Wednesday, May 2, 2007

From wine, scholarships flow

Sun Valley Center for the Arts doles out record amount

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts has announced it will award a record amount of scholarship funds to 38 Blaine County residents worth $56,584. The total is the highest in the Ketchum-based organization's history.

"Thanks to funds raised at our annual Wine Auction, we have been able to increase the amount we give, which is fortunate because every year we have a corresponding increase in the number of qualified applicants," said Britt Udesen, The Center's director of Education and Humanities. Scholarships are funded through proceeds from the Wine Auction and by private donations.

The Center offers arts and humanities scholarships for high school students and educators, and the Gay V. Weake Scholarship for college students majoring in the arts and humanities. The Center also administers the Ezra Pound Award for the Visual Arts, which is given to a Blaine County high school junior.

"Our scholarship program underscores our commitment to fostering creativity among local residents, especially Wood River Valley youth," Udesen said. "We are fortunate to have many generous individuals who share this commitment and help us raise the money for these awards."

This year, 27 students received scholarships to attend a variety of summer programs. These include Mammoth Lakes Jazz Camp, language immersion programs, the Whitman College Summer Dance Lab, the Berklee College of Music, the City Ballet Summer Intensive in San Diego, hip-hop dance classes, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

In addition, two Community School teachers were awarded grants. Zoey Crawford will attend the Idaho Art Education Association Conference and Veronique Forgeat will study Arabic in Morocco.

Juan Carlos Reyes and Jessica Rice were awarded Gay V. Weake Scholarships, which were created by two anonymous donors in honor of a former executive director of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. Reyes plans to study music at the College of Southern Idaho and Rice will pursue a theater performance program at the University of Idaho. Four current college students had their Gay V. Weake Scholarships renewed.

This year's recipient of the Ezra Pound Award for the Visual Arts is Connor Caraluzzi. The award goes to a Blaine County junior for advanced study during the summer before senior year. With these funds Caraluzzi will attend a residential photography program at the School of Cinema and Performing Arts in Brooklyn, N.Y. The award is made possible through the generosity of part-time Hailey resident Jennifer Wilson, who was instrumental in acquiring and remodeling the poet Ezra Pound's birthplace, now known as The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Hailey.

Awards are based on artistic merit, application materials and financial need. Each applicant submits references, essays, and background information to a committee made up of local residents with experience in education, either as school board members, teachers or parents.

"This is the first time I've sat on this committee, but I've sat on other scholarship committees at the high school and college level, and I was just amazed at the quality of the applications," said committee member Gail Wilkie. "This is the largest pool of applicants The Center has ever had, which made the process very, very competitive, but at the same time it was fun because the applicants were so talented and well qualified."

A reception for recipients and their families will be held Monday, May 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Center, in downtown Ketchum.

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