Art Scholarships 101

Creative Funding Opportunities & Resources For A Debt-Free Art Degree

Prospective students pursuing a degree in the arts often have standout talent, energy and the ability to express themselves. Not only do these students create beautiful works of art, from portraiture and graphic design to theater productions and dance numbers, their passions can translate into lifelong careers. In this guide, find funding options for art degrees, including scholarships and alternative ways to pay, and learn ways to craft winning scholarship essays and applications.

Search for Art Scholarships

Not all scholarships are based on academic performance. Many are geared toward rewarding a student’s artistic talent and skills. Whether students are looking to make a career out of getting an arts degree or just pursuing a dream, there are a variety of scholarships they can apply for

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 Start Date Select Month End Date Select Month

RankNameAmountDeadline
1Signal Grace Scholarship Essay Contest$1,000Mid-August
2ARTBA Student Transportation Video Contest$500Mid-August
3BLR Scholarship$1,000Late August
4George Mason University NVTC-Bannister Scholarship$2,500Early October
5NFAA youngARTS Program$10,000Mid-October
6Minority Teacher Incentive Grant Program$5,000Mid-October
7W.D. Farr Scholarship$12,000Late August
8Clubs of America Scholarship Award for Career Success$1,500Late August
9Ruth Abernathy Presidential Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship$1,750Mid-October
10Sessions College 24/7 Parent Scholarship$3,000Mid-October
11Sessions College First-Generation Student Scholarship$3,000Mid-October
12Sessions College International Student Scholarship$3,000Mid-October
13Upsilon Pi Epsilon Student Award for Academic Excellence$1,000Late October
14CARiD Scholarship Program$1,000Late October
15Florence Young Memorial Scholarship$1,500Early November
16CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarships$3,000Mid-April
17UNF Miyuki and Herbert Scheidel Classical Music Scholarship$5,000Mid-October
18College Art Association Professional Development Fellowships for Graduate Students$10,000Varies
19Concordia College Theatre Performance & Production Scholarships$6,000Mid-September
20Concordia College Visual Arts ScholarshipsVariesVaries
21Spotlight Awards Program$5,000Mid-October
22Create-a-Greeting Card Scholarship$10,000Early March
23Berrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarship for Migrant Farmworkers$2,500Early November
24Harvey Fellowship$12,000Early November
25Dennis Coleman Choral Conducting Scholarship$3,300Mid-January
26NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing$500Early November
27James Alan Cox Scholarship$2,500Mid-November
28Mildred and Albert Panowski Playwriting Award$2,000Early December
29Educational and Cultural Affairs Junior Research Fellowship$31,000Varies
30Doodle 4 Google$30,000Early December
31Elizabeth Stein Scholarship$500Varies
32Eta Sigma Phi Summer Travel Scholarships$3,425Varies
33DePaul University Music Performance Scholarship$16,000Early December
34Rand Marketing Web Design Scholarship$1,000Early December
35Make It With Wool’ Contest$2,000Late December
36Louisiana Tech University Bessie Talbert Purdy Scholarship$1,000Early January
37George A. Barton Fellowship$3,000Varies
38Gregori Jakovina Endowment Scholarship$500Mid-January
39Graphicstudio Graduate AssistantshipsVariesVaries
40Alma White – Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship$1,500Late January
41Doris & Clarence Glick Classical Music Scholarship Fund$1,500Late January
42Dr. Hans & Clara Zimmerman Foundation Education Scholarship$2,825Late January
43Elsie S. Yoshizawa Hotta Scholarship Fund$1,000Late January
44Gerrit R. Ludwig Scholarship Fund$14,750Late January
45Kawasaki-McGaha Scholarship$1,166Late January
46Shuichi, Katsu and Itsuyo Suga Scholarship$1,000Late January
47Sarah Rosenberg Teacher Education Scholarship Fund$1,500Late January
48Isabel M. Herson Scholarship$1,000Early February
49Jack D. Motteler Scholarship$3,300Mid-January
50Jamestown College Music Major Award$6,500Early February
51Frank Kazmierczak Memorial Migrant Scholarship$1,000Early February
52Vermont State Grange Cobble Hill Grange Scholarship (Education)$500Early March
53Talent Grant ? Western Illinois University$1,500Varies
54Kodak Professional Photography Scholarship$4,500Early February
55Kress Foundation Digital Resources GrantVariesVaries
56Kress Foundation History of Art GrantVariesVaries
57John and Ruth Maciag Scholarship$1,000Early March
58Leal Art Gallery Annual Scholarship in Art$1,000Mid-February
59Lee A. Lyman Memorial Music Scholarship$1,000Early March
60Philip and Alice Angell Eastern Star Scholarship$500Early March
61Senator James M. Jeffords Endowed Scholarship to Honor Marian Hausman Jeffords$1,500Early March
62Senator James M. Jeffords Endowed Scholarship to Honor Mary Jeffords Mills$1,000Early March
63Love Your Body Poster Contest$250Mid-October
64Luminarts Cultural Foundation Project Grants$2,500Mid-October
65Luminarts Visual Arts Fellowship Competition$5,000Mid-September
66Trinity College of Vermont Memorial Scholarship$1,000Early March
67McMurry University Fine Arts Award for Incoming Freshmen$2,500Mid-March
68Marion Barr Stanfield Art Scholarship$5,000Early March
69Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant$5,000Early October
70V. George & Jeannette M. Carey Scholarship Fund$1,500Mid-March
71Unitil Scholarship$5,000Mid-March
72Elizabeth Salter-Eby Memorial Scholarship$500Mid-March
73Stacy Guess Outstanding Musician Scholarship$1,000Mid-March
74Mark Beaumont Scholarship$2,500Late April
75MAPS Scholarship for Illustration & Animation$3,000Late May
76MTNA Senior Performance Competition$2,000Mid-September
77MTNA Junior Performance Competition$1,000Mid-September
78MTNA Young Artist Performance Competition$3,000Mid-September
79Neiman Marcus Awards$1,000Varies
80Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship Program$2,500Early October
81North American Auto Show Poster Contest$1,000Mid-November
82Notre Dame of Maryland University Art Scholarship Competition$5,000Early February
83Peggy and Richard Calvert Endowed ScholarshipVariesMid-February
84Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation$5,000Early March
85Research Scholarship in Photograph Conservation$52,000Early December
86Jazz Education Network (JEN) Scholarship Program$3,000Mid-October
87Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships$25,800Late April
88Nickles for Notes Music Scholarship$500Early February
89Beekuis Scholarship$3,000Mid-March
90Seymour Gitin Distinguished ProfessorshipVariesMid-October
91John Audino Memorial Scholarship$2,400Late August
92Sue Jockusch Endowed ScholarshipVariesMid-February
93Washington American Indian Endowed Scholarship$2,000Early February
94Mary Baker Emerick Art Scholarships University of Montana-Western Foundation$2,000Early March
95Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award$10,000Early February
96Iowa Scholarship for the Arts$1,500Early March
97Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Individual Fellowship$8,000Early November
98Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship$6,000Early November
99Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Undergraduate Fellowship$4,000Early November
100Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Collaborative Fellowship$8,000Early November

Step-by-Step Advice for Winning an Art Scholarship

The arts encompass a variety of categories, including painting, photography, design and illustration, as well as culinary, musical or literary artistic forms. These multiple artistic genres can lead to rewarding careers after graduation. Here are eight ways to identify and win scholarships for art degrees:

  1. Narrow the fieldTo begin the process, sort art scholarships you’re interested in by state or college, enrollment level, ethnicity, renewability and GPA requirements. Keeping the eligibility requirements in mind helps applicants think about what the scholarship committee is looking for so applicants can subtly integrate that theme into their application.
  2. Look for specialized art scholarshipsAlthough prospective students certainly want to check out all of their options and gather a pool of as many scholarships as possible, focusing on applying to specialized scholarships may be a winning strategy because they will have fewer competitors.
  3. Compile a captivating portfolioWhen putting together a portfolio, artists want to let their best works shine through, but they shouldn’t play it safe: It’s important to demonstrate range and creativity as well. If applying to a particular field within art, applicants should compile a portfolio personalized to that interest.
  4. Nail the introductionAlthough a great portfolio will get the committee’s attention, a perfect personal statement will show readers that the artist can follow through on that talent. Be provocative. Start with an enticing hook that draws the readers in. Tell them why they need to keep reading.
  5. Write a passionate personal statementIn personal statements, art students want to express their talent and indicate what they wish to pursue within art. While they should be professional by linking to future career goals, they must make sure their passion and artistry shine through by including details about their personal background.
  6. Don’t get stage frightThe application is a chance to showcase talent, not shrink from it. Applicants should bring up any achievements, awards, recognitions or special honors they have received, all of which demonstrate a track record of dedication and success.
  7. Be conciseScholarship committee members are required to read a lot of essays, so applicants should not take too much of their time. They are more likely to stand out by having a short essay that is to the point than a longer one that covers everything.
  8. EditTo keep the essay short and sweet, applicants should edit it multiple times. The goal is not just to eliminate mistakes but to craft tighter prose. Since even the best writers have editors, applicants should get someone else to proofread their essay and provide feedback.

Alternative Routes to Pay for Your Art Degree

Besides scholarships and financial aid, there are many other ways to fund an education. Here are a few ideas on how to save or get money for a future degree:

Bulk up on savings

There are many personal choices potential students can make in everyday life to save up for an art degree. Students can take advantage of bank-sponsored programs that automate deposits into savings accounts or round up purchases to the nearest dollar and place the remainder in a savings account. Every dollar adds up, and students can save without even thinking about it.

Seek out tax deductions

The federal government has tax policies favorable to students, so it’s not a bad idea to talk with a tax accountant well before filing day to see what education-related expenses are eligible for deductions.

Go to work

Some art programs allow students to bypass prerequisites if they can demonstrate experience, leading to both a reduced course load and lower costs.

Get a certificate instead

Certifications might be a money-saving way to get professional experience in art that can translate to a career. There are many art certifications, such as art education, forensic art and art therapy that can save time and money. The requirements for entry range from holding a bachelor’s degree to possessing work experience to passing examinations. If students want to teach art, there are also varying types of teacher licensure programs that come with the completion of a recognized preparation program. Check with specific colleges about their program options.

Crowdfund your art degree

Crowdfunding sites are a great way for students to raise money for education by getting donations from sponsors and the community. Since many crowdfunding sites were set up for creative types, art students are at a particular advantage. Here are three sites to consider:

GoFundMe

People can raise money for anything using GoFundMe, which charges users about eight percent of the total amount they raise.

Patreon

Artists can cultivate a network of patrons who pay to see the work they produce. Rather than earning money in a lump sum, Patreon lets donors give monthly. The service keeps about nine to 11 percent of pledges for operating costs.

Indiegogo

This free service, which charges about eight percent in fees, is open to anyone wanting to fund a project, including an educational endeavor.

Extra Resources to Find Art Scholarships & Funding

There are many organizations, schools and companies that provide scholarships to prospective art students seeking ways to fund their education. Search these websites for additional art degree funding options:

Arteducators.org

Art Educators provides a list of scholarships available to prospective art students wanting to further their education. Students can find specialized art scholarships pertaining to their artistic interests.

FAFSA

The federal government is the biggest provider of money for college. All students should fill out an application to see what they can get, especially if they have little in the way of funds.

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

Winners of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, get generous funding for tuition, an internship abroad, expensive art supplies or projects.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The organization behind these awards recognize, exhibit and publish youth talent. It focuses on rewarding the unique talents of youth in the fields of art and providing opportunities for higher education.

Womenarts.org

This site provides resources for aspiring women artists looking to further their studies in their prospective field. Scholarships are sorted by state, college and enrollment level.

Worldstudio AIGA

This site provides resources for minority or economically disadvantaged students who are interested in art. It shares information on scholarships for these students and encourages them to give back to the community through their pursuits.

For more information, visit our College Learning and Resource Center. It’s packed with expert insight and resources to succeed in college.

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