Reflection and Inspiration: Bluewolf Art Scholarship's Two-Year Anniversary

July 7, 2017

When the Bluewolf Art Scholarship launched two years ago, we hoped it would not just enrich our culture and environment, but further the growth of the students at Parsons School of Design. I followed up with a few of our past winners to see where they are now, and how the scholarship has impacted their careers. To truly capture their feelings about the program, I've left their stories in their own words.

Tariku Shiferaw (Summer 2015)
My work was featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial through Occupy Museums' Debtfair, and my first New York solo exhibition "One of These Black Boys" is currently open at Anthony Philip Fine Art. This will be followed by my first international solo exhibition on September 14th in London, England at Addis Fine Art. 

Bluewolf gave me the opportunity to further develop my thesis work after graduating, and the two months I spent during the summer of 2015 planning and working on the exhibition allowed my work to develop and mature. That also led to my current body of work currently being featured in the aforementioned exhibitions. If I hadn't had this scholarship in combination with the TV show "Empire" picking up my work in summer 2015, I would have probably moved back to Los Angeles, and I'm still here in New York two years later.

Fernando do Campo (Spring 2016)
Since graduating from Parsons Fine Arts MFA Program, I have presented a series of major works in group and solo exhibitions in Australia and the US. These include: An ongoing collaboration with Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn; A performance at Why Listen to Animals? at Westpace, Melbourne; a critical essay publication for the NextWave Festival, Melbourne; and a solo exhibition of new paintings at Praxis Gallery, New York. I'm currently working towards a major solo commission for Ararat Regional Gallery and Museum, Victoria (AUS) where I am working with the community and their local history archives to uncover a story of the introduction of species in the nineteenth century. In February this year, I accepted a position as Associate Lecturer at UNSW Art + Design, one of Australia's best art and design schools, and I will be starting a PhD program in 2018. 

To have an award that both supports the rigorous and financially straining commitment to graduate fine arts study in the US while producing a real-life professional development opportunity is quite a rare achievement. As such, the Bluewolf Art Scholarship assisted me greatly in being able to afford my final MFA semester, but in addition, it offered me an opportunity to work towards a major installation of my work in a public space.

Luma Jasim (Fall 2016)
I just graduated from Parsons this May and during the last semester, I started applying to different artist residencies, fellowships, and many other opportunities. Recently I learned that I'm one of four winners of the 2017 AAF (The American Austrian Foundation)/ Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts. As a winner I will attend Tony Chakar's course, On Seeking Incuriously from July 31 -- August 12, 2017, in Austria!
Every award, scholarship, fellowship, grant, or exhibition means a lot to any artist; it makes us believe more in what we create and gives us a push to expand our exploration. I think it makes us mentally positive.   

The funding helped me survive some financial issues in a very crucial time. I was also able to buy the art supplies I needed for my thesis project. The scholarship expanded my connections by getting wider exposure, and the experience of working with Bluewolf was a perfect introduction to professional life as an artist.

Luma, Fernando, and Tariku are just three of the eight talented artists we've had the privilege of working with through this art program. Their continued growth and professional achievements are inspiring and exciting. Hearing from them only increases our passion and support for this scholarship and partnership with Parsons. 

Our current installation, Bittersweet Dreams, features the work of Gal Cohen and Seungkyung Oh. If you're interested in learning more about the program, current and past artists, or how to start a similar initiative, get in touch.

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