August 17, 2016
By Bradley J. Wancour
The Cleveland Institute of Art has awarded full-tuition, four-year scholarships to two graduates of Cleveland high schools.
Shania Gilbert and Zhaphar Weaver will be CIA freshmen when classes begin Aug. 29, 2016.
This marks the second year this scholarship has been made available and the first year that it has been open to students through the NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology. The after-school program gives young people experiences in applied arts and health-related industries.
“I wanted to do everything I could to enhance the diversity of the college,” said Grafton Nunes, CIA President and Chief Executive Officer. “But also to provide a bridge to empowerment for young people in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District who may not otherwise have the opportunity to fully develop their skills and ambitions in a private college like CIA.”
Gilbert first attended the after school program at NewBridge to complete an art assignment for at MC2 STEM High School. After visiting NewBridge, her love of ceramics kept her coming back.
Creating ceramics “was a peaceful thing,” and helped her deal with stress, Gilbert said. NewBridge teacher Billy Ritter was impressed by her drive and motivation.
“Everything that I suggested to her she took and ran with,” said Ritter. “The average student, when you make a suggestion, will do one piece like that, maybe two. Shania will make 10 or 15. This is a person who wants it, a person who devours information and uses it to grow.”
Gilbert might pursue art therapy down the line, and plans to continue ceramics studies. “I hope to learn to improve my skills a little bit more, and basically learn the different techniques and everyone else’s perception of ceramics,” she said.
Weaver began his studies at the Cleveland School of the Arts as a musician, playing upright bass and clarinet. It was outside the classroom that he discovered his true passion.
“I was about 15 years old when I first found out I could draw,” said Weaver. “Around this time of my life, the neighborhood I lived in wasn't so friendly and didn't have a lot of positive things to do.”
Weaver watched a video tutorial about how to draw Michael Jackson, and found that his drawing looked even better than the one featured in the video. “I made up my mind that day that I wanted to start drawing,” he said. “It allowed me to escape this violent world into one of creativity and peace.”
Weaver joined the visual arts department at CSA, where he helped create murals at community recreational centers. He’s looking forward to being around others with the same dedication to art.
“I feel that it’s a great opportunity for me to grow and learn new art techniques and make connections,” said Weaver. “If you have a passion and dream don't let anybody tell you that you can't achieve it, because only you can see it. You have to be the one that puts in hard work, blood, sweat and tears, because nobody wants your dream more than you.”
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