Art scholarship winners announced

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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The Board of Directors of the Suffolk Art League recently announced the 2021-22 Sharon Picot and Chip Picot Memorial Student Scholarship and John R. Taylor Student Scholarship recipients. The Scholarship Selection Committee chose 10 students to receive a total of $5,125 to be used towards their artistic endeavors.

Both the Picot and Taylor Memorial Scholarships are offered to students who will be in grades 6 through 12 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. The league wants to help them begin or continue to explore the artistic area of their choice whether visual, performing or literary art. Recipients will use their funds to purchase supplies, equipment, and continue with their lessons.

The recipients for 2021-2022 Sharon Picot and Chip Picot Memorial Student Scholarship are:

  • Amanda Goldbach Ehmer attends Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. She started dancing in a studio at the age of 3. Miss Ehmer says, “Dance is a way for me to escape from the struggles of my everyday life and be free with who I truly am.” She plans to use her scholarship for Steps on Broadway Summer Intensive which she has been accepted for this summer. Renee Mitchell, of rpm dance, LLC, describes her as “versatile, hardworking, extremely self-motivated and proactive.” With her talent, Amanda hopes to become one of the Radio City Rockettes.
  • Ayana Lee Johnson attends Nansemond River High School and the Governor’s School for the Arts. Todd Rosenlieb, GSA Dance Department Chair, says that Ayana has increased her technical training over the last year at GSA and continues to strive for artistic excellence with enthusiasm. Miss Johnson states, “Success in the art world comes in the form of persistence, determination, and making valuable connections.” She knows education and mastery are the keys. She plans to use her scholarship to further her education through classes and summer programs at Joffrey Ballet School and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Miley Kay Meadows attends Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School. Miss Meadows is dedicated to music by playing piano and cello. She plans to use her scholarship towards lessons and supplies. She describes the feeling she gets when playing the piano as “I am smiling inside the entire time I am playing.” She hopes to attend the College of William & Mary majoring in music after graduating high school. Miley would like to set up a free community music program for special needs children during her social time. Meghan Hutton, owner of Hutton Music Studio, describes Miley as “very punctual and attentive during her lessons.” Her favorite music is hymns.
  • Ezekiel Pearson attends King’s Fork High School. Mr. Pearson has a long-term goal to become a musical director at a junior high or high school where he can teach young musicians and help them with lessons they can carry throughout their lives. He would like to attend either Hampton University or North Carolina A&T and be part of the marching band. Mr. Samuel Hausman, Professor of Brass, Curry College, describes Zeke as “one of the most brilliant and dedicated students I have ever had the opportunity to teach.” Ezekiel would like to use his scholarship toward purchasing a professional trombone.
  • Marianalla Salem attends Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School. Miss Salem dreams of playing violin professionally one day. She understands that to achieve her dream she will have to work hard and spend time practicing. Her scholarship plans are to take lessons to improve her talent with the violin. Ginnie German, Colonel Fred Cherry teacher, is impressed at Bella’s love and deep appreciation of the violin. Marianalla has even created a virtual platform in Canvas, a learning software, to showcase videos related to violins, composition and technique to help her advance her education.
  • Easton Shores attends Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School. Mr. Easton would like to use his scholarship to continue his cello studies. He would like to continue to play after he has a family to make others happy and add extra support for the family. Abigail Puentes, orchestra director for Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School, says, “Easton is a diligent and hard worker who does not shy away from a musical challenge and seeks to improve his craft on the cello both in school and out of the classroom.”
  • Savannah Lea Mae Stephens attends Nansemond River High School and the Governor’s School for the Arts. Miss Stephens wants to use her scholarship to help pay for summer camps, vocal and piano lessons, and GSA fees. She states, “Music is my life and I plan to make music my career. My life wouldn’t be complete without the arts.” Shelly Milam-Ratliff, vocal music department chair for GSA, says, “Savannah is a young woman with brains, talent, and an impeccable work ethic, and I am honored and grateful to have her as part of our program.”
  • David Elijah Yohe attends Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School. David has a love of music and dance. He followed his sister into competitive dance and has found that doing competitive dance has had benefits outside of the realm of arts by improving his soccer skills. Mr. Yohe would like to use his scholarship to take more clarinet lessons and attend summer dance intensives. Michelle Hendrickson, instructor at Dynamic Movements School of Performing Arts, says, “David’s outstanding devotion and commitment to dance is demonstrated by his hard working and earnest demeanor in class, as well as the selection of genres which he chooses to study.”
  • Kamryn Abigail Yohe attends Nansemond River High School. She is interested in dance and music. With her scholarship, she would like to take dance and piano lessons. Kamryn would like to continue to pursue her interest in sound engineering which she has been studying in chorus this past year. Kristen Winslow describes Miss Yohe as “hard working and is always up for the challenge of trying new things that are out of her comfort zone. Kamryn is one of those young students that may be quiet but has a fire in her that is able to achieve any task given with discipline and commitment.”

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The John R. Taylor Memorial Student Scholarship for Visual Art’s recipient is:

  • Emma Conrod attends Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. Miss Conrod is considering majoring in visual arts when she attends college. However, she knows, “even if I don’t decide to major in visual arts in college, art will continue to be a part of my future.” Emma has been accepted to the Governor’s School for Visual Arts Summer Residency at Radford and wants to use her scholarship toward that residency. Kim Mason, Visual and Performing Arts department head at NSA, says, “Emma also has a drive and determination in which she pushes herself consistently. She will critique her own work, ask for advice and will implement changes to elevate her art skills to a higher level.”

The Suffolk Art League is a community non-profit fine arts organization dedicated to making the arts accessible and providing education in the arts. “Through the Sharon & Chip 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 individual passion,” 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. Because of the generosity of scholarship fund donors, these scholarships provide positive experiences for Suffolk students.”

Funding for these scholarships is provided by the Sharon & Chip Picot Scholarship Fund and the John Taylor Scholarship Fund. Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Picot Scholarship Fund or Taylor Scholarship Fund may do so by sending a check to Suffolk Art League, P.O. Box 1086, Suffolk, VA 23439 and note Picot Scholarship Fund or Taylor Scholarship Fund. For more information about the Suffolk Art League and programs offered, visit or call 757-925-0448.