Boca Grande Art Center cultivates the artists of the next generation through support and scholarships

February 6, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

BY TONYA BRAMLAGE – Alliances are not always created equal, as is the case of the Boca Grande Art Center, and their commitment to the importance of the arts in the lives of the next generation. Part of the shared vision that sets the organization apart is their scholarship program. Every year a high school student from our local area is selected and awarded a $5,000 scholarship toward a visual arts major in college. The monetary award is renewable to each student on an annual basis. The BGAC has also formed an unprecedented liaison program which additionally provides the recipients with their own art advocate.

One student, Isabelle Stark, said, “My liaison has helped me to learn my own value, cultivate a level of communication that opened doors for me, and continues to encourage me to create, learn, and grow.”

Attending art classes in college during a pandemic is challenging. Isabelle is currently attending her figure drawing class online, and is fortunate to have good friends that she uses as live models while she continues her art history studies at Florida International University in Miami.

Isabelle Stark.

Art by I Stark.

“Having this level of personal investment in me by my liaison and the scholarship funds really helps to take the pressure off allowing me to focus on my future.”

Zachary Timmons is grateful for the opportunity Boca Grande Arts Center Scholarship Program offered him in his pursuit of a degree in Fashion Design. He is currently in his sophomore year at Savannah College of Art and Design. Of the three classes that he is currently enrolled only one is in person. Art history and fashion illustration are two classes that he is enjoying this semester despite the irregular circumstances of COVID 19. Zachary attended BGAC summer camp with his brother when he was just 7 years old (Little did he know that he would later serve as a volunteer leader in the  very same camp program). His love for the arts was fueled by his many mentors, teachers, friends, and his liaison.

Zachary Timmons.

Art by Zachary Timmons.

Xaviahn Thomas graduates this July from Full Sail University with a degree in Digital Art Design. His current project is a logo presented in a three-dimensional animation. Due to the challenges of campus living during the pandemic Xaviahn moved back home in November 2020.

“Distance learning has it’s advantages,” he said. “Online learning enables me to have one on one time with my teachers who have specialized knowledge in their respective fields.”

Xaviahn has recently acquired a green screen where he is learning compositing and camera design. He credits Play Station 3’s “Little Big Planet” as the kick starting tool for his passion of creative animated expression. His mother Rachel is his inspiration, as she consistently models what it means to live as an artist.

The Boca Grande Arts Center Scholarship Program deadline is March 1. The program will be adding a new applicant to the creative community this spring. Funding for the program depends on the generosity of specially designated donations from individuals, businesses and artists in the local community. Guest lecturers and exhibiting artists contribute greatly to the program by offering their time, talents, and personal investments into the future of the budding artists’ lives in our community. Melissa Pell Loughlin has been an intricate part of the Boca Grande Art Alliance that assists in launching these students out into the world, “Helping these students to impact others with their own unique talents and encouraging them to share their passions combined with the constant support of a personal liaison, is what sets this program apart from all others.”

Art by Xhiann.

Art by Xhiann.

If you would like to become a sponsor or an individual supporter, please contact the Boca Grande Art Center at 964-1700 or make your financial contributions payable to BGAC, PO Box 979, Boca Grande, FL 33921, with “Scholarship Fund” in the memo line. The BGAC is a non-profit organization, and your support will be acknowledged with the utmost appreciation. Applications for the 2021/2022 Scholarship Program are now being accepted through March 1. Please contact Executive Director Tonya Doherty at the Art Center for further information.