Each year, Morris Arts offers two scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors who have exhibited artistic excellence in dance, drama, music, or visual arts and plan to pursue post-secondary studies at an accredited institution or acknowledged arts school or fine arts program. The Elaine Ehlers Arts Scholarship, in the amount of $5,000, and The Eugenie Coladarci Arts Scholarship, in the amount of $1,500, were created to recognize artistic excellence, encourage the artists of the future, and to celebrate the value of the arts to the human experience.
Morris County high school seniors graduating in June 2020 who are currently attending public, private, or parochial school or who are home schooled in New Jersey were eligible. Applicants must also (a) be Morris County residents, (b) plan to pursue post-secondary studies at an accredited institution or acknowledged arts school or fine arts program, and (c) have demonstrated artistic excellence in any one of four arts disciplines: dance, drama, music, or visual arts.
The Elaine Ehlers Arts Scholarship was established in 2002 in memory of Elaine Ehlers (1953-2001), a health-care administrator by profession, who had a voracious appetite for all things artistic and musical. She derived intellectual and emotional sustenance from the arts and supported programs at many museums and musical institutions. By establishing this scholarship, an enduring legacy has been created to reward those who possess artistic talent and who plan to further their arts education.
This year’s Ehlers Scholarship winner, violinist Ryan Nguyen, a graduating senior at Morris Hills High School, will pursue a minor in music at Stanford University next fall. He plans to continue performing, studying and teaching violin in Stanford’s MELODY program. Ryan distinguished himself as a 2018 and 2019 Gold Winner in the National League of Performing Arts International Young Artists Competition, a 2nd Prize winner for East Coast International Competition, and Grand Winner in the IMAS Talented Young Musicians Olympia Competition. Additionally, he studied violin privately at the pre-college division of the Manhattan School of Music, performed in the NJ Youth Symphony, All State, Regionals, served as concertmaster in multiple string ensembles, and soloed with the Sussex County Youth Orchestra. He wrote movingly of the power of his violin to transcend barriers of language, culture and generation, especially noting how it enables him to communicate with his Vietnamese grandparents. Ryan impressed the scholarship panel with his technical skill, the clarity and beauty of his tone quality, his bow control, excellent intonation, wide dynamic range and the maturity of his musicianship. His violin teacher at the Manhattan School stated: “Of all the talented students who have passed through my studio over the last fifteen years…Ryan is one of the best of them all. He would easily rank amongst the top of all pre-college violin students.”
Eugenie Coladarci Arts Scholarship was first awarded in 1999 in memory of Eugenie R. Coladarci, who was Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Chase Manhattan Bank and an active member of Morris Arts for eleven years. She was completing her first term as Board Chair when she passed away in 1997. As a statewide champion of the arts, Genie encouraged the development of young artists and believed in the value of the arts to the quality of life. The idea of a scholarship to assist talented young people wishing to continue their study in the arts was very important to her.
This year’s Coladarci Scholarship winner is visual artist Emma Schaberg, a graduating senior at West Morris Mendham High School. She attended pre-college animation training at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, won 1st and 3rd places in acrylic painting at the highly selective Blackwell Street Juried Art Exhibit at the Atrium Gallery, qualified for the competitive “Fresh Perspectives” juried high school exhibit at the Morris Museum, had her work in the Congressional Art Competition and is currently hired by Dr. Yana Kofman (of The Yoga Way) to create illustrations for yoga publications, a children’s book and memoir. Citing her own health difficulties, Emma explains, “… the silent power of my paintbrush has tipped the scale and given me the courage to unearth the emotions of life….” The panel was particularly impressed by that emotional power in her artwork, the technical skill in her execution, the composition and use of color, the sophistication of her animation and the overall artistic maturity of her work. One recommender stated, “…in my twenty-five years of teaching I have rarely (if ever) had a student that I could recommend as highly as Emma…In every art class that she has taken, she has consistently stood out as the top student.”
The winners will be introduced at the opening reception for the new exhibit, Vanishing Worlds, featuring works by nine outstanding artists and guest curated by Yvette Lucas, in the Gallery at 14 Maple (3rd floor, 14 Maple Ave., Morristown). The free reception, originally scheduled for March 12th, has been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus. A new date will be announced in the future.