NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Friends of the Visual Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University has recently established a scholarship in honor of retired SFA School of Art faculty member Gary Parker.
The Gary Parker Art Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in spring 2016.
The FVA has established scholarships in the name of retiring SFA School of Art professors who were employed in the School of Art for minimum of 10 years before retirement and who contributed in a significant way to the mission of the Friends of the Visual Arts board and its fundraising activities, such as consistently donating art for fundraisers, by providing monetary assistance, or by serving on FVA committees or board.
"I am honored to have a scholarship named after me, and I hope it benefits aspiring artists," Parker said.
Parker collaborated with the Friends of the Visual Arts to establish the criteria for the scholarship. To be eligible to receive this scholarship, students must:
- Be an undergraduate student with 60 hours toward an art degree (including hours in which they are currently enrolled) in any non-computerized, traditional art medium.
- Demonstrate a desire for a professional art career by entering into competitive exhibitions, including the Texas National art competition.
- Have demonstrated promise in the field of art by using their hands and minds to create art.
- Be willing to donate a piece of art to at least one fundraising event sponsored by the FVA.
Parker has been an integral part of the Friends of the Visual Arts since its inception in 1996. As gallery preparator, he collaborated with original Gallery Director Eloise Adams when the only gallery was the Griffith Gallery inside the Griffith Fine Arts Building on campus. In 2001, the School of Art gained the downtown Old Opera House where Parker expanded his responsibilities for installation of art shows in the old brick-walled space. A few years later, the art center was renovated, and Parker became chief preparator of the two fine galleries in the new space. Parker has also curated several exhibitions, including the spectacular Gruebel African art show in 2011.
Parker also ran the student galleries and scheduled all the BFA and MFA student exhibitions while teaching students through professional practices how to install exhibitions.
Prior to his recent retirement, Parker installed every art fundraiser that FVA ever hosted, and the past several years, he built the 12x12 panels that are distributed to local artists for the FVA's wildly popular 12x12 Art Auction. He has also donated his own fine art to many of these auctions.
For many years, Parker was the driving force behind the School of Art's annual Art Camp that takes place every summer for young art students.
"The art student workers who have apprenticed with Gary all agree that his insights and guidance have helped them become who they are as young adult artists," said Linda Mock, FVA member. "The FVA hopes to recruit Gary to continue his involvement by becoming an active member of the board."
The SFA Friends of the Visual Arts is made up of community members who support the arts in East Texas and provide monetary assistance to students enrolling in the School of Art by conducting fundraisers, such as the annual 12 x 12 event every July.