Houston art students win grants

HOUSTON The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and the Texas Cultural Trust have announced the 2008 class of Young Masters. The Young Masters grant program provides exemplary art students in grades 8-12 with the financial help they need to pursue advanced study in the areas of visual arts, literature, music, theatre, dance and media arts. This year's promising group of grant recipients includes three students from Houston who have demonstrated exceptional artistic talent.

The Young Masters from the Houston area are: Catherine Cleary, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; Maureen Fenninger, St. Anne Catholic School, Boris Karash, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and Robbie Moore from Porter.

  • Catherine Cleary is in the eleventh grade and studies the visual arts at Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She plans to pursue drawing, sculpture and performance art at the Art Institute of Chicago's Early College Summer Program. Catherine would like to "enhance her current skills" as well as "explore additional areas of interest." She is also interested in the summer programs offered by Maryland Institute College of Art and Rhode Island School of Design.
  • Maureen Fenninger is an eighth grader from Houston and is pursing musical theatre. She plans on attending the Oklahoma City University High School Musical Theater Program. Maureen appreciates the well roundedness of the program as it "covers dance, career pursuits, acting, voice and music theory." She is active in the theatre community in Houston and has performed in productions at numerous theatres including the Alley and Theatre Under the Stars.
  • Boris Karash is a senior from Houston who is studying two-dimensional visual arts. He would like to attend the Artists on the Move Program in Greece. This program will give him an opportunity to study drawing, painting and printmaking, as well as the study of ancient ruins and sites. Boris is an active member of the installation based Aquarium Club and the Gallery Committee at his school.
  • Robbie Moore is a tenth grader from Porter who is studying ballet and modern dance. He plans on traveling to New York to study at the Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive and the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop at the University of Colorado. He is interested in pursuing his own choreography in addition to studying a variety of dance styles.
The state's most talented artists will receive the title of "Young Master" and will be awarded grants of up to $2,500 per year to further their studies in their chosen arts disciplines. Students are eligible to receive the grant for up to three years, but they must reapply annually. The three selected Houston students are a part of the fourth class of Young Masters. The Trust and TCA have awarded 107 grants to 52 previous Young Masters, granting $267,500 to aspiring artists prior to this year's class.

"These young artists were identified as Young Masters due to their phenomenal artistic ability as well as their dedication to developing their talents and knowledge in their chosen discipline," said TCA Chair Billye Proctor Shaw. "The Commission takes great pride in helping these young people become prominent artists of the next generation."

This year's class includes 15 student artists from across Texas. The chosen students include: Julia Cinquemani, Dallas; Catherine Cleary, Houston; Torrance Cobb, Beaumont; Maureen Fenninger, Houston; Bernadette Gnass, Wimberley; Boris Karash, Houston; Rachael Milton, Austin; Robbie Moore, Porter; Amber Pickens, Dallas; Katie Pipkin, Austin; Rosemary Clare Salvucci, San Antonio; Christine Smith, Dallas; Thales Smith, Austin; Robert Switala, Grapevine; and Kira Viola, El Paso.

"The Texas Cultural Trust is extremely excited to assist such a gifted group of young artists pursue their dreams," said Trust Chair Leslie Blanton. "With our support through monetary funds and quality mentoring experiences, these Young Masters will have amazing opportunities to continue expressing themselves artistically and succeed in their respective disciplines."

In order to be considered for the grant, students must be U.S. citizens living in Texas and participating in a school-based program, a summer institute, or a specialized course of study or receiving private lessons from a qualified professional instructor. They must also maintain passing grades in all academic areas.

Young Masters were selected by a citizen panel of experts from across the state based on level of potential, level of commitment and quality of their proposed plan of action. Selection is sensitive to students who have potential yet may be underserved in their community due to financial need or geographic isolation. Disbursement for this class of Young Masters will begin in the summer of 2008. This program was made possible by generous contributions from AT&T Foundation, Applied Materials, Anheuser Busch Foundation, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Emerson Electric, Debbie and John Montford of the Plum Foundation, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Mrs. W.D. Noel, Mr. George Mitchell, Ray C. Fish Foundation, Raytheon and Texas Women for the Arts.

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