Washougal WA — Washougal eighth grade student, Zoe Hill, was one of five Clark County youth to be awarded a $500 Arts Ambassador Scholarship by Enspire Arts, a new, local non-profit which supports young artists in the fields of music, visual art, dance, drama and literary arts. Other 2018 winners are: Aaron Greene of Union High School (music), Zachary Lipinski of Heritage High School (music), Cassidy Watson of Camas High School (dance), and Zayah Shore of Liberty Middle School (music).
Hill was excited and honored to be selected as a winner for her work in visual arts. She learned about the opportunity through an email from Jemtegaard Middle School Principal, David Cooke.
“I thought, why not!” she said.
The scholarships are designed for students entering grades 6-12 in the upcoming school year and may be used for private instruction, workshops, and/or summer study. As a scholarship recipient, each student winner agrees to be an Arts Ambassador and “gift” some of their art or talent to the community.
“Enspire Arts believes in building community through the sharing of artistic expression and encourages youth to reach out and positively impact those in their community,” said Enspire Arts President, Sarah Lightfoot. Examples are providing music at a senior center, leading peer-to-peer instruction or donating art for display at a homeless shelter.
The application process began last spring and included listing applicants’ previous art instruction, artistic goals and how they might give back to the community through art. Letters of recommendation were also required and for those Hill counted on her JMS band instructor, Dr. Jennifer Snapp and JMS art teacher, Dani Allen. “They were so wonderful to read,” she said. “I have them up on my wall at home.”
The final steps were a personal interview and sharing of her sketch book. Hill is looking forward to using her $500 scholarship for her first formal art instruction and to work with an Enspire Arts Board Member as a mentor to implement a way to give art back to the community.
Hill said she currently uses her art as a stress reliever and as something to do when she is bored. “I doodle a lot,” she admits. Her artistic style has changed through the years, starting with anime and then to more detailed and realistic sketching. “I’m back to more animated and cartoon-like imagery now,” she explained.
Hill sparked an interest from the Enspire Arts scholarship selection committee through a painted piece she created for Snapp when the school choir teacher, Jen Mahorney, passed away suddenly last spring. “This piece demonstrated that Zoe is already using her art to connect with people,” said Lightfoot.
“Enspire Arts was founded with the idea that kids, no matter what skill level can have a positive impact on their community with their artwork.” Lightfoot explained. “The scholarship applicants’ art submission is an accomplishment that exhibits a meaningful and positive contribution to the community of Clark County.”
Hill’s submission, along with the other four winners, will be unveiled and highlighted at Enspire Arts “Tango & Tapas” event on Saturday, October 13 at 7 p.m. The themed fundraiser will be filled with music and dance and held at the new Black Pearl event facility in Washougal on the Columbia River. Money raised will support Enspire Arts projects. More information can be found at enspirearts.org.
“Our event will feature music of the evening by Latin Jazz vocalist, Jessie Marquez and Clay Giberson, keyboard,” said Lightfoot. “Guests will enjoy professional Tango performances, a short Intro to Tango community dance lesson and a light selection of Tapas small plates and soft drinks included in the ticket price.” A cash bar will be available.
“We believe in the power of creativity to empower youth and build stronger communities,” said Lightfoot. “We are dedicated to creating vibrant and interactive arts experiences that positively impact communities and engage future generations of artists.”