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April 28, 2015

CIA awards full-tuition scholarship to Cleveland student

Contact: Ann McGuire,
Director of Communications, CIA

April 27, 2015

CLEVELAND (Ohio) – Cleveland Institute of Art has awarded a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to a student who is currently a senior at Cleveland School of the Arts, a specialty arts school for grades 6-12 within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).

Erykah Townsend, of Garfield Heights, will enroll in the accredited, four-year college of art and design in the fall. Her scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

“I was really happy,” Erykah said about learning the news. “I told my counselor at school and she announced it on the PA to everybody so everybody was congratulating me.”

Erykah said her teachers, including CIA graduate Daniel Carver, encouraged her to pursue a creative career and apply to CIA. She said she hopes to study photography at CIA, a subject she has enjoyed in high school under the direction of her photography teacher, Lisa Calamita.

“Erykah is extremely talented, hard working, and totally deserving so I was thrilled to learn she’s receiving this scholarship,” said Calamita. “So many people take pictures; she really creates art with photography. She’s constantly coming up with great ideas.”

CIA President Grafton Nunes announced last August that the college would offer a full-tuition scholarship to one CMSD student. “Erykah has a wonderful opportunity to learn, explore, and develop her artistic voice here at CIA. I look forward to welcoming her to campus,” he said. Nunes noted CIA was founded in Cleveland in 1882 and remains committed to the city and its talented students.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said the value of enabling students to attend college and pursue their dreams is immeasurable.

“For many of our scholars, such opportunities amount to more than a monetary gift,” he said. “Knowing that a person or organization believes in them enough to finance a four-year college education provides inspiration that can last a lifetime.”

There was no specific application for the scholarship, rather Erykah was chosen by a CIA selection committee, which reviewed all applications for admission from CMSD students, looking at their portfolios of artwork and their records of academic achievement. To qualify for renewal of the scholarship, Erykah must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0.

In recent years CIA has administered various outreach programs to Cleveland schools, enabled by grants from KeyBank Foundation, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and the Cleveland Foundation’s Leonard Krieger Fund.

“We have sent art teachers to teach classes and workshops, offered scholarships for students to attend our Continuing Education classes, enabled students to attend our annual art and design career day, and consulted on curriculum development at the Design Lab Early College High School. This new scholarship represents the logical next step in our ongoing partnership with the Cleveland schools,” Nunes said in announcing the new scholarship last fall.

Erykah joins the CIA community as the college prepares to unify all operations on its Euclid Avenue campus in the Uptown development. In December, CIA completed major construction of its new George Gund Building, which is adjoined to its historic Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts. Together, the two buildings form the eastern anchor of Uptown, with MOCA Cleveland as the western anchor. CIA is selling its original Gund Building on East Boulevard to the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University.

About CIA

Founded in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design with 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its offerings to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; robust continuing education courses; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program. CIA is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For more information visit

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