StriveTogether is excited to recognize four student artists from across the country with the 2019 Art Inspires scholarship. This year, winners found inspiration in two spoken word poems by Christian Paige, “Trees” and “The Eyes of Your Enemy.” The scholarship winners will receive a $1,000 college scholarship and have their work displayed at StriveTogether’s Cincinnati headquarters. Join us in celebrating their artwork and their visions for the future.
Guadalupe Hernandez-Rodriguez has had a passion for art from a young age. From Bellevue, Washington, home of Cradle to Career Network member Eastside Pathways, Guadalupe dreams of being a concept artist. This fall, she’ll attend Western Washington University to study studio art or visual journalism.
Guadalupe’s scholarship-winning artwork connects with the theme of community. It shows three young people growing a tree together, symbolizing the desire to build an inclusive community. In this community, she says, youth will set an example for future generations that their goals are possible. “No matter the color of your skin, only you should define what you can amount to,” she said.
Connor Johns is a student at the University of Cincinnati majoring in fine arts. He also grew up in Cincinnati, home of Cradle to Career Network member StrivePartnership, and he said he’s seen community transformation in his hometown. “I got to really see the city change and transform into something completely different and something just so cool to be a part of,” he said.
Connor’s scholarship submission shows a family interacting with a neighbor, a moment he says is key to improving a community. “These small gestures of just getting to know your neighbors and doing your part is really how a community begins to change,” he said.
Connor plans to work for a design firm after graduation and hopes to mentor younger designers to pay forward the support he’s received.
Toscya Jordene Williams is from Green Valley, Arizona, home of Cradle to Career Partnership. She’ll attend the University of Arizona to study biochemistry and pursue a career in medicine, inspired by the women in her family who have done the same.
“As a pediatrician, I will be able to transform young lives by being a positive role model, overseeing not only their physical growth, but their mental and emotional health as well,” she said.
Toscya’s art depicts the connections, support and growth involved in an educational journey. Encouraged by her family to take school seriously, she believes every kid should have the opportunity to take advantage of education. “They should be able to dream about being anything they set their minds to. Whether that be as graduates, valedictorians, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, activists or scientists,” Toscya said. “They can pursue all of this with the aid of an education.”
Aileen Shi is from Charleston, S.C., a community supported by Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative. She plans to attend Ringling College of Art and Design to study computer animation, focused on her goal of creating stories with a range of representation, including people of color and the LGBT community.
Her scholarship-winning art shows a confident young woman carrying books, smiling with the knowledge that she is a force of progress. Aileen says the opportunities opened through education make students and communities unstoppable.
“By using the power gained through education, you can overcome the expectations of those who underestimate you, and ultimately reveal the true potential of both yourself and your community.”
The selected artwork from the four scholarship winners will join the work of our 2018 winners at StriveTogether’s Cincinnati office. You can read about last year’s winners on our blog at these links: Denzel Chase, Lauren DeMarco, Amaia Johnson, Camille Richmond and Shani Salinas.