tonality mountain

How to win an art scholarship

This is how I applied for and won an art-based scholarship.

The Bethel E. Ells Scholarship is awarded to a part- or full-time art or art humanities major. I believe there is more than one recipient, but I’m not sure of the number. Here is the info from the application:

For students majoring in Art, this includes Drawing, Painting, Computer Graphics, Photography, and Sculpture or Art Humanities.

Amount: Full time students, 12 + credit hours: $500 – $1000
Part time students: 6 – 11 credit hours: $250 – $500

Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA in Art or Art History, or High School senior
eligible for Spring 2013.
All applicants for Art Scholarships must submit an essay. In addition, studio art
majors must submit a portfolio of work for review. Applicants should submit
their work on disk, jump drive or hard copy. Black and white and color prints
may be submitted as such. Any artwork over 11×14” must be submitted on
disc or jump drive. Submit all articles pertinent to the application together in
one envelope up to 11×14”.
Enclose official transcripts and two letters of recommendation. For students who have not completed 12 college credits, attach high school transcripts along with two letters of recommendation.

It was definitely a challenge to even complete the application process because it was due the weekend after Thanksgiving, and right before finals. Between family gatherings, completing my final projects for 3D Design and Color Theory; and cramming for my Art History final, I worked on my scholarship application.

wire shoe sculpture, "open form"

Luckily, my Portfolio class prepared me for it. ART255B, The Portfolio, is a required one-credit class for art majors. I took this class as an independent study option at another school. My advisor met with me once a month for about an hour or so, and gave me assignments. Throughout the semester, I built up 3 different portfolios: 

1. Educational; covers academic history and student work for applying to a university arts program (This is the one I will use when I apply to the Art Education program at ASU*)

2. Professional; shows qualifications and diversity when applying for an art-based job. (This will be my portfolio when I apply for a job as an art teacher. You’d also use this to apply for a job in a museum or arts organizations.)

3. Gallery; when you become so badass that you think people should PAY for your art, you’d use this portfolio to try and get a gallery show. (Yeah – I’m not quite there yet.)

You prepare a different resume, CV, artist’s statement and image files for each portfolio. To apply for the Beth Ells scholarship, I used my artist statements as a jumping off point, and wrote my essay from there.  I got copies of my transcripts and prepared a comprehensive portfolio, with images of my student work so far (which I have brilliantly used to illustrate this post), and a few things I’ve done outside of school.


And, two of my AWESOME teachers wrote letters of recommendation for me. I hope I can live up to their expectations and I’m humbled by their kind words.

tonality wave

When I opened the award letter I think I scared my husband. He hasn’t seen me jump up and down like that in awhile. Plus I screeched out “Oh my god!” right in his ear. Poor guy.

I’m so happy and proud to share that I have been awarded $750.00 for the spring semester!

YAY :)

modular relief cube

Here is the essay I wrote:

Art has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I loved the slippery feel of finger paints as they spread across wet paper, or squishing Play-Doh into purple spaghetti. As a child, my favorite classroom activities involved making something. I learned from all members of my family that something crafted by hand is not only a necessity, as store-bought things were usually too expensive, but when we put pride into whatever we make, the end result is a reward in itself. I did not come from a family of artists; rather, a bunch of stalwart Midwestern immigrants whose daily lives depended on what they could provide for their families – much of the time from scratch, and often from spare parts. As a result of doing things right, many of their handicrafts could be considered art.

When my youngest son was in elementary school, he went through a very difficult struggle with a learning disability. School for him was a place of confusion, where he found that no matter how hard he tried, it wasn’t good enough. Facing ridicule from students as well as teachers (the sad truth), he suffered from depression, anxiety and low self-worth. BUT the one place he could go, where everything he did was good, was the art room.

At this time, I offered to be the classroom volunteer for the Art Masterpiece program. As part of the program, volunteers were invited to attend classes at the Phoenix Art Museum. We received ideas for lessons and heard lectures from the Art Librarian. Over the next few years the class made Soleri-inspired windbells, Lichtenstein-style portraits, and charcoal drawings of the desert. I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get in there with the kids and talk about art! This new found love, along with seeing how art helped my own son, inspired me to go back to school to pursue a degree in Art Education.

Art is the physical manifestation of expression. Therefore, my foundation for teaching will be “no bad art.” That is to say, if a student shows up, does the works and expresses themselves, that is their art, and how could that be considered “bad,” by me or anyone else? I fully intend to take the lessons I’ve learned here, and help that student see where they can make their art even better.

Art History classes have made a huge impact on me, and the more I learn about art, the more I want to learn, and share with others. For my Honors project I created a two-class lecture and presentation on the Early Medieval period. I intend to make future lesson plans revolve around an Art History core. I’ve also become interested in the value of Art Therapy, and would love to incorporate art into a Special Ed program. Beyond the public school setting, I hope to one day work with the elderly, either in a teaching aspect, or as an art therapist, if I am able to further my education.

My goals are to learn about art and how to become a better artist myself, as well as promote other artists and the idea of art in general to the public. I hope my classroom will be a safe haven; the place where kids feel welcome and happy no matter what else is going on in their lives. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to be anyone’s savior. I want my students, young and old, to discover that through art, they can save themselves.

I truly believe, 100%, that art makes the world a better place.

elemental - watercolor pencil

If you’re thinking about applying for a scholarship, do it!! It’s a little extra work, but it is so worth it. Plus it feels good to know you can accomplish what you set out to do.

What about you? Do you have any goals or accomplishments to share? Leave a comment.

Thinkin bout tryin out for a scholarship:

My sincere gratitude goes out to the Bethel E. Ells Scholarship committee and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Christopher. Thank you for this opportunity.


Published by


7 thoughts on “How to win an art scholarship”

  1. Congratulations!!!

    You are so talented and have such a creative mind.
    I love your art and your writing

    You WILL be an art teacher that each student will remember fondly.


  2. I applaud, anticipate hearing, and seeing all the great things to come. To be an art educator is a wonderful thing to aspire to. I have had some wonderful art instructors, art changed my life, and has saved me in some of my most difficult trasitions in my life. I would be lost without art. I think your journey is nothing but inspirataional. Thank you for sharing….Erin


  3. Pingback: Why Do You Write?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s