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Fine Arts Endowments Nurture Potential and Sustain Programs

by Stacy Calfo  |   Back to Table of Contents


“The gift that keeps on giving” is a phrase that could have been coined to describe a well-rounded education — and also the generosity of donors who make that possible for so many students at Ravenscroft.

When it comes to endowments dedicated to the fine arts at Ravenscroft, donors who support these funds can be assured their generosity has a lifelong impact on students with a passion for the arts. 

Funds “run the gamut”

“Endowments run the gamut for us,” David McChesney, Ravenscroft’s director of fine arts, said. “They can be used for broad arts funding across disciplines or can be very specific, even for a certain instrument.

“Not only do these funds as a whole help take the pressure off of operating budgets, they also differentiate Ravenscroft from other schools by providing scholarship funds,” he added. 

The Hunter Family Scholarship, for example, provides Upper School fine arts students with up to $2,000 in tuition each year, with the opportunity to apply for an additional one-time gift to offset the cost of attending a fine arts enrichment opportunity. Rising freshmen who apply for the scholarship go through a rigorous audition and application process, which includes preparing two contrasting works or a visual arts portfolio and answering questions about the impact of arts in their lives. The fund was established in 2001 by R. Merrill and Marilyn Hunter and their children, KATIE ’98, CHRIS ’01, MATT ’04 and ANNA ’08. 

“Passionate about art”

EMILY SIKKEL ’15 received the Hunter Scholarship as a freshman and credits it with giving her the confidence to pursue art and design as a career.

“The Hunter Scholarship allowed me to attend Interlochen Arts Camp the summer after my freshman year at Ravenscroft,” she said. “That summer I experienced what it was like to be surrounded by creative people who were passionate about art and design. Since then, I knew that I wanted to be involved in communities of creatives.” 

Sikkel went on to earn a degree in art and design with a concentration in fashion and fibers from NC State. Today, Sikkel continues her creative journey as a design intern with the women’s wovens team at Madewell, J. Crew’s sister company, in New York. There, she said, she finds inspiration every day.

“Seeing potential in me”

Another Hunter recipient, ERICA ARCUDI ’10, said the scholarship was the first validation of her artistic abilities, motivating her to continue developing as an artist. Through the scholarship, she attended Spoleto Study Abroad, an arts and humanities summer immersion program in Italy, to study visual art. As an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, Arcudi double majored in classical archaeology and studio art. She then enrolled at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy to study traditional methods of drawing and oil painting. Arcudi continues to live in Florence, where she has a studio and teaches at the academy. 

“My passion for visual arts developed with the support of the Ravenscroft faculty, who encouraged me to apply for the Hunter Scholarship,” explained Arcudi. “I thank the faculty and the Hunter family for seeing potential in me.”

These recipients and many others know firsthand the impact of gifts in support of fine arts endowments. 

“Financial sustainability is vital to our programs, and endowments make it happen,” McChesney said. “The arts are an opportunity for students to be creative, which impacts all aspects of their lives and possible future paths. They represent an investment into what our students are capable of and what the future holds for them.”

Photos of EMILY SIKKEL ’15 courtesy of Juli Leonard/The News & Observer.

Artist Portfolios

Enjoy more work by Hunter scholars Erica Arcudi '10 and Emily Sikkel '15 in their digital portfolios.

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