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Art league announces scholarship winners

The Suffolk Art League’s 2016-2017 Sharon & Chip Picot and John R. Taylor Student Scholarship recipients were introduced during a reception for the art league’s annual Open Members’ Show on June 14. From left, in front: Zachary Gist, Kobi Davenport and Macy Grizzle. From left, in back: Suffolk Art League President John Pruitt, Brexdyn LaDieu, Abriana Johnson-Walters, and Savannah Miller. Not pictured, Betsy Pollard.

The Suffolk Art League’s 2016-2017 Sharon & Chip Picot and John R. Taylor Student Scholarship recipients were introduced during a reception for the art league’s annual Open Members’ Show on June 14. From left, in front: Zachary Gist, Kobi Davenport and Macy Grizzle. From left, in back: Suffolk Art League President John Pruitt, Brexdyn LaDieu, Abriana Johnson-Walters, and Savannah Miller. Not pictured, Betsy Pollard.

The Board of Directors of the Suffolk Art League has announced the 2016-17 Sharon Picot and Chip Picot Memorial Student Scholarship and John R. Taylor Student Scholarship winners.

“With 18 applicants, the selection committee had a very difficult job selecting who would receive funding this year,” said Linda Bunch, executive director. “We are very pleased to add the John Taylor Memorial Student Scholarship for the Visual Arts this year, allowing an additional student to receive funding.”

The Scholarship Selection Committee chose seven students to receive a total of $2,800 to be used towards their artistic endeavors.

Both the Picot and Taylor Memorial Scholarships are offered to students who will be in grades sixth through 12th in the next school year. Students must either live in or attend school in Suffolk. Public, private and home-school students are eligible to receive funding.

“We want to help them begin or continue to explore the artistic area of their choice whether visual, performing or literary art,” Bunch said. “This year the scholarships will help students attend dance, theater and visual arts classes and intensive workshops, and purchase art materials and equipment.”

The recipients for 2016-2017 are:

  • Darius Kobi Davenport Jr. is a student at John Yeates Middle School. He plans to use his scholarship to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts Summer Camp. At this camp he will be able to explore video animation, digital art and drawing. This will help Kobi reach his goal of becoming a digital or stop motion animator.
  • Zachary Gist currently attends Isle of Wight Academy. His scholarship will help pay for piano lessons. “He has excelled to a new level in his curriculum and looks forward to his lessons each week,” his instructor, Marjorie Setnicky, wrote in her recommendation letter. Zachary plans to continue to play piano through college and beyond.
  • Abriana Skye Johnson-Waters is currently a student at King’s Fork Middle School. Abriana plans to purchase new photography equipment with her Picot scholarship. She wrote in her application essay, “I want to be an artist, the kind that makes you feel emotions and questions what normal really is.” With this new equipment, she plans to start her journey toward becoming a photographer.
  • Brexdyn Joséf LaDieu attends King’s Fork High School and the Governor’s School for the Arts. He has been selected to participate in the Richmond Ballet’s summer program for the second year, and his funding will help him attend this program. Todd Rosenlieb, Chair of the Dance Department at GSA, described Brexdyn as “an asset to the GSA Dance Department throughout his tenure, and he feels confident that he will be an asset to any program the scholarship may afford him.” Brexdyn told the committee in his essay, “I dreamed I would soar, through dance, and achieve greatness.”
  • Savanah Miller currently attends Nansemond River High School. She plans to use her scholarship towards acting classes and lessons as well as a playwriting intensive this summer. Kelly Greening stated in her recommendation that after seeing one of Savanah’s performances, “The sheer love of her art and the joy she brought to the stage was transcendent.” Savanah has the goal to become an actress and playwright on Broadway. This scholarship will help her move toward her goal.
  • Betsy Pollard is a student at Isle of Wight Academy. With the Picot scholarship, she will continue her piano lessons. As Betsy stated in her essay, “When I play the piano, I feel so alive.” She also credits her piano lessons to teaching her determination, concentration, and that practice pays. Mrs. Edwards, her piano teacher, told the committee in her recommendation letter that Betsy has received numerous “Superior” ratings in both Piano Solo and Hymn Playing events at the Junior Festival.

This year the Suffolk Art League offered the inaugural John R. Taylor Memorial Student Scholarship for Visual Arts to honor John Taylor, one of the founding members of the art league and well-known painter and teacher. This scholarship recipient will use their funding toward visual art endeavors.

  • Marcy Grizzle is currently a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School. She has been exploring painting and will use this scholarship to purchase materials and attend classes in the visual art. Marcy said, “One of the many things I love about art is the complete lack of limitations. There are a myriad of mediums — we can use anything to create something.” Her art teacher, S. Kimberly Owens, said she has all the attributes of a successful young artist, including innovative and original ideas, thinking “outside the box,” strong work ethic, independent initiative and a high level of intelligence.

“Through the Picot Student Scholarship and John R Taylor Student Scholarship programs we hope to get students interested in the arts by providing funding for them to explore their personal passion for the arts,” said Linda Bunch, art league executive director. “Often family finances do not allow for private music or dance lessons, art classes or the purchase of specialty supplies. We hope these scholarships provide positive experiences for Suffolk students.”

Funding for these scholarships is provided by the Picot Scholarship Fund and the John Taylor Scholarship Fund. Anyone wishing to make a contribution may do so by sending a check to Suffolk Art League, P.O. Box 1086, Suffolk, VA 23439 and note Picot Scholarship Fund or John Taylor Scholarship Fund.

For more information about the Suffolk Art League and programs offered, visit www.suffolkartleague.org or call 925-0448.