Thanks to the generous support of a leading arts’ university, a talented high school student hopes to turn his passion into his livelihood. Marin School of the Arts student Philippe Matheus, a senior in the Visual Arts Program, has earned a four-year scholarship to the Academy of Arts University, valued at $100,000.
In making the award, Rebecca Rottman, vice president of AAU Community and Government Relations, stressed the importance of building partnerships between public and private arts education to provide opportunities for talented artists to contribute to society at large.
“Imagine a world without art; a world without color, or music. It is essential that we support arts education to provide that which enhances the world around us,” Rottman said.
For Matheus, his dreams began with his classes at Marin School of the Arts, a specialized program at Novato High School providing programs in visual arts, theatre, dance, music, film and creative writing for 500 students from the North Bay and greater Bay Area.
“If I hadn’t gotten training at MSA, I never would have had the opportunity to go college to become who I want to become. I am really thankful to MSA and AAU to have this opportunity for my future,” said Matheus, who hopes to eventually earn a living as a film animator.
The partnership between MSA and AAU began in 2010 with the creation of the scholarship program, as well as AAU’s offer to accept ten MSA students annually to study in their summer programs free of charge. Students must undergo a rigorous application process to qualify for consideration.
“I poured by my heart and my summer into it. I got an internship to improve my skills in certain areas just so that I could have this opportunity,” Matheus said, adding that winning the award was still a shock. “It came as a pretty big bang, I could feel it physically and now it’s like there’s this lightness.”
The scholarship was announced at the Marin School of the Arts annual fundraising gala, Showcase 2014, at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center on March 1. The event included performances and presentations by more than 150 talented MSA high school students representing Marin and Sonoma counties and beyond, with the support of sponsors like Beckmann Engineering and Markoff/Fullerton Architects.
“MSA challenges students to think creatively, to explore multiple ways to problem-solve, and to become resilient learners prepared to enter a college or career path of their choosing,” MSA Director Dr. Ella Steinberg remarked. “Through generous donations and the talents of our faculty and staff, we will be able to sustain a level of programming worthy of these students.”
MSA’s Showcase 2014 demonstrated strong support of public arts education, with close to $60,000 donated by community members to support Marin County’s only public high school arts education program, now in it’s eleventh year.