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Beyond the Benefit: Q&A with Cierra Fountain, CSU Friends of Art Scholarship Recipient

Landscape by Celia Solomon. Donated for the Funding Future Artists 2021 benefit.

By now, it's likely you've heard. This month, $30,000 was raised in 10 days for student scholarships through a new benefit for Columbus State University's Art Department. Funding Future Artists is a benefit exhibition thanks to a collaboration between Friends of Art and Highland Galerie. Funding Future Artists is the scholarship fund established by the Friends of Art (FOA) at Columbus State University.

A fund for students exactly like Cierra Fountain.

To better understand the intention and impact of Funding Future Artists, we corresponded with Fountain, a Friends of Art scholarship recipient. Read on to discover more about how Friends of Art has shaped her life, provided financial relief for her family, and why she is thrilled to see the fund continue to grow for others taking a similar path.

Q: Why did you choose to study art at CSU?

A: The Department of Art just had so many things to offer! I first came here through the All-State Art Symposium and remember being awestruck by the facilities and galleries. After coming back a second time, meeting the professors, and learning about the many opportunities available here (Friends of Art, study abroad, artist in residency, etc.), I knew this is where I wanted to continue my studies.

Q: What has your experience been like while studying at CSU?

A: I could not have asked for a better experience! In the past few years, I have helped create pieces with working artists, been a part of some very meaningful community projects, and created relationships that I believe will last for a very, very long time. I can definitely say that I have grown as both an artist and a person.

Q: What is your preferred medium?

A: I am a Graphic Design focus, but I also make quilts and illustrations.

Q: What year are you currently?

A: I am currently a senior, graduating this May.

Q: Can you share some memorable or life-shaping experiences that you've had during your time at CSU?

A: During the Summer of 2019, I was able to study abroad in Italy for a month. Throughout that time, I was emersed in so many different kinds of art, both historic and contemporary. I experienced so many fantastic meals, visited a plethora of cities in the Tuscany region, and created a lifetime of memories with my peers. It was one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

Q: How has the Friends of Art Scholarship impacted you?

A: This scholarship has taken a lot of financial stress off of me and my parents. The Friends of Art have aided with so many different costs, and I cannot begin to explain how much it is appreciated. More than financially, Friends of Art has shown me how a community can impact and foster the art world, as well as the youth entering it.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I am inspired by so many things, like my peers and professors, art history, nature, etc., but a big one is the community! In my most recent Graphic Design pieces, I have aimed to bring awareness to issues that affect those around me, like the mental health of young adults.

Q: Are there any faculty or Friends of Art members who have personally impacted you?

A: The Department of Art faculty holds a special place in my heart because each of them have added to my own personal growth. Hannah Israel, Professor and Gallery Director, has definitely acted as a mentor to me for the past three/four years. Lark Champion, a Friend of Art, has also taught me so many things in such a short amount of time! She is one of the sweetest, most hardworking women that I have ever worked with.

Q: Why do you think the Funding Future Artists benefit exhibition is important?

A: This scholarship is so important! The relief it can provide students and parents is really unbelievable. The Friends of Art help provide students with experiences that they will cherish forever, and with this benefit exhibition many future students could have those experiences.

Also, I love Columbus! I think the way that this community is so involved in the Arts is amazing. I feel very lucky to be a part of it. ◼︎


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