When it comes to scholarships, STEM students seem to have the pick of the litter. But what if you’re not passionate about science, technology, engineering, or math? And what if you’ve spent your whole life painting, writing, or performing instead of learning to code?
You’re not alone. Five percent of the Class of 2015 took home bachelor’s degrees in the visual and performing arts. That might not sound like much, but it was enough to put arts degrees in seventh place among the 33 categories of study tracked by the National Center for Education Statistics.
If you hear the call to a life of creativity, here’s how you can find art scholarships that will help you pay for college.
Nationwide art scholarships you should know about
If you’re looking for money to help you study the arts, you might want to start with some of the larger, more broad-based scholarships. Here’s a list of a few to consider:
Art Renewal Center Scholarships
Based in New Jersey, the Art Renewal Center (ARC) has a mission of “promoting education in realistic art.” In pursuit of this mission, ARC offers scholarships for students to attend schools for visual art around the world.
Previous first-place winners of ARC scholarships receive $4,000 for their education, while second-place winners receive $2,000 and third-place winners $700. You can apply for an ARC scholarship between August and December if you plan on attending an ARC-approved school.
National Society of Arts and Letters Scholarship
The National Society of Arts and Letters has been around since 1944 and works in support of the performing, literary, and visual arts.
This organization sponsors several competitions and scholarships. Two examples are the Naomi Rabb Winston Scholarship in Two-Dimensional Art and the Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Classical Voice, each of which offers $10,000 awards.
You can find applications and learn more about these scholarships here. Both are due in February.
National YoungArts Foundation
Another art scholarship offering up to $10,000 in awards comes from the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts).
But the foundation doesn’t stop there. Winners also have the opportunity to take a master class with artists in their field, they can be nominated for more awards, and they “receive a lifetime of mentoring and support.”
Here’s the list of disciplines YoungArts supports:
- Cinematic Arts
- Classical Music
- Design Arts
- Visual Arts
Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Another chance for various types of artists to find scholarships is through Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This organization gives out portfolio scholarships, scholarships for creative summer programs, and special awards offered in partnership with other organizations.
For example, the Gold Medal Portfolio gives 16 art or writing students scholarships of $10,000 each. The Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio offers 30 students awards of $1,000 each.
The special awards are thematically based, and winners can receive from $500 to $1,000 for their education. You can find details on all of these scholarships via Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
Discipline-specific art scholarships
The list above pertains to fairly general disciplines in art, but you can find money for college for your specific interests as well. Here‘s a list of more narrowly tailored scholarships open to students nationwide:
- 1st-Art-Gallery.com Art and Design Scholarship: Win $1,000 with this scholarship.
- American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) scholarships: The ASID Foundation offers scholarships from $4,000 to $27,500 for interior design students.
- Educational Theater Association Scholarships: Love the theater? You can earn from $500 to $1,500 in scholarships from this organization.
- The Glenn Miller Scholarship: Musical performers can win from $1,000 to $3,000 in Glenn Miller’s name for their education.
- International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) scholarships: IFDA awards $1,000 to $3,000 for students majoring in either interior design or other design/furnishings programs.
- International Interior Design Association scholarships: Interior design students can also earn $1,000 in scholarships for an essay contest and up to $5,000 for the Student of the Year Award.
- The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award: This is a scholarship of up to $10,000 for 20 musicians, singers, and composers who are not yet in college.
- The Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship: A scholarship for cartoonists, with the last winner taking home $5,000 for college.
- New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) Foundation Scholarship: Dance and musical theater majors can earn four-year college scholarships for $5,000 to $25,000 from the NYCDA.
- The Professional Association for Design: Students of fine art, graphic or visual design, illustration or animation, interaction design, and photography are eligible for this scholarship. The amount of the award varies, but typically winners can earn from $500 for an honorable mention up to $3,500 for first place.
- Whitaker Foundation Scholarship: Fine arts and art history majors are eligible for this scholarship, from which they can bring home $2,000 for college.
How to find even more art scholarships
Just as there are many ways to create art, there are many ways to find art scholarships. Here are a few more tips to help you find even more scholarships for college:
- Research the schools you’re interested in attending. Many have their own art department-sponsored awards for students. You can get a good idea of what’s out there with this school- and location-based scholarship listing from Fastweb.
- Join any relevant professional associations that accept students. Some sponsor scholarships specifically for their own members (such as the scholarship listed above by the International Interior Design Association).
- Finally, as with all scholarships, don’t forget to go local. You can find art scholarships specifically offered in your community in this listing from Scholarships.com. But it also helps to talk to your school administrators and prominent organizations where you live to see what they have. Work you do in your community might qualify you for a scholarship as well.
Art students already know there’s a lot of extra work that goes into perfecting a craft. But it’s also important to learn how to talk about and promote your work so more opportunities to create can arise.
Consider these scholarships as more than a chance to cut down the costs of your education. They’re also an opportunity to learn how to talk about and promote your art like a professional would, taking you one step closer to that creativity-filled life you’ve always dreamed of.
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