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Alumni Scholarship Awards 2020: Encouraging Artists to Pursue Their Passions

74 SVA Students Are Awarded $60,000 Worth of Scholarships for their Original Projects

February 25, 2020 by Michelle Mackin
From behind, a person looks into the mirror of an eyeshadow palette and both their eyes are reflected in the mirror. They are applying mascara

Jason Elizondo, Those Big Brown (Almost Black) Gay Eyes (still), digital video still, Filmed by Darrin Faires, 2019, 6:38.

"Encouraging me mentally and helping me financially. Pushing me to do my best," Xiaoling Li (BFA Illustration) says, describing the feeling of receiving a recent scholarship grant. Such is the sum effect of the 2020 Alumni Scholarship Awards, the recipients of which were announced last week by the SVA Alumni Society.

 

Established in 1999, the Alumni Scholarship Awards are presented annually to SVA students. "Students in their final year are invited to apply for funding for their thesis or portfolio projects. Applications are then evaluated by independent panels of alumni, who eagerly apply themselves to the task, often marveling at the talent displayed in the applications," says Miranda Pierce, associate director of Alumni Affairs and Development, who also spearheads this annual program. "Additionally, alumni make up the majority of donors to these scholarship funds. It gives alumni who have experienced the creative industries a chance to encourage soon-to-graduate seniors."

 

For the students, the scholarship provides substantial relief—monetary or otherwise. "I think many artists find their creativity restricted due to financial constraints," says Veronica Fernandez (BFA Fine Arts). "Being given the opportunity to have such a crucial factor in the art-making process supported allows me to continue fostering my ideas in the way I feel best connects to community, and for that, I am very grateful."

A colorful painting of two children in an abstract room surrounded by rocking horses

Veronica Fernandez, Find Me When I'm Not Hungry and Tired, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 7 x 7.5'.

Not only does the award reward recipients financially, but it also can help them feel more confident in their thesis goals. Daniela Dwek (BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), whose thesis project—a collaboration with fellow students Chrisy Baek and Maya Mendonca—is an animation about a young Israeli girl who is oblivious to the conflict around her, says receiving the award shows that "SVA supports telling stories that touch on sensitive subjects and encourages artists to pursue their passions."

 

Jason Elizondo (MFA Fine Arts), whose project explores their relationship with their mother, also feels this validation from the scholarship. "Validation of a queer kid's empathy towards their mother; validation to continue to explore this empathy and dialogue with my mother."


An animated young girl looks scared or worried as she squeezes a teddy bear to her chest

Daniela Dwek, Chrisy Baek and Maya Mendonca, from Hamsa, 2020, 3D animated short.

Each year, the SVA Alumni Society, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, administers over 20 awards and scholarships, including the Alumni Scholarship Awards program, distributing funding to distinguished undergraduate and graduate students working in a variety of disciplines.

 

This year, 74 students were chosen from a pool of over 212 applicants and were awarded scholarships worth more than $60,000 for their projects as varied as narrative film, animation, printmaking and installations. "The 2020 award applications were full of technical expertise, artistry and complex ideas," Pierce says. "They never fail to impress."

 

For the full list of 2020 Alumni Scholarship Award recipients, click here. For more information about the Alumni Society and its scholarships, visit sva.edu/alumnisociety or contact Miranda Pierce at alumnisociety@sva.edu.

 

Click here to "Support the Talent" and make a donation to the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

Illustration of a girl's back, on which there is an intricate and colorful illustration of a mythical looking woman

Xiaoling Li, I don’t want to kill, you don’t want to die, from "Kodsunos."