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SCAD alum pays it forward with scholarship fund

District Staff


The newly-founded Tiffani Taylor Painting Scholarship Fund will have its first exhibition show June 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ruth’s Chris on Bay Street. The show features the work of Tiffani Taylor and the first recipient of the scholarship, Adam Winnie.

Winnie, a third-year painting major, applied for the Tiffani Taylor Painting Scholarship during fall quarter of last year.

“There was a limited amount of scholarships tailored to painting majors,” Winnie said, “and I focused predominantly on hers.”

Since it is one of few painting scholarships, it has high expectations. Candidates must be full-time, undergraduate painting majors with 90 credit hours before spring quarter and maintain a 3.8 GPA. Taylor has set the bar high for students, and she can relate having graduated from SCAD in 2003.

When she attended SCAD, Taylor had a presidential scholarship. Taylor, who received her BFA in painting and MFA in art history, hoped to one day pay it forward. Her dream of supporting others through a fund would not have been possible without the support of her friends and patrons Dan Hirsh and Angella Rupelli.

“They collected my artwork before I ever met them,” Taylor said. “I was assisting with the alumni scholarship and saw how much financial need there is.”

Taylor then expressed her thoughts to Hirsh and Rupelli who donated the first $5,000 on the spot, contingent on the fund being in Taylor’s name.

“[The fund] really originated through patronage of my art and dear friends who love art and want to give back,” Taylor said.

Although Taylor doesn’t get to hand-select the students who receive her scholarship, she knew upon meeting Winnie, that he was the perfect candidate.

“I saw the caliber of his work, and I immediately, organically, thought of my next art exhibit at Ruth’s Chris and exhibiting his art,” Taylor said.

The scholarship and Taylor’s support came just as Winnie needed it most.

“I was on my way to Alexander to work on a self-portrait for my materials and techniques class,” Winnie said. “I left my house on my small motorcycle and I got to about Barnard and 32nd Street when another vehicle pulled out in front of me.”

The accident left Winnie in the hospital with a fractured collarbone, a fractured fibula, fractured ribs and a concussion. Before the accident, Winnie spent twelve to fourteen hours a day in his studio painting. Although Winnie is in full recovery, he has not mustered the inspiration or energy to paint.

Along with the featured artwork of Winnie and Taylor, a silent auction will be held to benefit the scholarship fund. The fund sits at $20,000, which Taylor hopes to increase with annual receptions and auctions like the one on June 3.

“I just want to see the fund grow,” Taylor said. “I want to connect [recipients of the scholarship] with patrons. We all want to see our work on the wall.”