Goss-Michael and Scholarship Recipient Discuss the Foundation's Local Efforts

The Goss-Michael Foundation isn't just a chance for us common folk to drool over Kenny Goss and George Michael's private collection of British contemporary art. The foundation also supports Texas artists with four annual $5,000 scholarships.

Two of them are specifically for students from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas (the George Michael Music Scholarship and the Kenny Goss Art Scholarship). The other two are for visual artists. The Goss-Michael Foundation DFW Art Scholarship is for students in the metroplex and the Goss-Michael Foundation Texas Art Scholarship for students statewide.

The scholarships are put towards each winner's college education, with the intent to get kids interested in and keep them interested in pursuing careers in art and music.

This year's winners are Megan Wainwright (Kenny Goss Art Scholarship), James "Austin" Allen (George Michael Music Scholarship), Isaac Williams (Goss-Michael Foundation DFW Art Scholarship), and Erica Garza (Goss-Michael Foundation Texas Art Scholarship).

To get the inside scoop, we bent the ear of Joyce Goss, Executive Director of The Goss-Michael Foundation and Erica Garza, the recipient of the Goss-Michael Foundation Texas Art Scholarship.

How are the recipients selected and who does the selecting? Joyce Goss: The scholarships are awarded based on their artistic and scholastic achievement, school and community participation, and leadership.

The winners of The Goss-Michael Foundation scholarships are selected by a distinguished panel of judges. The judges are chosen each year due to their reputation of professionalism and expertise in the art and music industries. This year's judges were Aphrodite Gonou, art advisor to Kenny Goss and George Michael, and David Austin, songwriter and long-time collaborator with George Michael.

Why were these students in particular chosen this year? The students chosen this year have extremely unique talents. The foundation challenges preconceived notions of art and each of these young artists exudes the confidence and passion of up-and-coming contemporary artists.

Each winner plans to continue their education in music or art when they begin college in the fall, and we hope to see them continue to not follow art trends but create their own.

When did this program begin? The Goss-Michael Foundation began extending $5,000 merit-based scholarships to high school seniors in February 2008. The award is applied to tuition at the student's college or university of choice in hopes of financially assisting not only the artist but the future of contemporary art as they embark on their college career.

What was the impetus for creating this program? The Goss-Michael Foundation is dedicated to contributing to Dallas's growing artistic community. We created this program to not only enhance the public's familiarity and interaction with contemporary art but to also encourage personal creativity.

The scholarship program is the ideal platform for cultivating relationships with our community's high school students and to continue supporting their education in the performing and visual arts.

What do you hope this program will accomplish in the long run or bigger picture? While the foundation focuses its collection on contemporary British artists, promoting them and bringing them to America, fostering the artistic interest alive in young artists in Dallas and throughout Texas is also very important to us.

Contemporary art is a critical component for a city the size of Dallas and supporting our local artists is the first step to creating a first-rate art community.

We also got Erica Garza's thoughts as the winner of this year's Goss-Michael Foundation Texas Art Scholarship. She graduated from Vista Ridge High School and is headed for the University of North Texas in the fall.

What made you apply for this scholarship? Erica Garza: I had been searching and searching for art scholarships to apply for, and the Texas Art Scholarship from the Goss-Michael Foundation struck me as the most genuine compared to other scholarships I had looked into.

How did you decide what to submit for your application? My photography teacher and classmates gave me a lot of feedback in the decision process and helped me choose ten strong photos that conveyed my style and personality.

Did you ever imagine you'd win? Why or why not? Honestly I hoped that I would win, but I wasn't quite sure that I would. I was very happy with the essay and portfolio that I submitted but there was always that doubt in my mind that I might not win.

What was the first thing you thought when you found out you won and who was the first person you told about it? I had already thought that I didn't win because it had been a long time since the deadline to submit. So I was extremely surprised when I got the call. I almost didn't believe it. Right when I got off the phone, I called my mom and told her the good news. She was very proud of me.

What does this win mean to you and what does it mean for your future? Winning this scholarship really gave me the confidence in myself that I think I had lacked previously. I have always loved art and photography but I had never been one to really show people my work. Not only did winning this scholarship give me a confidence in myself, it also is going to be very helpful for me in college and put less of a financial burden on my family.

As for my future, this win is going to be a reminder of what I have accomplished and a motivator for what I can accomplish in the future. I am starting my first year of college this fall as a communication design major, and having this great accomplishment already has definitely inspired me and will continue to do so throughout my four years and throughout my life and hopefully I can share my further accomplishments with the Goss-Michael Foundation in the future.

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