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  • Stacey Bowers / Photography by Mark Fonville

How Far Can You Go with a Thea Scholarship: Our Scholars Speak

Every year, Thea Foundation awards 30 scholarships to students across Arkansas. Our scholarships are completely inclusive, meaning they're never awarded based on test scores, GPAs, or intent to major in the arts. Students may take their scholarship to any college or trade school they prefer, but if they attend one of Thea's 27 partnering institutions, including every 4-year college in Arkansas, they'll get a matching scholarship from that school that often exceeds what students win from Thea.

"Because of the Thea Foundation and its partnership with Oklahoma City University I will get double the scholarship I was awarded and for that I am forever grateful.." - Laura Leigh Turner, of North Little Rock, 3rd place Performing Arts Scholarship Winner, 2015.

"I feel that my art has made me more confident and outgoing because it challenges me to look inward and push myself to my maximum potential." - Justice Henderson, of Morrilton, 6th place Visual Arts Scholarship Competition, 2015. Justice enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where her scholarship was matched.

“Thea made my first year and thus my entire undergraduate education possible, My family was not able to fully afford the cost of attendance of my fist year initially, and Thea alleviated that stress.”- Ken-Matt Martin, of Little Rock, 3rd place Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, 2008. Ken-Matt earned two undergraduate degrees at Drake, one for theatre arts and one for public relations, and founded the Pyramid Theater Company in Iowa. You can see him perform April 29 at Into the Blue, benefiting Thea Foundation.

“Dance taught me dedication and confidence. It taught me that I should always be a student with an open mind, and that consistent training would lead to moments on stage and off where I knew exactly the kind of person I was and the person I want to be." - Amy Bramlett-Turner, of Hot Springs, 7th place Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, 2007. Amy graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.F.A. in ballet and contemporary dance. She travelled the world dancing before becoming the dance director at Hot Springs High School.

"The arts have taught me how to like myself... especially being a theater performer, learning different characters and portraying different characters, you learn how to be that kind of person, and it teaches you how to be yourself. And I think that's one of the most important things about life: learning how to be yourself and loving yourself." - Elijah Ash, of Little Rock, 2nd place Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, 2014. Elijah enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University to study musical theater. He performed at Thea Foundation's inaugural Into the Blue in 2015.

"I got into four really good musical theater programs and I can definitely attribute that to having the confidence of winning this prestigious scholarship." - Katie Emerson, of Jonesboro, 1st place Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, 2005. After graduating from Elon University, Katie traveled the world performing. Her credits include Peter Pan in Peter Pan, produced by New Stage Theatre; Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s Hello, Dolly!; Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Hairspray, The Little Mermaid and Evita; Heritage Theatre Festival’s The Light in the Piazza, and much more. You can see her perform April 29 at Into the Blue, benefiting Thea Foundation.

“Had Thea not helped me gain the recognition I did through winning their scholarship, I would have never been able to afford such a prestigious school... Thea helped boost my confidence greatly. I would have never applied to the colleges that I did had I not won the scholarship.” - Michelle Raab, of Shirley, 1st place Visual Arts Scholarship Competition, 2007. Before Michelle won her Thea scholarship, she had no funding for college and no clear plans to attend school. After winning, she applied to Savannah College of Art and Design, which recognized her talent and offered her a full ride. She graduated with a B.F.A. in interior design and a minor in Marine Design.

"I have always dreamed since I was young that one day I would be a very prestigious and famous artist. Thanks to the Thea Foundation, they have helped me take one of the first steps into making my dream a reality." - Chance Wallace, of Cabot, 1st place Visual Arts Scholarship Competition, 2014. Chance is a junior at the University of Central Arkansas, where he received a matching scholarship on top of his Thea scholarship and is earning a B.F.A. with an emphasis in painting.

"If I hadn't competed in the slam competition, I wouldn't have pursued poetry at college, meaning I wouldn't have met an amazing community of poets at Yale, nor would I have learned about and become president of the spoken word group I'm in. Ultimately, the arts have taught me the importance of seeing things in new ways and have helped me share joy and comfort to those who need it." - Alex Zhang, 1st place Poetry Slam Scholarship Competition, 2014. Alex is enrolled at Yale University, where he's majoring in American Studies.

"The arts have been a huge influencer in my life. I've danced for 15 years and being on stage not only improved my self confidence but also improved my public speaking skills. Winning the Thea scholarship allowed for me to attend school with less financial stress, as well as making friends who also won Thea scholarships at UALR. I'm so thankful for the donors who give to Thea in order to provide scholarships and continue to support students in the arts." - Sydney Brazil, of North Little Rock, 8th place Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, 2016. Sydney is attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which partners with Thea Foundation to offer our winners an additional $14,000 each in scholarships.

Your gift to Thea Foundation keeps the arts alive in Arkansas. Please, help us reach our goal of $30,000 on Arkansas Gives, Thursday, April 6, and your donation will be matched by the Arkansas Community Foundation, meaning even more creative materials and arts programming in Arkansas schools! Arkansas Gives is a statewide, sponsored and matched day of giving where $400,000 worth of matching dollars are on the line for Arkansas nonprofits, and our goal is to raise $30,000 in eight hours. Please, bookmark this page, mark your calendar, and donate to Thea Foundation through the Arkansas Gives website on April 6!

Donate Here on April 6!

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