The Dani Elenga Art Scholarship is one of the newest scholarships in the School, and it is specifically for Painting + Drawing students. It was established in memory of alum Dani Elenga who tragically died in her 40s after an automobile accident in 2009. Art was important and meaningful for her, and it is the hope of her family and friends that this scholarship will extend Elenga's deep love of art and painting by facilitating aspiring students in the study of art. Just before her sudden end, Elenga had reached a place in her life where she could finally realize her artistic vision.
We asked three recent recipients of this scholarship to write about their studies and what the financial support means to them.
Throughout my life, I have been fascinated by a multitude of different subjects crossing several different disciplines, but the one constant has always been art. Drawing has always been a way for me to explore the ideas in my head and to let my mind free as I build illustrations and capture my surroundings. During my first two years at the UW, I went back and forth between taking art and STEM classes knowing they were both fields I would be happy getting a degree in. When it was time to declare my major, I decided to set myself upon the path of studying both subjects at the university. As I pursue a degree in Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE), I strive to find ways to apply my artistic and design knowledge to my work. On the other hand, in my artwork, I've found myself drawn to exploring more User Experience topics such as the human relationship with technology and the passing of time and how we experience it.
Since working in the painting and drawing program, I have continued to build my skills in several mediums, especially oil painting. Despite having only begun painting a year ago, it is certainly one of my favorite forms of artistic expression. I've honed in my figure drawing skills as well as had the opportunity to make my first works over 5 feet. I have learned to take risks and experiment when it comes to digging deep into my personal artistic practice. I enjoy having a space where I can explore the deep and sprawling history of painting by simply trying things and getting constructive feedback from my peers and professors.
Receiving the Dani Elenga Art Scholarship was a huge honor, and I could not be happier to receive the award in recognition of my work. This scholarship will help me complete my art degree and pursue my studies outside of school. I will be able to continue my career as an artist without having to worry about financial hurdles, and I am immensely grateful to have been give this opportunity.
I decided to pursue painting and drawing because it makes me feel connected to the world and because it allows me to feel passionate about exploring and learning both in the classroom and in my daily life. It's particularly exciting for me to take classes with the University of Washington's wonderful faculty and to share that experience with other students who are also passionate about painting and drawing. I love that through the School I have the opportunity to work in the studio together with so many other young artists, to give each other feedback, and to share our struggles and breakthroughs.
This scholarship allowed me to spend more time in the studio each week and made it possible for me to purchase higher quality paints and materials. In doing so, the scholarship supported both my classwork and my independent painting and drawing projects. Most of all, this scholarship demonstrated to me that there are people in the community willing to support young artists; people who recognize the importance of our work and believe that what we are studying matters.
I've been drawn to painting since my first paint-up-to-the-elbows preschool experience, but it took coming to UW for me to begin to see painting as a career and as a life. Upon entering college, I had planned to learn as much about art as I could while building the skills I'd need to find a "safe" job after college. But, after finishing my first painting class, I couldn't convince myself to spend time doing anything else. I've found painting to be an all-consuming path of technical and intellectual challenges, triumphs, and discoveries. Through the resources of the School's faculty and staff, I've learned how people live as working artists and have been able to begin plotting a post-college life with painting at its center. The supportive encouragement and expertise of UW's Art faculty has spurred my work into unfamiliar and exciting places, and I've met lifelong friends and colleagues I feel honored to work beside.
This year I've been able to spend more time painting and developing my career as an artist due to the Dani Elenga Art Scholarship. The generosity of the scholarship's donors has alleviated my financial worries and allowed me to work fewer hours outside of school so that I'm able to paint almost every day. I'm grateful to be a part of a community who believe in the importance of an arts education and who give thoughtfully to students pursuing their passions.