Foundation Names First TJ Art Scholars

The Tom Joyner Foundation announced the names of its first art scholars as part of its effort to invest in the next generation of African-American visual artists.

The TJF Fine Arts Scholarship Program awarded the two (2) deserving students at HBCUs a $1,000 scholarship from the Foundation. The program is funded with money from a portion of the proceeds from the art sales on the 2014 Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage. Students who are visual arts majors had to apply earlier this year by submitting  a link to a sample of one piece of their artwork or photography, including the name of the piece, the inspiration behind the work and if a painting or sketch, the medium.

Here are the winners and their artwork:

DaRon Spence TJF Fine Arts Scholarship Recipient for Johnson C. SmithDaRon Spence artwork

DaRon Spence is a graphic design major at Johnson C. Smith University from Richmond, Virginia. The sample he submitted, done in graphite and oil pastel, was titled “Life”. His inspiration was the liveliness of Spring. DaRon believes that art is necessary for a peaceful community that encourages many and great values into youth as well as their elders.

Spence’s future plans are to obtain a bachelor’s with a double major in art education and animation. He hopes to work within a private or public school’s art department to teach youth the importance of art and how to find their own creative styles that will individualize them from others within the art field.


Ellesse Garvin TJF Fine Arts Scholarship Recipient for Spelman Ellesse Garvin artwork

Ellesse Garvin is a fine art major at Spelman College from Pooler, Georgia. The sample she submitted was titled “Portrait of a Brown Woman”. The medium was acrylic and her inspiration was the lack of people of color depicted in Renaissance artwork. She was inspired to study the reasons behind their lack of representation and insert the black women into these portraits.

Garvin believes that art is an important factor to all humanity. As art education programs are decreasing at an alarming rate, she says it is becoming more necessary for the next generation to appreciate and create art. Ellesse aspires to become an international artist and curator as well as to open a creative center dedicated to the arts and yoga.