savannah College of Art and DesignCovington, GA
Through my creative field of Sequential Arts, I plan on making a positive impact in the world by creating eye-catching illustrations and stories that my audience would feel inspired by. Growing up, I yearned to draw just like my favorite artists from popular media. I saw them as role models and I gained lots of creative inspiration from them. However, I’ve had moments where I doubted my passion after seeing how difficult making a living in the art industry can be. But after witnessing countless artists prove that anyone can succeed in doing what they love most, it motivated me to continue pursuing my dream of making art my career. As a Sequential Arts major, I plan to utilize my skills to create art that people can simply enjoy and gain inspiration from. I want an audience to look at my artwork and inspire others to pick up a pencil and start drawing themselves. I want to bring enjoyment to people's lives and when they look at my work, there is a chance it will brighten their day just a little bit more. Most of all, I want my art to serve as a reminder and as a beacon to those who are continuously doubting themselves on the inside as proof that with hard work you can positively shine a light on your future as a successful artist. Like the great illustrators and comic artists that have impacted society today, I yearn for my art to leave as great or an even greater impact in the art world as they have. As an art community, I believe we exist to help inspire each other. We influence each other's styles and form something unique the likes of which the world has never seen before. I shared a similar feeling when I began drawing such as being enamored with the broad horizons of creativity that the art medium has to offer. To be honest, I feel just as ordinary as anyone else who enjoys the creativity behind art. Although, I yearn to one day reach the level of my favorite artists. Just as they have inspired me, I wish to someday inspire new artists with my work as well to bring forth a new generation of creators.
Gustavo Guzman
Laguna College of Art and DesignHacienda Heights, CA
Video games uniquely blend art and music, providing a form of escapism that surpasses what films and television can achieve. They transport players to diverse worlds, offering respite from daily challenges and moments of pure enjoyment. Beyond personal enjoyment, video games also create opportunities for individuals to forge lasting memories with loved ones. This immersive art form has fueled my creativity and inspired a desire to uplift others. I plan to craft a video game experience that evokes powerful emotional responses, offering solace and inspiration during difficult times. As a first-generation student and a child of immigrant parents, life has many demoralizing situations. From the experiences of struggling to pay for school, not knowing if I can continue, and the fear of failure, I can craft a video game experience that inspires hope in others facing similar situations. As a game art student, I will design the characters, their outfits, the props, and the worlds visually. In time, I will learn to compose music that sets the mood and immerses the player. The underlying theme of the project is dread and overcoming fears. One captivating aspect of the project features a DJ character, resurrected by her mother, drawing inspiration from Frankenstein's tale but with a more uplifting twist - where music imbues life with purpose. In crafting this character, the core message aims to inspire audiences to find meaning in their lives, regardless of their circumstances. Her underlying fear revolves around acceptance, yet she uses music to unite people and embrace the joy of living. Her music can soothe minds or bring up the mood with upbeat melodies. Besides this character, other characters in this project embody the many fears I have faced during my lifetime. I will show how I work through them. With unwavering passion and dedication, I aim to create a video game that sparks wonder and inspiration. By blending art, music, and immersive storytelling, I hope to transport them to enchanting worlds, fostering introspection and personal growth. Through diverse characters and thought-provoking narratives, I aspire to leave a lasting, positive impact, encouraging players to work through their fears and overcome obstacles. Video games can nullify concerns but provide a message of empathy and positive change. I hope to craft an unforgettable experience that uplifts spirits and fosters connections.
Shane Rucker
Maryland Institute College of ArtLaytonsville, MD
I intend to make a positive impact on the world by pursuing a life of love, acceptance, and dedication. I hope to inspire my young art students in the classroom and to provide an example to others of how to live harmoniously. As a tattoo artist, I would strive to empower people through the art I create for them. Ultimately when creating artwork I'm telling stories of the lessons I've learned in life, however as an artist, I have no right to the meaning taken away from my work. What my artwork can do is resonate with someone enough to encourage them to consume more of it. As I develop in my career and reap the abundance of my hard work I can be in better standing to give back to my community and create programs to help disadvantaged youth, those struggling with mental illness, and local homeless populations. I believe that by living a life of love, the world will present me with opportunities to uplift others, and it is my responsibility to get my life and recourses in order so that I can answer those calls to action.
Jazui Mejia
Berklee College of MusicRedlands, CA
When my younger brother, a boy on the autism spectrum, was in the seventh grade, he faced severe anxiety following six months of bullying at school. As his older sister, I understood that a confidable listener, the protector he could seek refuge with, and the advocate who would fight for him as his school failed him continuously. Being only 14 at the time, I carried was part of a mission to aid my brother and stand with my family through a difficult coping process. I decided to begin by picking up my guitar and simply learning my brother's favorite songs. Following one of his panic attacks, I knocked on my brother's door and told him I had something cool to show him. My hands strummed as I sang the tune of Calvin Harris’s “I Need Your Love”, my brother’s eyes glimmering with illusion. “Wow! How did you learn that?” he inquired. With a simple jam session, we discovered the key to healing that my brother and the entire family desperately searched for. Music therapy is an innovative field that combines music with psychology to heal individuals with intellectual disabilities and patients in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. This career is transforming music into medicine, becoming one of the first forms of artistry in healthcare. Traditional counseling and prescriptions were effective, but there was something special about seeing my brother’s anxiety ease away when I sang and played his favorite songs for him on my guitar. I am excited at the prospect of breaking into this blooming field, and such a possibility has been facilitated by institutions that recognize the impactfulness of the arts. My brother, his resilience, and his acceptance of music as a tool for his healing motivate me to continue my education. My aim is to become a music therapist and researcher that expands on what music therapy is, what it does in the lives of many, and how it can be integrated into new spaces, such as schools. Additionally, I find it essential to advocate for the expansion of arts therapies, ensuring that all have access to them regardless of their socioeconomic status. Integrating art into medicine the way music therapy does is now more crucial than ever not only for disabled individuals but for all people who are collectively recognizing that mental health awareness is key to our society’s betterment.
Leah Clemons
Kansas City Art InstituteKansas City, MO
Alexej OMalley
University of St Thomas (TX)Tomball, TX
I am an artist. Creativity revolves around the core of my identity and it bleeds into everything I do. In the essence of my being, I am a creator, telling my stories and the stories of those who can't speak for themselves through visuals such as photography, videography, and multi-media artworks. I use my photography and self-portraits to communicate feelings of worthlessness, joy, grief, love, heartbreak, sorrow, and loneliness to the viewer, as well as express the feelings of living with mental illness and close the gap between those who experience these emotions in intense ways and those who do not. I am a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and those themes are fully present in my work, whether or not it is obvious to the viewer at first glance. It is a keynote that I include in my photography- sometimes intentionally and other times in underlying ways that I do not notice at first. I believe that all of my experiences have combined to create who I am, and my art is a direct mirror of that person and who I want to be in the future. I use visual arts to bring awareness to things I have struggled with and have watched loved ones struggle with, and I fully believe that creating a culture of acceotance begins with art.
Wynter McCray
University of RochesterRochester, NY
As I continue my education and begin to enter my career, I would like to use my knowledge and experience to help young musicians that are part of underrepresented groups to succeed by assisting them in their music journey via music theory and history tutoring/lessons and connecting them to resources where they can further grow. In the future, I hope to create a program for aspiring musicians that would connect them to a vast resource of teachers, tutors, and mentors that would enjoy building the next generation of musicians, in doing so, encouraging them to follow their passions while diversifying this art field. I believe in the importance of uplifting younger generations and helping them to believe they can accomplish their goals while also providing them access to knowledge and resources that they might not have. I hope that nurturing this courage will create powerful individuals that are leaders who are successful in their career field whether it is within music or not. I would also like to mention that I am not only entering this profession as a black woman but also as a transgender black woman. In the 21st century, orchestras and organizations are starting to recognize the limits that they have placed on themselves that keep out anyone of color who would like to enter the profession and represent a demographic that has been oppressed and overlooked. As the world of classical music expands, more representation of black men, men of color, and women of color are beginning to become recognized, however, the field still lacks adequate representation of black women and more specifically women who are black and transgender. As I begin to enter the field, I would like to create more opportunities for cis/trans black women in music administration and performance.
Joseph Percy
Eastern Illinois UniversityChicago, IL
Acting or the concept of acting itself is my certainty. People that have spent quite some time around me, could tell you I'm rebellious, crafty, funny, and eager, and they're not wrong. Unfortunately, my main concern wasn't my traits but simply my goal, my endgame, "Where do you see yourself in 10-20 years?" I never had an actual answer, I felt as though I was going through an identity crisis. As the world grew around me, I had to grow with it, meaning new interests arose, consistently causing me to change my future. Did I want to become a professional track athlete, a reputable animator, or even a creative graphic designer? Finding a passion, one that you can dedicate your life, time, and efforts to is a difficult journey for most to uncover. Thoughts of being underqualified, lack of talent, etc limits the mind and hinder the potential of what can be. So many genuine, talented people out in the world stray away from the potential of becoming something more because they haven't gained the opportunities to nurture that talent. I felt the same way, starting out as an aspiring actor, I felt like an outcast seeing other working actors display their talent. This changed as soon as I got cast as the lead character for my first short film, called "Seven Minutes in Heaven". I got a brief look at what the set looks like and how it operates, I spent days studying my character and incorporating his personality in made-up scenarios to build a better connection with my character to enhance my performance. Being able to work with creative visionaries, and pitching in ideas for improvised scenes increased my passion even further. Acting is my passion, it's a talent I never even knew I had the potential to bring into reality. I want to be able to do whatever I can to fully nurture this talent and share it with the world. I'm willing to invest how much time I need to learn whatever is necessary to become an actor that can leave a positive influence on others who work to achieve the same profession. Art is an expression, and by publishing mine to the world, I hope can free artists from the shackles that prevent them from investing in something that they love.
Amaya Gusman
Columbia College ChicagoChicago, IL
Teanna White
Columbia College ChicagoChicago, IL
Andrew Marshall
Columbus State UniversityColumbus, GA
If there is only one thing that I can do in this lifetime, I want my musical teachings and playing to inspire exposure, reflection, and healing throughout less fortunate communities. Having been on this musical journey for more than a decade now, I’ve come to notice one common misfortune: pursuing your passions is a privilege not afforded to everyone. We like to think that this is a right that anyone can pursue, but unfortunately, that’s just not the reality for a lot of people. This goes double for people in underprivileged communities. They’re often met with choosing between following their hearts’ passions or making a stable life for themselves. The question is, why does this have to be their reality? How is it that it’s okay to look at one person and say they’re not deserving because of personal circumstances? I say it shouldn’t have to be this way. We’re all on this planet to do one thing and that’s make an enjoyable, sustainable life for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. With the help of my saxophones, I want to help foster this idea by performing and showing the final product of someone who has often had to choose between passion and stability. I want to try to touch at least one person in each one of my audiences by bringing forth any hidden, raw emotions. Every time I play, I seek to share this vulnerable part of myself that speaks volume to my story. So far, it’s been working. One comment that has been consistent throughout the years is the amount of emotion that’s illuminated through my playing. I know personally how music is often a form of expression and therapy for those who don’t otherwise have a voice. By continuing to share this part of myself, I hope to give light to those often deemed the “underdogs” of society.
Nadeige Fontaine
School of the Art Institute of ChicagoChicago, IL
Drawing has always been my favorite form of expression and communication. Unfortunately, I could show my work to very few people who would understand my displays of creativity. It wasn’t until I had access to the internet, I was first introduced to an artistic community. Together we shared, collaborated, and helped each other grow into stronger creators, but these interactions still felt distant and cold through a screen. When I attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I finally found the warmth of an art community that was living and breathing before my eyes. There I learned a crucial lesson about art that broadened my view on the subject, and to my surprise, I didn’t even have to pick up a paintbrush. I learned art is a way to bring people together. Since the cavemen drew on walls, we have come together to create art that shares our narratives, identities, interests, cultures, etc. Anyone can create art because art is not exclusive, instead, art is infinite. In my artistic career, I want to show people art is for everyone. Every day I practice and build a portfolio needed to be successful in the animation industry and bring better BIPOC representation in film and television. I have seen firsthand the wonder in people’s eyes when they see a character that looks like them on screen. It is a sight to be cherished and more people, especially our youth, deserve that experience to feel more connected to the art and media they enjoy daily. I’m working to grow my platforms enough to reach my community and introduce them to projects that encourage folks to get in touch with their creative sides. In the future, I hope to host events like art classes in my neighborhood that allow people to hone in on their talents or just try something new. While that goal hasn’t been met yet, I’m proud to say I’m using my art to give back to the community. I’m currently preparing to auction prints of my art to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s research toward ending blood cancers. I'm excited to see another gracious opportunity like this come again. I have dedicated my work to bring people together through art. Hopefully, my efforts will show others how powerful of a tool art can be for nourishing and enriching a community for generations to come.
Salihah Aakil Bey
Howard UniversityRockville, MD
My little sister is four years old, she’ll be five in October, and I think about what that means. I think about what it means to grow up as a young, Black, Muslim, girl in this world. As a kid I grew up in spaces that did not know, understand, or want to know anything about my identity. I was asked rude questions, laughed at, and sometimes openly slandered. My name, my face, my skin, and my faith were all unfamiliar and unworthy to the kids I interacted with every day. Their tiny worldview became my problem when my identity forced them to think outside of themselves and they made me pay for it. Now I’m 19, an artist, a poet, a bassist with strong hands and I have a little sister. I know who I am but she, as I did, may have a hard time learning about herself. So, the impact I want my art to have is simple. I want to, through loving depictions, narratives, authentic stories, and images, increase the visibility of people like us and maybe, just maybe, make growing up easier for someone. I plan to tell the stories of my people, Black, Muslim, American people, and in doing so make us known. Make us seen, show the injustices we’ve faced, all that we’ve overcome, the music we’ve made, the love we’ve brought, show that our story is America. I plan to make it so that little kids like my four-year-old sister can see themselves in the art they consume and know themselves as well. So that when someone asks them who they are with pointing hand and twisted mouth, my sister and kids like her can point to my canvas and say “I am that. I am Black, this is me.” I want my art to serve as a mirror to my people and all the kids who come after me. Something to show the most beautiful parts of us and serve as a constant reminder that we are, in fact, beautiful. So maybe, the only positive impact I truly desire is for a Black, Muslim kid to look up at something I’ve made and smile. I plan to do that by creating, refining, learning and growing, by going to Howard University and becoming the artist that can enact change.
Sydney Dean
Savannah College of Art and DesignRiverdale, GA
I plan to utilize my art to cultivate a life that is worth living not only for myself but for others. For me this means dismantling the environmentally harmful and inhumane methods of production currently used by our clothing industry. It also means propagating an inclusive fashion industry where there is no set standard of beauty. I plan to give back to my community by being not only a living example that things will get better- but to encourage others like me to focus on what makes them truly euphoric. I want to be a role model that shows others like me that if I can do it, if I can overcome adversity, they can too. What has inspired my love for the fashion industry is experiencing first hand how freeing fashion can be as an art form. Through creating with my hands and pushing boundaries with my imagination, I unintentionally fostered self love through my craft. I want others to experience this love, freedom, and euphoria too- that is why I am pursuing my education! Along with these things I want to initiate a symbiotic relationship between people, their clothes, and the environment. I seek to augment an industry where garments are valued, kept, and reused for years to come- an industry where micro-trends and fast fashion are a distant thing of the past. For me, this looks like repurposing fabrics such as curtains, donated t-shirts, and other discarded items into something new to avoid needless waste. I actively employ this method in every piece! Additionally, I also seek to encourage people to completely avoid sending their unwanted clothing to be thrown in landfills. I want to demonstrate that although the life of your old t-shirt has ended, it has another life to live as a mini skirt! Lastly, I have observed that our industry can use a tremendous amount of remodeling. Another positive impact I plan to make is expanding the fashion industry to include marginalized groups of people such as disabled people, people with different body types, skin conditions, and older models. It excites me to be able to assist the ushering in of a new frontier in which the runway is accessible to everyone- and where the garments gracing the runway aren't environmentally detrimental either. I seek to augment a fashion industry that not only breaks boundaries, but builds bridges, because we have no planet B!
MaKenna Charles
Johns Hopkins UniversityDenver, CO
Julianna Sanroman
College for Creative StudiesDetroit, MI
Southwest Detroit native raised in Metro Detroit and Jalisco, Mexico, Julianna Sanroman Rojas is a visual artist candidate to receive her BFA and teaching certificate from College for Creative Studies. I was inspired by the positive and negative experiences of being separated from my family due to deportation. I am very fortunate to be in a space that allows me to find myself and reclaim my heritage. I used traditional narratives throughout my work, which will enable me to challenge my past and attempt to reimagine my future. My parent's deportation inspires me every day to create art. To push me creatively and heal from the pain of constantly missing them. I have lived away from my parents for 16 years now. I am choosing to reclaim my heritage and reconnect to what has been taken for me affirming love and healing. To receive a better education and be constantly motivated by their absence. I am exploring how to carry my home with me in my work. Look into my past as something I can recognize as an aspect of my life that is mine yet is not, Longing for what I had and realizing I can longer live there. My experiences with immigration, heartbreak, and transitions allow me to explore these constant shifts and examine myself breaking down and rebuilding in new ways. These homes, in my memory, are homes of love, isolation, tenderness, and violence. I am inspired by the city I live in, working with my community, and hoping to use this scholarship to succeed in getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts - BFA focused in Art Teacher Education from College for Creative Studies. I've been working at a Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation; With my degree, I want to be an Art Educator and pursue higher education, participate in galleries and attend an artist residency. I want to share my love of art and pass that off as teachers have done for me in the past. I hope to continue making art for myself as I become myself over again, connect with my family community, and make art accessible to the youth who inspire me constantly.
Mariana Morales Pacheco
Fashion Institute of TechnologyGuaynabo, Bayamón
Artists’ minds and ambitions are unique and are generally not given the opportunity to be developed professionally in most countries. I’ve been one to avoid chasing a career involving art, scared to never find my place in a professional setting; regardless, being exposed and studying art the majority of my life has convinced me otherwise. I am confident I can impact society with the knowledge I will acquire with a Fine Arts major. My experience in art has assured me that it is possible to choose a career in the art industry and be successful. I had the opportunity to explore painting outside of school, through muralism. I became part of community service in forgotten sectors of culturally important Puerto Rican communities: La Perla, Santurce and Piñones and work alongside organizations like Artistas Pa’l Sur, Casa Ronald McDonald and Antenna Alternative Studio. I saw that I had an opportunity to take on a leadership position and call attention to the culture and topics of importance to create a sense of pride for the community. I designed murals following the request of the organizations and what they were trying to convey for the project. These murals mean a lot to me and my artistic career. I discovered a passion for breaking societal standards surrounding urban art. There is so much misconception regarding this art field and I would like to contribute and shed a new light into it. I also hope to become an inspiration to other young female artists and encourage them through muralism to chase male-dominant careers. I am interested in winning this scholarship because having a complete education in visual arts will give me the platform and expertise to accomplish my dreams. My goal is to take my murals around the world, learn about other cultures and incorporate them into my pieces to make communities proud of their identity. Connecting with the audience through my work sparks a new motivation, and drive to keep creating. I know that this scholarship can provide the resources to get the education of excellence I am looking for, where I can reach the peak of my potential and become the best artist I can be. I believe I am the perfect student to win your scholarship, I have an innovative mindset, I am hardworking and highly motivated to thrive in art, not only in Puerto Rico but anywhere my journey takes me.
Dylan Griggs
Savannah College of Art and DesignStonecrest, GA
’d like to use my art and culture as a route to helping people think positively and act more long-term. I’d like to show more thriving environmentally-friendly, technologically advanced communities that explore a future that moves beyond present-day limitations. Good art educates and creates empathy, and empathy and understanding leads to positive change. The presence of arts is linked to increased neighborhood livability, community identity, and social wellbeing. I believe that art provides an opportunity to exercise critical thinking, experience a renewed self-awareness, and potentially even a deeper connection to others and their experiences. I’ve already been accepted into Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Atlanta and am very excited to continue developing my God-given talents of visual arts. By attending SCAD, l will be immersed in the unique studies of one of the best art colleges in the United States. I want to help people think about what a better future can look like and how to achieve it. I'd like to give my unique take on visual storytelling to make any project I'm involved with have a huge global impact. I enjoy doing research to make sure all design elements accurately reflect the story represented. According to my research, science fiction and futuristic projects require a lot of work as graphic designers work to create a unique and innovative look for the project at hand. I can definitely agree with this statement based on my drawing of the Mandalorian. I've place a link to this drawing and a couple of others below. This drawing was one of my most liked due to the vast details in the armor. I believe that through my vision of combining the right elements, each graphic design can evoke an accurate depiction of emotions and feelings that would be highly memorable and invoke positive actions to all audiences. Thank you for considering me for this scholarship.
Shawnta Hunter
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH
Being a BIPOC in the arts field is extremely rare as BIPOCs are underrepresented in formal ensembles. Between 1980 to 2014, musician diversity saw substantial growth in numbers, however African American and Hispanic/Latino musicians remained extremely low. It is important to me to be the change that I want to see and in order to do that, it is essential that I act as an advocate for BIPOC and myself. Acting as an advocate has become important to me after realizing what my role would be once choosing the college I would be at for the next 3-4 years. I hope to one day use that passion and perform in an orchestra playing the French Horn and ultimately make myself a seat at the table. Growing up and attending an art school I had the opportunity to be provided with many great resources and was introduced to many different people. I feel as if these opportunities were handed to me and I didn’t realize the importance of working for things myself. My first time being in a youth orchestra and youth wind ensemble I was one of the few people that were black and female. At some point, I felt out of place and felt like there should definitely be more people that looked like me. I began to ask myself if BIPOCs that weren’t in my position were simply not granted the same opportunities or if they didn’t audition because they felt they weren’t worthy of the position. After my first year of attending college, I realized that opportunities had changed as the bubble has gotten bigger. Attending a PWI has made me realize the importance of providing BIPOC with the opportunity of being seen and heard in the art field because that representation matters. I hope to be provided with more opportunities involving BIPOC in the arts at my university and get the chance to express my concerns regarding the misrepresentation. After graduating, I hope to attend graduate school for my master’s in arts management and potentially work for non-profit organizations specifically for children in underrepresented areas. Doing that will ensure I am there for BIPOC that cannot advocate alone in such a big space where they may feel unheard. Providing them with the same opportunities I had growing up will hopefully make the statistics of BIPOC being successful in the arts greater.
Nina Ly
California State University-FullertonSan Diego, CA
Oscar Garay
New York UniversityNew York, NY
Growing up, my parents would bring me to art museums to look at paintings and I began noticing many of the artists, and the subjects of the work, did not reflect my identity or experience. I felt alienated and unseen by the lack of brown bodies, specifically Latinos, depicted on the walls of these cultural institutions. Thus, my mission is to make artwork as a platform for visibility of the Latino communities that are too often hidden between the margins of America. I construct large scale paintings that bring to light the vibrant culture of my community in order to combat the lack of representation in the art world. My art practice is rooted in sharing the experiences of being a brown body in the United States, and reconciling how I view my identity with the identity cast upon me by society. Growing up in the predominantly Latino city of Los Angeles, my body and my culture were simultaneously capitalized on, and ostracized by, white institutions and structures of power - in particular, my Mexican identity was often misrepresented by the media and the people around me despite the large Latino presence in California. Pertinent to the current political landscape of the United States, my works draw inspiration from the ignorance, and the white gaze, that only sees the most superficial layers of my Mexican identity. I reference images of my family, friends, and the larger community to narrate scenes often not seen, and in the process, investigate larger themes surrounding the implicit biases and stereotyping that is embedded in the representation of POC communities in White America. Through the use of found objects and handcrafted wooden panels / surfaces, I reference the long history of labor and struggle Mexican-American communities endure to help build, support, and operate the United States. Ultimately, I create art that reflects my community so that one day a little Latin American boy or girl can walk into a museum, see my work, and feel seen, loved, and honored.
ximena robles
University of Missouri-ColumbiaIndependence, MO
Making a positive impact on the world is the motivating factor for my art projects. I want to create media that battles negative stereotypes and portrayals surrounding Latinas in the United States. There are a lot of factors that go against Latinas such as: racism, xenophobia, sexualization and simultaneously portraying Latinas as 'unattractive' through use of the Eurocentric beauty standard. Growing up as a first-generation Latina in the United States presented unique challenges that my parents had not previously faced. Firstly, I was subject to bullying and isolation from my classmates through my entire public-school education. I was bullied because of my complexion, body hair, and overall image and build. Along with this I felt isolation from Latinos I met growing up as well, having a dual identity presented challenges in both spheres because I was never enough for either. Along with this, I faced repercussions of unresolved generational trauma from my parents. There was never a safe space for me to exist as myself. I believe one of the contributing factors to receiving negative experiences with my white classmates was influenced by mass media. Ten years ago, seeing Latinas in media was rare. Even in Mexican media, actresses were often European and fair toned. This was traumatizing as a child, as I never saw anyone that looked like me portrayed positively. I grew up thinking that I could never be happy because of the features that I was born with. Which is why I want to be a filmmaker. I want to create films that empower Latinas, through discussions of generational trauma, colorism, racism and xenophobia. The aim of these projects are not to focus on the trauma surrounding these topics, but instead would inspire young Latinas by seeing their stories on the screen. Latina women deserve to grow up free from restrictions in their dreams, and not be contained to a box. I am currently working on a script and storyboard for a short film I will be producing in the upcoming school year. Previously, I have created a short documentary focused on my father and his life as an immigrant.
Zamara Porter
Arizona State University-TempeTempe, AZ
I plan to make a positive impacts through my art and media by staying true myself. It is my belief that the laws of the universe abide. The Law of Attraction says " that which is like unto itself, is drawn". By focusing on the things that I know to be positive: love, joy, appreciation, and happiness, I understand that I have the ability to attract and influence others who are in pursuit of the value that I offer to any given situation. Whether they be black or white, man or woman, non-binary, whatever background, how ever or whenever in which one comes, I wish for people to see and experience the beauty of my art and be happy from that. To relate to it or to simply look and be comforted by it. Staying true to myself and being honest in my path will inspire others to follow suit.
Amari Thomas
Howard UniversityWilmington, DE
I am a Jazz Voice Major at Howard University. Art related majors are never appreciated compared to others majors. I am currently 19 years old and have a big dream. I want to share my gift to the world. All of the artists now a days are just putting out music that encouraged chaos and is vulgar. I want to be a positive artist, putting encouraging lyrics in my songs. Growing up I was able to find artists that made songs that did encouraged me, without that and God. I honestly would not have been here today. Believe it or not the music the youth listen to has a large impact on the mindset they have towards life and people. The amount of people with positivity in their music compared to the explicit music is terrible. This money will allow me to continue going to college and improving in my talent. My career path is just as impactful as someone's who is in a much higher held status.
Steven Baloue
Indiana University-BloomingtonChicago, IL
I am a violist. I am also an African American male from the South Side of Chicago. The area I live in is called “The Wild 100s." The city of Chicago has a reputation as an incredibly violent city. During the 2022 Memorial Day weekend, forty-six people were shot, and ten of those died. Most of the victims and shooters are just like me; they are young Black males who grew up on the West and South Sides of Chicago. But unlike most of those young men, I have academic and career options. When I was nine years old, I heard the viola for the first time. Someone was playing the viola in a talent show, and I fell in love with the viola. Deciding to play the viola was a decision that changed my life. Later I became a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO). As a member of CYSO, I was one of about five BIPOC in an orchestra of over one hundred of the best musicians in Chicago. While in the CYSO, I volunteered for the Ambassador Quartet, and we visited and performed in public schools in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago. As a high school senior, I was selected to be a part of the National Youth Orchestra (NYO). I had the opportunity to represent not only my country but also young African American males from one of the toughest areas of the nation and to show the world that we can succeed in the world of classical music. During my time with NYO, I mentored a young Black violist. I was grateful the be a part of the NYO, not just for my sake, but for the sake of that young boy. As a student at the Jacobs School of Music, I am a part of an even small percentage of people of color. Playing the viola is a privilege, and I know that. Currently, African Americans make up less than 2% of professional orchestras. My goal is to obtain a position as a violist in a professional orchestra. I plan to continue to show up and represent those who are like me but without the opportunities I have. I hope my continued representation in the world of classical music will enable young BIPOC to strive for equal access and success in an area where we are still severely underrepresented.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 16, 2024. Winners will be announced on Aug 16, 2024.

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