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BIG ARTS awards scholarships, receives donation

By Staff | Jul 2, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED BIG ARTS Programs and Gallery Manager Lauren Huff with Marianne Ravenna, from the Tower Gallery.

The BIG ARTS Performing and Visual Arts scholarship recently received a $2,000 gift from the Tower Gallery. The scholarship is awarded annually to high school and college students looking to further their education in the arts. This year, a total of $10,000 was awarded to three students: Farah Alkhadra, Isabella Sbarra and Emily Schaf.

“Supporting arts in the community is at the core of the BIG ARTS mission,” Programs and Gallery Manager Lauren Huff said. “It’s great when the community comes together to support these incredibly talented students. We are very grateful to Marianne Ravenna and Tower Gallery for their generous support.”

Alkhadra is working toward her Bachelor of Arts in art, with a minor in English, at Florida Gulf Coast University. She plans to use her scholarship on art supplies needed for her classes and is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021. Alkhadra’s goal after graduation is to continue with curatorial work and art conservation in a museum setting.

Sbarra is a 2020 graduate of Cypress Lake High School and plans to attend Belmont University in the fall. She plans to use her scholarship toward tuition, and her goal is to learn skills that will root her in the music business. Sbarra plans to study music theory and digital audio workstations.

Schaff is in her final semester at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in art. She plans to use her scholarship toward her senior project and is working on proposals for the works she will showcase at the FGCU Wasmer Art Gallery at the end of the fall semester. After graduation, Schaff plans to continue her education and get her Master of Arts in painting.

The Tower Gallery gift was the result of an April auction featuring a piece by artist Mary Keough, a member of the co-op who has displayed her work at BIG ARTS. Proceeds from the auction are donated to a different island organization each year. Ravenna noted that this year’s had a personal connection.

“My son was a recipient of the BIG ARTS Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship in 2008 and used the money to attend Berklee College of Music,” she said. “For me it’s a special donation that we wanted to give because it’s personal.”