photo of Gary Parker, Crystal Hicks, Christopher Talbot and Ericka Bates

Ericka Bates, far right, a junior art student from Colombia, South America, has been awarded the Gary R. Parker Art Scholarship at SFA. Pictured with her are, from left, Gary Parker, FVA President Crystal Hicks and School of Art Director Christopher Talbot.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Friends of the Visual Arts scholarship committee at Stephen F. Austin State University has selected junior painting student Ericka Bates, of Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia (South America), as this year’s recipient of the Gary R. Parker Art Scholarship.

Shaun Roberts, assistant professor in the SFA School of Art, nominated Bates for the award. In his nomination letter, Roberts wrote: “I have worked with Ericka over the past couple of semesters at SFA; I had her in both painting and drawing classes. She is a very naturally gifted student and artist who is always open and willing to experiment and try things in her art. She is humble and takes critique and suggestions about her work really well. She always shows up to class on time with a positive attitude ready to work.

“It’s a pleasure having Ericka in my class because she inspires and motivates the other students,” he said. “Ericka isn’t afraid to tackle a big ambitious project. She attacks the canvas with rigor and purpose. She is a very intelligent and thoughtful young artist; her work is advanced and drives other students to be more critical of their art and to work harder.

“Ericka is in the beginning stages of her career, but I expect great things from her,” he added.

The SFA Friends of the Visual Arts established the Parker scholarship in honor of the retired SFA School of Art faculty member who was employed at the university for 31 years. Parker not only taught courses but also directed the school’s Summer Art Academy program for children and served as the gallery preparator.

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.