Congratulations to 2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalists

This year, we had an overwhelming response for our scholarships, with nearly 150 applications from across the country!  The ATG Scholarship Committee was incredibly impressed by the breadth of community service, leadership and talent in our young Asian American student community. It was an incredibly difficult decision process, but with great pride and excitement, we announce the following students are 2012 Artistic Scholarship Finalists. They were scored based on GPA, Leadership/Community Involvement, Artistic Portfolio, Letters of Recommendation and Essay.  The final two winners of this $1,000 scholarship will be announced in the next week, so stay tuned!

2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalists

Christina Chang (Germantown, MD)

ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Christina Chang

Age: 19

GPA: 3.93

About: Freshman at Ringling College of Art and Design

Major: Computer Animation

Community Service/Leadership: Ringling Tour Guide, Editor-in-chief of Rockville High School literary magazine, Founder/President and Treasurer of Rockville High School National Honor Society, over 1000+ hours of volunteer at various organizations

On the importance of art to a community:

“…From daily happenings to more momentous occasions, I have observed art’s varying impacts and uses, both minuscule and incredible, on others and in myself.  And from these exposures, I realized that subconsciously, I am always left with a new perspective.  I believe it is a primal form of communication.  In the beginning before words found their way onto paper, pictures on cave walls reflected the stories and histories of the earliest societies.  Even then, many civilizations retained the drawings’ essence in the form of Chinese pictographs and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Then and now, art withstands time and its importance is ever more elevated in the present. The world is rapidly advancing to become a global community, which strives to connect despite its different backgrounds and cultures. Where words in writing may fail us, I believe art and all of its substances can help bridge the gap.”

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“In my shoes, ‘going against the grain’ is to stand firm against the current and and swim against it to pursue unconventional goals. But my experiences have also taught me to trust my choices in the face of adversaries, even if they may be family, faculty or employer.”

How do you go against the grain?

“In a nutshell, I do so by taking risks but not blindly signing my fate completely to luck and will. Going against the norms or anything has their package of obstacles, and I’ve learned the best to overcome them is to be proactive, listen to others, take in new perspectives and opinions, so at the end of the day I can see which are the right steps to take.”

Keila Cone-Uemura (Salt Lake City, UT)

ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Keila Cone-Uemura

Age: 17

GPA: 3.99

About: Senior at West High School accepted into Berklee College of Music

Anticipated Major: Music

Community Service/Leadership: Humane Society, Salt Lake Buddhist Temple

On the importance of art to a community:

“Art is what makes us fundamentally human. It is what separates us from the cold, hard machines that we’ve created to do our work, from the computers that are smarter and faster than we will ever be.  It helps mankind retain its morality, the sense of compassion that can often go missing in the fast-paced modern world.  Within a community, an honest sense of human emotion is vital in protecting our values and moral codes.  Art plays a vital role in this, as it provides the artist and the viewer alike an escape from the tedious superficialities of day-to-day life…Art is much more than an end product — it is a journey, a depiction of the human experience, a portal into the lives of our ancestors, a tool for social revolution, and a thread of sorts, weaving together various people and perspectives.  Communities need art to bring them together and celebrate the vibrant individuality and self expression that will shine on for centuries to come.”

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“As an Asian woman in modern society, I often experience some common racial stereotypes. We are thought of as the ‘model minority,’ quiet and obedient. To ‘go against the grain,’ to me, means to directly defy this stereotype. It means fighting for your opinions, getting your voice heard and pursuing your passions without regard for what people expect from you.”

How do you go against the grain?

“I go against the grain by writing and composing songs and aspiring to enter the music industry, even though the business is risky and the competition is high. I have decided to jump into my passions headfirst by graduating high school a year early and entering the Berklee College of Music at age seventeen. I go against the grain because even though the path is scary and the going may be rough, I will continue to chase this dream of mine with all of my heart.”

Britt Espinosa (Kingston, WA)

ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Britt Espinosa

Age: 18

GPA: 3.88

About: Homeschooled and accepted to study at Northwest University and Seattle Pacific University

Anticipated Major: Music Business Management and Performance

Community Service/Leadership: Global Expeditions Service Trip to South Africa, Food packaging and shipping (Children of the Nations), Sharnet Christmas Shop volunteer, Small Group Leader, Kairos Youth Group Leadership Team, Citation Award (Awana International)

On the importance of art to a community:

“A man named Thomas Merton once said, ‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’ Art plays a huge role in culture, community, relationships and everyday life. In my opinion, a society without art is a society that has no identity or soul. Art is an expression of the soul, like Thomas Merton said, it pushes us to ‘find ourselves’ and lose ourselves’…Art affects much of our culture and the way we identify with our culture.  From branding to movies, art is the aspect that our souls react and respond to. Art is important in our society and community because it gives meaning, purpose and identity to individuals and groups. Without art, the world would be a bland place, full of people without an identity and without the desire to find one.”

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“To me ‘going against the grain’ means having the discipline and drive to pursue a dream in the midst of hardship, stigma, and setbacks. Discipline includes dedication to education, working when you don’t think you can go anymore, and having foresight. Having a ‘drive to pursue’ means to make the most out of every opportunity, and to also hold onto to the dream when things are slow and require patience.”

How do you go against the grain?

“I live to pursue and accomplish. When I set my sights on a goal, I will do everything to accomplish that goal. I go against the grain because I know that education, foresight and patience are essential to success.”

Thao Nguyen (Arlington, TX)

ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Thoa Nguyen

Age: 18

GPA: 3.98

About: Senior at Juan Seguin High School accepted into University of Texas at Austin College of Communication

Anticipated Major: Radio/TV/Film

Community Service/Leadership: National Art Honor Society (President and Vice President), International Thespian Society, Environmental Club, National Honor Society (Vice President), Future Business Leaders of America, Drama Club (Historian), Project SOAR mentor

On the importance of art to a community:

“If there were a few imperishable and infinite things in this world, art would be one of them. Art takes so many forms and is perceived by so many perspectives that it can never be nonexistent.  Lucky for us, as human beings, we need it in our world to survive. It is a wonder that something that can be seen as trivial and even unnecessary and impractical, is so embedded into ourselves, we almost forget it is there, if it were not for the people who express it so well. Art is soul, and life, and presence, and void. It is what adds color to our world, our community, and our being.”

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“To me, ‘going against the grain’ is synonymous to swimming against a current, doing what your heart tells you to do, despite what is expected. By pushing yourself to reach your goals no matter the circumstances or resistance, you are going against that opposing force. We would not be where we are now if minorities throughout history had not conformed and sparked revolutions. Like they say, ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way,’ even against the grain.”

How do you go against the grain?

“I believe that the most important characteristic to be able to go against the grain would be courage. It takes a lot of courage to STAND UP for your ideals when everyone else is sitting. I’d also have to say that it has taken me my entire life so far to earn that courage. I go against the grain by putting full faith and spirit into what I have realized I want to do for the rest of my life: incorporate my art with my love for film(making). Any person with traditional Asian parents can agree that they want the best for their children’s futures, which means they expect us to be in high paying career like medical or engineering fields. Having come from an immigrant family, I was expected to earn outstanding grades, then pack my bags for medical school. To my parents dismay, I had no interest in such fields… I had my heart set on being an art director for film. Although it may not seem like much, it took me my entire life to figure that out. To stand behind what I was passionate about, even if it was not what was expected of me. To have courage.”

Melissa Woodbridge (Fayetteville, GA)

ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Melissa Woodbridge

Age: 19

GPA: 4.00

About: Freshman at University of Georgia

Anticipated Major: Studio Art/International Affairs

Community Service/Leadership: Gamma Sigma Sigma (service sorority), CHROMA (Vice President of service-oriented art organization), Art History Society, National Art Honor Society, Beta Club, National Honor Society

On the importance of art to a community:

“I believe that experiencing the arts means understanding perspectives other than your own, finding multiple solutions to one problem, creating large effects with small differences, and using this knowledge t inform decisions. To be able to put these ideas into practice will be a powerful experience that I can use to benefit the community as well as aspects of my own life. Not only is art beneficial to the community, it is beneficial to the individual, the building block of something greater.”

What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

“‘Going against the grain’ to me means recognizing the individuality within yourself and using it to follow your dreams. No two people are alike, and everyone has the ability to think creatively; this unique identity must flourish, not be suppressed by societal pressures or fear of failure. Going against the grain is the key to feeling comfortable and happy in your skin and in the life you choose to lead.

How do you go against the grain?

I am always excited to try new things and start a project with fresh eyes; I co-founded a student organization, which ended up being a daunting but incredibly rewarding task. I love learning how to play a new instrument, or learning a new language, or reading a book about a subject I know little about. I will double major in Studio Art and International Affairs not because it is practical but because they are the two areas that fascinate me most. My determination allows me to pursue all of my interests and goals, and that is how I go against the grain.


For more information on the ATG Artistic Scholarship, visit the Scholarship Page.


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