This fall, four entering undergraduates were named Lois Eskenazi Scholars. Each scholar will receive a $3,000 annual award in each of their four years as students in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. Designed to encourage art students, particularly those interested in painting, the scholarship program was established by Lois and Sidney Eskenazi, two of the school’s most dedicated and generous donors.
Over the years, the Eskenazis have funded many scholarships at Indiana University and elsewhere. They decided to focus on studio art students this time because Lois Eskenazi is a painter herself. While she did not study art as an IU student, she has been taking painting and drawing classes for most of her adult life.
“I am an amateur who finds a lot of satisfaction in painting,” she explains. “If I can help someone who shares my interest go further and really make something out of it, I’d be so happy.”
Her husband, Sidney, is not a painter but an art collector who acquired his first piece many years ago, when one of his legal clients paid his fee in the form of a Miró lithograph. He shares his wife’s desire in launching artistic careers.
“We’ve gotten wonderful notes from students who’ve explained that their scholarship was instrumental. We’ve helped people who had no other means,” he says. He is also attracted by the idea of leaving a legacy. “We wanted to put together a program that will perpetuate itself, so that many years after we’re gone, there will still be students who are helped by these scholarships,” he says.
Melody Reyes, from Evansville, is one of the inaugural Lois Eskenazi Scholars. She had considered attending art school in Chicago, but the cost of living in a big city was daunting. A visit to Bloomington during her junior year was persuasive, and the Lois Eskenazi Scholarship was yet another inducement to attend IU.
Entering college during a pandemic is memorable, but Reyes says that her drawing class, taught by visiting faculty member Alexandra Giannell, has had an equally strong impact. In high school, Reyes had been accustomed to drawing on her iPad, but Giannell’s class “made me fall in love again with traditional media, like ink, charcoal, and pencil,” she says. She is looking forward to her second semester and already dreaming about the possibility of studying abroad in Florence someday.
While scholarships can help students realize dreams like these, Dean Peg Faimon believes there is another reason that programs like the Lois Eskenazi Scholars are important to the school. “These scholarships help us to engage not only students,” she says. “We also hope that Sid and Lois’s philanthropic leadership encourages other donors to support our students.”
If you are interested in learning more about establishing a new scholarship program or contributing to existing scholarship funds, please contact Heather Kogge at firstname.lastname@example.org.