Friends of Art and Highland Galerie Bring Funding Future Artists Benefit for CSU to Life

Story by Carrie Beth Wallace

Images courtesy of CSU Friends of Art and Blackwall Digital Content Development


This month debuts a new benefit for Columbus State University's Art Department that's getting quite the attention. 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.


The inaugural benefit exhibition will feature 100 works of art donated by CSU community artists. Each ticket purchased reserves a piece of art, and times to "shop" the exhibition are assigned by a lottery.


To better understand the intention and impact of Funding Future Artists, we corresponded with Ann Tankersley, Co-Chair for Friends of Art. Read on to discover more about the benefit, Tankersley's motivation for participating, and where you can purchase a ticket to support CSU's deserving young artists.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.



Why have you chosen to participate as a member of Friends of Art?


In terms of motivation, it is a natural extension of my interests.


What's your personal connection to the arts?

I am a 2-time SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) graduate, with degrees in Graphic Design, Illustration, and Interior Design. I was never a true “artist” in the sense that I might live to create personal work, but I am a problem solver who loves to seek out patterns in the world around me.


What made you want to get involved or continue being an arts patron?

I continue to be an Arts Patron because I want to make sure that both new and experienced artists continue to develop their work here in Columbus. Our community already has shown its willingness to support the Arts and I believe it can grow even larger in its reach and in the type of work that can be produced here. I like to think of Columbus as being a “safe space” for artists and should continue to be a challenging environment to push them even further in their realization of their craft, be it music, fine arts, or film.


What is your favorite thing about the work CSU Department of Art is doing with their students?


I love to see the students grow by being challenged by their professors to really “see” the world, both literally and figuratively. The faculty truly care about their students and want to help them succeed beyond the level they previously thought themselves capable of.

A sneak peek of the Funding Future Artists 2021 Exhibition now on view at Highland Galerie.


How long have you been involved with Friends of Art?


At least 10 years. I joined as soon as I heard about the opportunity from my friends in the CSU art department. Any amount of contribution enables you to be “in the know” about all of the exhibitions at CSU and special events such as member receptions, workshops, and meeting many visiting artists.

What are you looking forward to most about the new Funding Future Artists benefit?


Our goal for the event was two-fold. One: to challenge ourselves with the life-changing possibility of providing three students with full scholarships to the Department of Art. Two: to heighten awareness of the CSU Department of Art among a new audience of art enthusiasts, artists, and collectors.


We have gotten off to an incredible start, and I am so heartened to see the enthusiasm of the CSU community artists who have contributed their work to the benefit! It has been exciting to see each new work of art as it comes in to the exhibition and I know the ticket-buyers will be blown away with the choices they will have!


Samples of art donated for Funding Future Artists 2021 Exhibition. For a list of all participating artists, click here.


Has your involvement in Friends of Art led to any interesting stories? Favorite memories? A student you've connected with?


Absolutely the greatest experience was the first trip FOA organized to New York City in 2019. The best part was getting to know the other members on the trip, whom I had not had a chance to socialize with before. I met the most delightful ladies (and 2 gentlemen) and learned about how much we had in common!


The most memorable place we visited was Dia Beacon, a gallery just North of the city that is exclusively lit by natural light. It is a former Nabisco Box Factory that was converted to a gallery showcasing primarily large-scale sculptures by 20th and 21st century artists. You could practically feel the impact of the work in your body. I didn’t want to leave!


A sneak peek of the Funding Future Artists 2021 Exhibition now on view at Highland Galerie.


What else would you like for our audience to know about you, Friends of Art, or Funding Future Artists?

I want your audience to continue to be inspired by the Servant Leadership demonstrated by each artist who contributed their work, by the faculty and staff of CSU Department of Art, and specifically by Dee Dee Tebeau and her Highland Galerie team.

I also invite everyone in your audience to become a member of Friends of Art (there is no minimum contribution) and to frequently visit the Corn Center and its world-class exhibits throughout the year, open to the public for free! ◼︎

More to Know:


See the Funding Future Artists Exhibition in-person all month long!


All works will be displayed in Highland Galerie for a limited public in-person viewing April 6-24.

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 - 2 p.m.


Purchase a Ticket!


Head to www.fundingfutureartistscsu.com to purchase your ticket before they sell out. As of April 8, 2021 only a few tickets were left!