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The Society’s mission of supporting and preserving the art and history of illustration through educational and social programming was continued this past year through all of its many challenges. The Society is proud to have hosted four prestigious scholarship programs recognizing outstanding college-level students throughout the United States. These scholarship programs offer financial support to selected students, as well as promotional opportunities to help them establish careers in illustration and comic art.

This year’s Annual Student Scholarship Competition featured over three hundred works chosen from 7,300 entries submitted by professors of college-level illustration and animation students nationwide and Canada. In a competition which can kick start a career, students bring their most sophisticated, well-crafted and original work to be tested. A jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, selects the most outstanding works created throughout the year. Work is juried into the competition based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used. Thirty two students were awarded financial support from the show, which  is now viewable on the Society’s online exhibits platform.

On behalf of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, the Society is pleased to announce the annual Will Eisner Scholar, dedicated to one of the most influential comic artists of all time. This scholarship is awarded to the best comics and sequential art student currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in the US. Junior-level students are selected by their faculty and submit a portfolio to the Society. This year the jury included comic artists Maria Hoey, Ellen Lindner, and Carl Potts, culture journalist and writer Karama Horne, and publisher/ owner Terry Nantier (NBM & Papercutz).  The jury chose as finalists Ashley Castañeda (Rhode Island School of Design), Elisia Fernandez (Ringling College of Art and Design ), and Natalie Riolfi (School of Visual Arts). After online interviews and a review of their body of work, Ashley Castaneda was selected as this year’s Will Eisner Scholar.

The Zankel Scholar, established in 2007, is named in memory of Arthur Zankel, whose generous bequest made this scholarship possible. Mr. Zankel was a firm advocate for higher education, and the Society is honored to seek, in his name, the best illustration student of the junior class. Top students are nominated by faculty, and submit a portfolio of work to the Society. The jury this year included illustrator/ artists Julia Breckenreid, Jon McDonald, Frank Morrison, Tran Nguyen, and Charles Pyle. The jury chose as finalists Rachel Gonzalez (School of Visual Arts), Frank Liu (Rhode Island School of Design) and Carlos Miranda (Fashion Institute of Technology). After online interviews and a portfolio review, Carlos Miranda was selected as this year’s Zankel Scholar.

In 2010, the Society established the Society of Illustrators Scholarship in Memory of Joyce Rogers Kitchell, to honor her legacy as an illustrator and longtime member. The scholarship provides annual support for a student within The School of Art and Design at San Diego State University. Nominated students are selected by a committee of faculty members, and finalists are chosen by the Society based on their portfolios and written statements. After interviews by the Society and a presentation of additional portfolio work, Diem Nguyen was selected as this year’s award winner.

About the Society of Illustrators
Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators and its Museum of Illustration together comprise America’s longest-standing nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration. The mission of SI/MI is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration and its history and evolving nature through exhibitions and educational programs.

About the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation
The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation fosters innovation and creativity in graphic literature, sequential art and comics. It encourages others to continue and build upon the legacy of Will Eisner, who broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others. 

About the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University
The School of Art and Design at San Diego State University values the theoretical and historical study of the visual arts, art making, and the practice of design; and recognizes that they are integral to society and beneficial to the individual. They promote the values of integrity, innovation, and interaction through their teaching, creative endeavors, and community involvement. The School’s progressive, dynamic, and relevant curricula attract ambitious, dedicated undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom become leading professionals in their fields. Their faculty and staff are distinguished by breadth of experience, expertise, and professional achievement.

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