From Proposal to Reality: SVA Alumni Scholarship Awards 2016

February 18, 2016

What does an animated short film about an aspiring mask maker, a photography project examining wildlife habitat on the Israeli and Palestinian border and a documentary about a blind soccer team all have in common? They are all SVA student projects that recently received an Alumni Scholarship Award from the SVA Alumni Society.

Established in 1999, the Alumni Scholarship Awards are presented annually to SVA students in their final year to aid in the completion of their thesis or portfolio projects. Students submit applications with detailed summaries of their projects, a breakdown of the costs and materials involved and samples of their proposed or in-development work. As Alumni Society board member Michael Halsband (BFA 1980 Photography) notes, “It’s incredibly meaningful to be a part of facilitating these grants and creating real opportunities for these students. Seeing the profound impact the awards have on students as they prepare for their professional lives is amazing.”

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Each year, the SVA Alumni Society, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, administers over 20 awards and scholarships, including the Alumni Scholarship Awards program, distributing funding to distinguished undergraduate and graduate students working in disciplines such as advertising, cartooning, fine arts and more.

This year, a record 67 students were chosen from a pool of over 300 applicants, and were awarded scholarships worth more than $80,000 for projects as varied as narrative film, etching, animation, painting and sculpture.

“With all of the projects, we see such a broad scope of perspectives and range of interpretations of the process of what art is and can be. It’s exciting and illuminating to see the way these students are thinking, and to see the combination of influences generated by the programs and the ideas of student artists,” says Halsband.

More than rewarding the achievements of students, the Alumni Scholarship Awards provide a unique opportunity for graduates to stay involved in the SVA community. The Alumni Scholarship Fund is comprised of gifts primarily donated by alumni, and award recipients are selected by panels of alumni.

“The Alumni Scholarship Awards program is a microcosm of the SVA alumni community and network as a whole, and the thing that is so special about the program is that it welcomes soon-to-be-graduates into the SVA alumni community in an incredibly meaningful way,” says Alumni Affairs Director Jane Nuzzo.

The full list of 2016 Alumni Scholarship Award recipients can be found here. Stay tuned throughout the spring as projects are introduced at For more information about the Alumni Society and its scholarships, visit or contact Miranda Pierce at

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