Ready to dive headfirst into a degree or diploma in art? While you’re busy filling out college applications, getting your application portfolio looking top-notch, and trying to bump that GPA up just a little higher, don’t forget to apply for a few art scholarships.
There are tons of scholarships for art students available from schools, private companies, professional associations, community groups, and even individuals. In addition to the financial reward, having a scholarship or award on your resume can be a nice feather in your cap when pursuing a career in the art world.
What Art Scholarships Should I Apply For?
Most scholarships for artists will accept applications from students from a variety of disciplines. But you can also find a scholarship for the arts that is specific to photography scholarships, dance scholarships, graphic design scholarships, film scholarships, drawing scholarships, animation scholarships, performing arts scholarships, fashion design scholarships, and interior design scholarships. There is plenty to choose from!
Here are a few tips on how to get an art scholarship:
- In addition to the best art scholarships we’ve rounded up below, there are many others geared toward a specific area. Some are only open to students from specific counties, cities, or even high schools. Many youth and community groups also offer scholarships exclusively for their members.
- There are also plenty of art school scholarships offered to students at specific colleges or universities, and the institution(s) you’re hoping to attend will likely have some available as well. Check on your school’s website to see what’s available.
- Additionally, you could also apply for art contests, illustration contests and photography or design contests that aren’t necessarily student-specific, but could still help you gain exposure, win some cash, and start your career off on the right foot.
- Don’t be afraid to look outside the box when on the hunt for a scholarship for artists. While we’ve made quite an extensive list of the best art scholarships below, art can be very specific and niche. If you have an art specialty, check to see whether there’s a scholarship for it. Less competition means there’s a better chance you could be the winning recipient.
Don’t Forget to Create an Online Portfolio When Applying to Art Scholarships
Since you’ll be collecting samples of your best work for art scholarship applications, you should create an online art portfolio for them while you’re at it. A great website builder will make that process quick and easy.
Here are some online portfolio website creation tips to keep in mind before applying to a scholarship for art school:
- Choosing an online portfolio builder with attractive, customizable templates will keep your work looking organized and professional with minimal effort, while still giving you enough flexibility to control the way your work is presented.
- A portfolio builder that lets you embed video is a particularly smart choice for those applying for film scholarships or performing arts scholarships.
- If you’re always creating new work you’d like to show off, a platform that lets you edit your portfolio via an iPhone app makes things super-convenient.
- A well-written About Me page featuring your artist statement, achievements, and goals can be a great complement to those scholarship essays. (And if/when you get awarded the scholarship of your dreams, remember to add it to your bio!)
- If you’re specifically applying to scholarships for artists, your portfolio should automatically identify you as an artist, showing off your personal brand. For example, if you’re a photographer, this should be clear. If you’re a painter, a website visitor shouldn’t have to guess what medium you specialize in. Using a portfolio website builder with professionally designed templates can take the guesswork out and ensure that your portfolio has a clear purpose and direction.
Having a tough time choosing what images to use? Check out these tips for curating an amazing portfolio.
Now that you’ve got your online portfolio all ready to go, it’s time to delve into the best art scholarships.
General Art Scholarships
These general art-related scholarships are open to students in a wide variety of disciplines, including performing art, visual art, and design. This way, no matter what style of art you specialize in, you have a fair shot at obtaining the scholarship.
Deadline: February 22, 2021
This art scholarship is open to South Carolina high school seniors who have attended a South Carolina public high school for at least two years and will be remaining in the state for college or university. There are five categories (creative writing, dance, music, theater, and visual art scholarships), each requiring an original submission.
Deadline: May 31, 2022
This communications and art scholarship is open to Asian-American college students (at least 50% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity) pursuing a major in performing arts, visual arts, journalism, or mass communications. The recipient must be either a high school senior or a full-time college student at a U.S. vocational school, junior college, or college/university, and must be a full-time, degree-seeking student by the upcoming academic calendar year.
Amount: Up to $6,000
These scholarships for artists go to students studying fine art, graphic design, illustration, or photography, and who have at least a 2.0 GPA. Applicants must display financial needs and submit a portfolio of original work. Minority status is a significant factor in award decisions.
Deadline: May 19, 2022
Amount: Up to $3,600
This scholarship for the arts is open to college students majoring in art or art history. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or over. The application includes a one-page essay.
Deadline: January 2022
This broad arts scholarship is open to African-American or black students majoring in the visual arts (architecture, ceramics, drawing, fashion, graphic design, illustration, interior design, painting, photography, sketching, video production, etc.), or in the performing arts (theater, drama, comedy, music, dance, opera, marching bands, etc.). Students must be or plan to be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program.
One of the few art graduate school scholarships, this option is open to both undergraduate or graduate students in a BFA, BA in Studio Art, MFA, or BA/MA in Music program at an accredited college or university. The art scholarship portion of the fund is limited to those studying painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, or printmaking. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.
Deadline: March 1, 2022
Amount: $1,500 to $2,000
This art scholarship is open to graduating high school students who intend to pursue advanced education in the study of arts and will be majoring or minoring in either the visual or performing arts.
Deadline: February 15, 2022
Open to current high school seniors living in Hawaii who plan to major in fine arts at an accredited college or university. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.7 or higher and demonstrate financial need.
Deadline: April 25, 2021
Open to graduating high school seniors in Washington State who are studying the fine arts (painting, drawing, photography, literature, architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, or drama). Applicants must also be the child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of a veteran.
This art scholarship is open to full-time undergrad art majors, including graduating college seniors, enrolled in a community college or university in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho. Students must submit an application that includes five examples of their best work in non-digital 2D media, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, an artist’s statement, and a biography.
Deadline: April 1, 2022
This fine arts scholarship is open to high school seniors residing in Iowa. Students must also be accepted to an Iowa college or university, and plan to major in fine arts.
Deadline: April 15, 2022
Incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes who are pursuing a degree in music, theater, or dance can apply for this art scholarship.
Deadline: March 15, 2022
Amount: $500 to $4,000
Open to women from Connecticut studying fine arts, with preference given to those studying painting or design.
Deadline: June 30, 2021
This arts scholarship is open to Asian-American (at least 50% Asian and/or Pacific Islander) students pursuing a major in fashion and/or graphic design. Students must be full-time high school seniors or college students and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students must also demonstrate community and extracurricular involvement.
Deadline: January 31, 2022
Open to college or university students and current Hawaii residents who are majoring in art and have a GPA of at least 2.7. Awards are given based on academic achievement, character, and financial need.
Deadline: March 24, 2021
Amount: $3,000 to $7,000
Arguably the hippest art scholarship on this list, the Loser Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors living in Washington and Oregon who are on their way to full-time enrollment in university or college (though they need not necessarily be studying art). Applicants must write an essay about their involvement in their local art or music scene. Copies of their artwork, photos of community involvement, videos, etc. are also encouraged.
Deadline: March 6, 2021
Open to Ohio high school students interested in pursuing a career in art-related fields (including painting, illustration, design, photography, printmaking, sculpture, etc.).
Deadline: November 15, 2021
Aspiring Peter Parkers should consider this photography scholarship, which is open to undergraduate or graduate students who are driven to tell a story through video or still photography.
Deadline: September 15, 2021
This photography scholarship is open to photographers 18 years and older worldwide who are enrolled as a student; in the first five years of their photography career; or do not earn the majority of their income from photography. Applicants must submit a project outline detailing how the scholarship money will be spent, as well as a selection of digital images.
Open to students enrolled full-time in an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. or Canada who show an aptitude for photojournalism. Students must demonstrate financial need and be able to use the scholarship at the beginning of the following semester.
Deadline: Multiple deadlines throughout the year
Open to dancers who have had a performing dance career for at least seven years (does not have to be consecutive), have gained 100 weeks or more of paid dance employment in the US, and have garnered total gross earnings of $56,000 or more over the course of the previous seven years.
Deadline: June 15, 2022
Open to high school seniors from Connecticut who plan to major in dance (or another physical/health education field) at a Connecticut college or university. Students will be judged based on academic ability, professional competence, and future career potential.
Deadline: July 6, 2021
Amount: $5,000 to $160,000 (most awards are between $5,000 and $25,000)
This dance scholarship is open to applicants who have recently completed their junior or senior year of high school. Applicants must attend an audition and submit a letter of recommendation from a dance instructor. Scholarships last for four years of college.
Graphic Design Scholarships
Deadline: May 1, 2022
Open to students pursuing a career within the document management and graphic communication industry. Applicants for the graphic design scholarship must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be a full-time student attending an accredited college or university for the upcoming fall semester.
Deadline: May 1, 2021
This graphic design scholarship is open to Indigenous students (with preference given to those from Yukon, Nunavut or NWT) pursuing full-time education in graphic or communication design at a Canadian college or university. Applicants must be a member of Graphic Designers of Canada, and must provide portfolio samples and a brief essay.
Deadline: May 1, 2021
Another offering from Graphic Designers of Canada, this design scholarship is open to students entering the third or fourth year of a four-year undergraduate communication/graphic design program in Canada. Applicants must be a member of Graphic Designers of Canada. Applications must include a design project demonstrating problem-solving through communication design.
Open to college juniors and seniors who are majoring in graphic arts, graphic design, or a different major, and who are interested in a career in the tag and label industry. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA, supply three personal references, and submit an essay.
Deadline: March 1, 2022
This film scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who have completed two full years of college by June 30 of the year the scholarship is being awarded. Awards are given based on evidence of talent (work samples are encouraged), academic excellence, and financial need.
Amount: $2,000 to $5,000
This film scholarship, sponsored by film giant Kodak, is open to graduate or undergraduate university/college students in a number of countries worldwide. Prizes are awarded in filmmaking and cinematography.
Deadline: February 1, 2022
Amount: $500 to $5,000
Students dedicated to “classical or conservative” painting and drawing may want to apply for this art scholarship. Applicants must submit a portfolio of original art (including landscapes and figure drawing) with their application.
Yep, that Mister Rogers. This scholarship, created in honor of TV personality Fred Rogers, is open to graduate students (Masters or Ph.D), or those about to enter graduate school, who are pursuing a career in children’s media, including animation. (This scholarship is based on project proposals, and may not be used for tuition.)
Deadline: May 31, 2021
Open to students pursuing careers specializing in interactive entertainment, including art, animation, programming, engineering, game direction, game design, sound design, and music composition. Students must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and be either full-time undergraduate students starting their second year or graduate student.
Open to female-identified, full-time students at an accredited school within North America that offers courses in animation. Students must be a member of Women In Animation, have a GPA of 2.85 or higher, and submit a portfolio of original work.
Performing Arts Scholarships
Deadline: March 1, 2021
This performing arts scholarship is open to active student/individual members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) studying performing arts. Up to 30 scholarships are awarded annually.
Deadline: July 30, 2021
Amount: Up to $1,000
This scholarship for the arts is open to performing arts students in Iowa. Applicants must submit a video audition, headshot, and a letter of recommendation from a drama educator to apply.
Deadline: Depending on the scholarship
Amount: $500 to $4,000
This group of performing art scholarships is open to students at various levels of theater study (from graduating high school senior to college senior).
Amount: $500 to $3,000
Open to student performers wishing to pursue further education and professional development. This theater scholarship offers roughly 16 regional awards ($500 each); select recipients are invited to take week-long, expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C. for courses, and to present their scholarship audition to a panel. The top two will receive $2,500 scholarships.
Fashion Design Scholarships
Deadline: January 7, 2022
Amount: Up to $3,000 (renewable)
This fashion design scholarship is open to students who are studying design with a focus on footwear. Applicants must be enrolled or be about to enroll in an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational/technical school. Applications must include three design drawings and will be screened based on design potential and financial need.
Interior Design Scholarships
Deadline: Spring 2021
This interior design scholarship features separate prizes for undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants are asked to submit portfolios and letters of recommendation; the graduate scholarship also requires an essay. Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic accomplishment and creative achievement.
Amount: $1,500 to $5,000
Open to junior, senior, or graduate students enrolled in an accredited college design program in the United States. Separate prizes are awarded for interior design and furniture design.
Deadline: Fall 2021
This interior design scholarship, open to undergraduate and graduate students, recognizes those who “demonstrate an interest and ability in utilizing classical designs and traditional materials, including furniture and fabrics”. Applications must feature a portfolio and accompanying portfolio statement, a statement of your career goals, and a letter of recommendation.
Deadline: March 31, 2022
This design scholarship is open to students majoring in interior design or a related design/furnishing program, with extra consideration given to students who have volunteered in their community and shown leadership potential. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a current IFDA Professional Member, an essay, and two to three examples of design work.
Deadline: Spring 2021
Amount: Up to $5,000
This design scholarship is open to undergraduate or graduate students. Applicants must submit a research or thesis project that deals with wellness and design. Entries will be judged on the quality of content, breadth of material, comprehensive coverage of topic, innovative subject matter, bibliography, and references.
Amount: $500 and up
Open to students majoring in interior design, architecture, or a field related to facility management. Applicants must be enrolled in a Kansas or Missouri college or university, and are asked to include a letter of professional intent, two recommendation letters, evidence of extracurriculars, and proof of GPA with their application.
Deadline: April 1, 2021
Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
Here’s an illuminating design scholarship: This award is open to full-time students (undergraduate junior, senior, or graduate students) hoping to pursue a career in lighting. Students must be attending an accredited four-year college or university in Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington. The scholarship covers all fields of lighting, including interior design and theater lighting.
Open to students majoring in interior design or a related design/furnishing program. Extra consideration is given to students who have volunteered and show leadership potential. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation, an essay, and five different examples of original furniture designs.
Visual Art Scholarships
Deadline: February 15, 2021
This visual art scholarship is open to Hawaii residents who are attending college in the U.S., and who are majoring in graphic design, visual communication, or commercial arts. Applicants must also show financial need and have a 2.7 GPA or above.
This scholarship for art school is open to high school seniors, college freshmen, and college sophomores in the U.S. and Canada with a declared major in a visual arts program, such as painting, drawing, and sketching. Applicants must submit an art portfolio and artist statement. Scholarship recipients will also receive art products from Krylon
Open to LGBTQ high school seniors entering college (though the applicant need not be majoring in arts). Students must submit an essay, letter of recommendation, and visual arts portfolio as part of their application.
Deadline: December 2021
This one is for graduating high school seniors from a Washington State public high school who have been accepted into the art program of an accredited four-year U.S. college or university and intend to enroll as a full-time student the following year. Applicants must demonstrate talent in the visual arts, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and show financial need.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
Are you a high school, undergraduate, graduate, trade, and technical school student currently enrolled in school and very into aluminum? Applicants must design a product that incorporates at least one extruded aluminum component.
Deadline: March 31, 2022
Amount: $3,000 to $10,000
Open to U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a design-oriented degree (including interior design, graphic design, lighting design, industrial design, theater design, exhibit design, etc.). Students must submit an original design as part of their application.
Art Scholarships: Finding What Is Right For You
While we know this list of best art scholarships might seem long and intimidating, it’s important to keep in mind that some of these options might not apply to you (i.e. having a grandparent who is a veteran or meeting a certain GPA). Rather than referring to a lengthy list, we suggest narrowing down this original list and making your own list of art-based scholarships that you do meet the requirements for.
You’ll likely find looking at a list tailored to you is much less overwhelming and much more approachable. In other words, create this tailored list and figuring out how to get art scholarships won’t feel so difficult or unattainable. Good luck!
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