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8 top scholarships for arts students

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a scholarship can be worth a $1000 — or more.

We know that college is expensive, especially private arts schools and technical schools. Always look for scholarships since they’re free money that doesn't need to be repaid. Check out the list below for scholarships specific to arts students.

How we picked these scholarships.

When choosing scholarships for this list, we really wanted to focus on ones that provide a lot of support. All of the scholarships in this list are worth at least $1,000. Some also carry additional opportunities like internships and ambassador programs.

Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: June 17th

Number one on our list, this scholarship awards its recipient $10,000. Also, the winner receives an internship at a Wunderman Thompson advertising office, one-to-one mentoring and first-look placement at Wunderman Thompson after graduation. 

Interested in turning a love for art into a career in digital marketing? Then this scholarship could be for you. If you want to apply, gather three to five creative samples, a letter of recommendation from an instructor and complete a personal statement.

Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: February 3rd

The Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program is a unique option for art students because it’s open to so many different types of artists. Also, five awards worth $2,000 each are given out annually, and increases the probability of being chosen. 

Regardless of the type of art you choose to submit, make sure you review the submission requirements on the scholarships website. There are some restrictions on what can be submitted, for instance, for visual art only two-dimensional work such as drawing, painting, mixed media, printmaking and collage will be accepted. 

Catherine W. Pierce scholarship

  • Amount: Up to $4,350
  • Deadline: September 13th

Any scholarship worth over $4,000 is worth applying for and the Catherine W. Pierce scholarship is no exception. We love that not only are art students able to apply, but art history majors are also considered. 

In order to apply you will need to submit the application, a copy of your transcripts and an essay explaining what inspired you to choose your major, and your career interests and goals.

Unfortunately, performing arts students are not eligible.

Dorian De Long Arts & Music Scholarship

  • Amount: $1500-$2500 annually, up to four years
  • Deadline: March 1st

Dorian De Long was a passionate educator and education activist who believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The scholarship was created to help students pursue their passion and keep the love of the arts alive. 

Since the scholarship is renewable for up to four years, the application requirements are substantial. You will need to showcase an artistic piece and include two essay responses, two letters of recommendation and your high school transcripts. Once chosen, you will also act as a scholarship ambassador by attending various fundraising events each year. 

Lois Livingston McMillen Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies, typically over $2,000
  • Deadline: March 15th

The Lois Livingston McMillen Memorial Scholarship is provided through the Connecticut Community Foundation. Created in 2000 by Josephine and Russell McMillen in honor of their daughter, the scholarship is intended to memorialize Lois’s passion: to help other women pursue a career in art.

In order to apply you will need to submit the general scholarship application on the Connecticut Community Foundation page and check the box to add this scholarship. Although all artists can apply, artists in the visual arts of painting and design will get preference. 

Ritchie M. Gregory Fund

  • Amount: Varies, $2500 on average
  • Deadline: January 31st 

For Hawai’i residents who are pursuing a degree in art, this scholarship could really help lighten the financial burden. 

You’ll need to apply through the Hawai’i Community Foundation portal, and complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  to determine your level of financial need. The application will require your official transcripts, but you can also include ACT/SAT scores, organization affiliations and letters of recommendation. 

Zinggia Ohio Art Scholarship 

  • Amount: Varies, $2000 on average
  • Deadline: March 7th 

If you're a high school graduate in Ohio who’s interested in majoring in the arts, consider applying for the Zinggia Ohio Art Scholarship. Even though it is only open to Ohio residents, you don't need to be attending college in Ohio. 

Also, the scholarship can be used at two-year, four-year, technical or private art schools. In order to apply, you will need to submit the application as well as five samples of  your best artwork. 

The James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists

  • Amount: $2500
  • Deadline: November 15th

There are six scholarships awarded each year: five to undergraduate students and one to a graduate student. And while the eligibility requirements for this scholarship are pretty simple, qualification is rigorous. 

The winning recipients will need to submit a photojournalism piece that tells a story to the audience, covering broad topics ranging from breaking news to sporting events. Four of the winning undergraduate scholarships and the winning graduate scholarship are granted for video work, with only one scholarship awarded for print work.

How else can I pay for school? 

If you are unable to fund your entire program through scholarships, consider these additional funding options.

  • Federal grants. These are grants sponsored through the federal government and are another form of debt-free funding. You can qualify for some simply by completing the FAFSA application.
  • Institution grants and scholarships. All of the scholarships in our list are offered through independent organizations, not colleges or universities. Most schools will have their own institution-based grants and scholarships that they offer. Make sure to talk to the financial aid office at your school to apply for any available funding.
  • Federal loans. Once you have exhausted all debt-free funding options, then you can turn to loans. Use federal loans first, as they are easier to qualify for and typically have lower interest rates than private loans.

Compare student loans

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CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 – $500,000
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Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
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Bottom line. 

Pursuing your passion comes with a price. Luckily, there are tons of organizations and groups that want to provide scholarships to help you fund it. If you want more information on other forms of funds, check out our guide to student loans

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