Gallery Raising Funds For Fine Arts Scholarship

BERLIN — The fundraising efforts for another Berlin Fine Arts (BFA) scholarship are currently underway.

Now entering its seventh year, one of the original founders, Kevin Fitzgerald, said this week he hopes the scholarship has proved its value to the community and will be carried on by his fellow artists after he steps down someday in the future.

The $1,000 scholarship is given every year to a graduating senior at Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) who plans to pursue visual arts in college. Fitzgerald explained that the funds, which come without conditions or strings, are meant as a way to help students interested in pursuing a creative career afford to do so.

“It’s just to raise awareness and to encourage students to think along those lines,” he said.

While there are many scholarships available to graduating seniors, Fitzgerald pointed out that the BFA scholarship is relatively unique by promoting the arts.

“Lots of times academic scholarships are special things for math and sciences,” he said.

The BFA award is given to the senior applicant who displays the greatest interest in pursuing a long-term relationship with art.

“It’s not necessarily need based,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s desire and talent. It’s mostly inclination.”

The scholarship was one of the first things to come out of Berlin’s Water’s Edge Gallery, which is responsible for funding the prize. According to Fitzgerald, a portion of proceeds from the gallery will be directed to the scholarship. He described the gallery as an important part of Berlin’s landscape and a beacon for local artists.

“It’s a venue for quality fine arts in the town of Berlin … You don’t have to go to a big city to see the very best in visual arts,” said Fitzgerald.

The community of artists is growing, he added, and has been for many years. It is that collection of local artists that Fitzgerald hopes will carry on the torch of the BFA scholarship for many years.

“I’d like to have it so artists in the community work together towards this and to expand this in the future … I’d like it to grow so awareness is enhanced and increased,” he said.

Water’s Edge will be featured once again in Berlin’s monthly 2nd Friday Art Stroll, which will take place on Dec. 14 from 5-8 p.m. Winners from last month’s silent auction will be revealed as well as the drawing of raffle items and door prizes. As mentioned by Fitzgerald, a portion of the proceeds from gallery sales from now through next Friday will be used to fund the $1,000 scholarship.