Andrea Melchor, Valeria Gasco Prado and Reyna Salazar have a good idea of the value of art in their lives: $2000, for a start! Each of them is $2000 closer to achieving an advanced educational degree because they have been awarded scholarships by Virgin Valley Artists Association.
The three young women plan to make a career in an aspect of visual arts. They were encouraged by their Virgin Valley HS art teacher, Jon Putnam, to apply for an annual scholarship offered by Virgin Valley Artists Association. Traditionally, the arts group awards $1000 to one or two valley seniors, intending to foster careers in the arts or art education. VVAA scholarship funds went unclaimed for the past two years, however, leaving the organization with a pool of cash earmarked for that purpose.
When Mr. Putnam was notified of VVAA’s desire to help graduating seniors, he and VVHS counselor, Christy Davis, urged students to complete an application. Melchor, Prado, and Salazar answered that call, though nobody was of informed of the exact value to be awarded. Each student was simply hoping to augment their own savings, grants, and other sources of money needed to pay for their future education.
The VVAA scholarship committee, headed by Sandy Cooper, reviewed the three applications received, and saw high potential for success in each of the young women. Taking the field of candidates to the VVAA Board of Directors, the Board agreed to award a scholarship to each of the grads, and voted additional money to the fund, rounding out each award to $2000.
On VVHS Awards Night, VVAA president Jean Wiensch announced scholarships for three winners, to the excited surprise of all.
Winner Andrea Melchor has been an artist at heart from a young age. She would watch her father sketch drawings, and his aptitude for sketching inspired her to take art classes all through her school years. She heads off to college to be an elementary teacher, and has decided to specialize in teaching art. She knows she can bring color into the lives of her students.
Scholarship recipient Valeria Gasca Prado has set her sights on a marketing career, and will attend UNLV, majoring in marketing, with a minor in graphic design. She is excited to use those skills to connect with people through the universal language of art, creating new ideas and concepts for products and services.
Winning artist Reyna Salazar loves the dedication, planning and emotion that goes into photography. She understands the personal connections that people make with what they view, and wants to excel in establishing her own photographic style. She plans to study at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, and leaves her career path open to whatever photographic adventure—fashion, travel, action, portraits– that presents itself to her.
As these outstanding 2015 graduates take their next step in fulfilling their career paths, VVAA wishes them well.
Virgin Valley Artists Association is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that is dedicated to promoting the power of the arts. The 200 members of the organization operate the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery. They create the original artwork and giftware that is sold in the gallery, and staff the gallery through all-volunteer efforts. The organization also operates the VVAA Pottery Studio that is open to the public.
VVAA offers art and pottery classes and presents a variety of free lectures and cultural events for the community. See more information at website www.mesquitefineartscenter.com, or visit the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery at 15 West Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada. The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 702-346-1338.