Having a nurturing place to live is essential to the success of any student. And in New York City, finding good, affordable housing for anyone—let alone young artists—is a challenge. With this in mind, the SVA Alumni Society established in 2006 the Housing Scholarship Fund, so that an incoming first-year undergraduate from the New York metro area with limited finances could live on campus for all four years of their studies. The scholarship would provide a welcoming home and the opportunity to fully participate in the SVA experience with classmates and friends.
In 2011 the Corporate Partners for the Arts program was conceived as a means to support the Housing Scholarship Fund. What began modestly with five member companies has grown exponentially to include 21 committed organizations that are now part of the extended SVA community. Due to their generosity, as of last year the Alumni Society has been able to annually provide two new incoming students with four-year Housing Scholarships.
All recipients—15 to date—have had to overcome difficult circumstances in order to attend SVA. Of receiving the award, second-year BFA Photography and Video student Jan Morales says, “I am honored to have received the Housing Scholarship. It has relieved an immense financial burden and opened my world to new possibilities. The award has undoubtedly made my experience at SVA one I cherish and take full advantage of.” First-year BFA Illustration student Jornelle Saint-Val says, “The Housing Scholarship gives hope to students like me who are in financial need. When I received the award, I was overwhelmed with positive emotions for days. I am truly humbled by this opportunity and hope that this scholarship can continue to provide help for other creative minds who struggle to afford doing what they love.” And Nelson Mai, first-year BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects student, says, “When I received the Housing Scholarship I was so overjoyed that words could not express how happy I felt. I have been given the ability to be in a loving environment where I can embrace who I truly am. Receiving this award pushes me to become a better artist and a better version of myself.”
But after four years of attending SVA and living in the city, perhaps fourth-year BFA Illustration student Make Wen best sums up the spirit and impact of the scholarship: “It means having a close and nice place to go after a tiring day of work!”
Established as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1972, the SVA Alumni Society‘’
A version of this article appears in the spring 2019 Visual Arts Journal. For more info on SVA housing, housing tours and more, click here. Lastly, check out our SVA Cribs video features BFA Fine Arts student Ryan Cosbert below.