Updated: Apr 12
Everyday, it is our entire mission to help inspire and empower young artists of underserved communities to creatively express themselves through different realms of the art world. One of the ways we are proud to say we successfully help these young artists is through our Aid For The Arts scholarship program. With our scholarships, we can help create opportunities for art students, allowing them to not only freely express themselves, but empower them to see a realistic future in art. Ensuring that this opportunity is as readily available to underserved communities as it is in communities with ease of access to the arts is of the utmost importance and at the forefront of our mission.
Young Artists in the Spotlight
We want to take this opportunity to share one of our rising stars with you and showcase her wonderful artwork. The artist we’re sharing with you today is Gianna Preston, one of our recent scholarship recipients.
Currently a senior at Cape Cod Teach in Harwich, MA, Giana is a thriving art student that we are so proud of. Starting as a young artist at just nine years old, Giana has had dreams of opening an art gallery and non-profit of her own. When she was a junior in high school, Giana was accepted to a pre-college intensive summer art program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. With the scholarship we provided to Giana, we were able to ensure her ability to take part in this amazing program.
Named as an “Outstanding Artist” by the American Scholastic Press Association, the Cape Cod Tech senior’s art focuses on inclusivity and diverse racial backgrounds. Gianna explains, “I love to make people happy with my art. I want people to hang it up on their walls. I also love when people acknowledge my art. But I also want people to remember that representation matters.”
We are so proud of Gianna, and are thrilled to have been able to support her with a scholarship when she attended a pre-college intensive summer art program at the Pratt Institute. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young artist.
Why Our Art Program is So Important
Supporting artists like Gianna can empower a generation of shakers and change makers. People like this are helping to create a space where there is inclusion and representation.
In fact, representation is one of the reasons why I pride myself in being a teaching artist. There are problematic realities that play a huge factor in the socioeconomic and racial disparities in my city. The Pennsylvania Department of Education released data from 2016-2017 showing that the majority of students are Black at 53% but the majority of teachers are White at 85%. In fact, the majority of the teachers within the Pittsburgh Public School District are white women. Representation matters. I am playing my part by showing up, adding valuable curriculum, and being a role model to show young people of color that they too can take on leadership roles when they get older. Even if they don’t see a lot of leaders in the classroom that look like them right now.
Gianna’s work makes me feel proud. It makes me feel seen. And if I feel like that at my age, I can only imagine how her work will positively affect a young person who is just getting acquainted with the world.
Congratulations Giana. We’re so proud of you for the empowering art you create, for getting into the Pratt Institute summer art program, and for making the front page of the Cape Cod Times!