According to the Smithsonian, visual art is “a fundamental component of the human experience reflecting the world and the time in which we live. Art can help us understand our history, our culture, our lives, and the experience of others in a manner that cannot be achieved through other means.”
Performing arts could also take shelter under that definition. Some entire cultures have only been retained through oral tradition, dance, and the like. Performing arts allow us as humans to express ourselves more effectively, learn about the world, encourage creativity and even bring about social change.
The recipients of the Bermuda Arts Council’s (BAC) Student Grant Awards are a truly impressive list of individuals who we hope will long contribute to the arts scene on-island. From theatre to fine art, from digital media to ballet, each aspiring Bermudian artist has expressed extreme gratitude to the Bermuda Government and the BAC for their support. Their work carries the torch of who we are as Bermudians, upholding our present history.
BAC was founded by an act of parliament in 1969 with the intent to promote public awareness of the value of arts and its continued development and growth to Bermudian society as it relates to our youth and all Bermudians and visitors alike.
Speaking of the value of the arts, we’ve already mentioned what it does for us as a culture, a people. It is, however, also challenging, enlightening, informative and arresting. Art stimulates the mind and helps people understand the world.
It can also be therapeutic by reducing stress and anxiety levels. It can offer new perspectives to the challenges we face.
Research indicates that young people who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be recognised for academic achievement later on.
The principal objectives of BAC are to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts; to increase the accessibility of the arts whether by means of festivals of the arts, or otherwise, to the public throughout Bermuda; and to advise and cooperate with government departments, art groups and societies in Bermuda and other bodies on any matters concerned whether directly or indirectly with the foregoing objectives.
The intent of the programme is to provide financial assistance to enhance the quality of life in the community by fostering and strengthening arts and culture in Bermuda, supporting artistic excellence and stimulating wider community appreciation and participation.
Since 2013, the BAC has been awarding student grants. Their outgoing chair, Ms Jennifer Phillips has been a steady presence in supporting “talented young Bermudians who are making such significant impacts in so many areas of the arts” according to the former Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Dr the Hon Ernest Peets.
Each year, the BAC awards educational grants to students furthering their studies. It’s expected, of course, that Bermuda will reap the rewards in the near future. Recent recipients of the BAC’s student grants include:
- Alan C. Smith – Creative Writing
- Layla Williams – Media Arts Production
- Nkosi Hollis – Music Marketing, Media and Communications
- Rashun Robinson – Film
- Leslie Tucker Jr – Music Education
- Peri Nolan-Trott – Art Therapy
- Photini-Dawn Ingham – Photography and Video Production
- Sabriyya Harvey – Fine Arts (Painting and Sculpture)
- Mackenzie Costa – Graphic Design and Digital Arts
- Naimah Frith – Fine Art
- Zihaire Adams – Theatre Lighting
- Nalani Dowling – Film, Television, and Digital Media
- Ravi Cannonier-Watson – Ballet
- Gherdai Hassell – Contemporary Art
- Daelyn Saint-Surin – Graphic Design
Each grant helps to alleviate the financial burden of the academic journey, allowing the student to focus more on the schooling itself.
Application criteria is easy. There’s no age restriction, you have to be Bermudian and demonstrate financial need. Other than that, you must demonstrate interest, aptitude, and artistic merit in your chosen arts discipline and be accepted into an arts course of study by an accredited university, polytechnic, or college of further education.
If you were to fill out the application form, besides all the legal documents you would need to apply, you’d also need to submit a written statement which would include:
- A brief explanation of purpose of grant and career goals.
- A biography of yourself including an outline of your level of experience and/or prior engagements or involvement in your chosen art form (attach any certificates to confirm).
- Why you feel you are a good candidate for this grant.
- How you intend to benefit Bermuda with the knowledge that you gain.
At the time of writing, the BAC is not currently accepting applications. BAC reviews student grant applications once per year, each May. Check bermudascholarships.com for exact deadlines.
Separately however, there are a large number of other awards available for those who are interested in pursuing higher education in the performing or visual arts. Larger awards for the arts include the Centennial Bermuda Foundation, the NDFB Catherine Zeta-Jones Scholarship, and the Ministry of Education’s variety of scholarships. However, don’t discount the smaller awards, as every little bit helps, and they really do add up.
So, if you have a creative mind while looking to gain higher education, be sure to apply for one of the many awards available at bermudascholarships.com. Bermuda looks forward to your artistic achievements.