Students entering college or current college students pursuing a degree in visual arts may be eligible for a scholarship now offered through the McKinney Center.

The application can be found at  Applications are due Wednesday, September 1 and will be awarded for the 2021 Fall semester. There is no age limit, but students must be going into the art field as their major.

Beverly Thomas Jenkins, scholarship founder, is known for her artistry. She teaches mosaic art classes at the McKinney Center and other locations in the region, and has had her work shown throughout the southeast. This year she has, along with her siblings Elizabeth Thomas Norman and Randy Thomas, created a scholarship program in honor of their mother “Grammie Jan” Jan Dowden.

“Grammie Jan gave back to the communities that she lived in as best she could. She didn’t have a lot of money, but she helped in other ways, with her time and her skills.” Thomas Jenkins describes her mother’s unending efforts of caring for others through her work in her church. “She did things like stuff bags for victims of disasters with her church for the Red Cross, and she would also volunteer at the Senior Center. She didn’t have a lot, but she always gave from her heart.”

Thomas Jenkins describes her mother as self-sacrificing, but the one thing she did for herself was her art. She loved to paint. Thomas Jenkins stated, “It helped her express herself and it also was ‘only for her.’ It was the one thing she did that wasn’t for her husband or her kids or anyone else. It was a respite. And she was so good at it. She even found a way to use her paintings to bring happiness to others.”

Believing that her mother’s gift of art is what brought happiness to others, Thomas Jenkins thought that a scholarship program helping students to follow their artistic dreams would be the perfect way to honor a life that found such joy in making art.  The scholarship, which averages about $850, is open to students entering college in the art field.

The money from the scholarship goes to the college where the student is attending directly from the scholarship fund.

For more information call the McKinney Center at 423.753.0562.