Online art sale to help Woodson Museum scholarship recipients whose education is now in jeopardy

Live auction was cancelled, but paintings are for sale online to help students facing new financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic

ST. PETERSBURG — The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum’s annual fundraiser and art auction couldn’t take place in April. But now, the museum and a local artist are taking a new approach to help 17 area college students who need financial help more than ever.

Nationally recognized artist Jane Bunker, who donated 21 oil paintings last year to raise $43,000 for the first-ever Woodson Warrior scholarships, worked for a year to create 19 new works of art to be sold at a live auction in April for more scholarships. But with the auction canceled, Bunker and museum director Terri Lipsey Scott are launching an online art auction to keep helping last year’s scholarship recipients.

The Woodson is hoping to sell at least five of the paintings, priced from $3,000 to $5,000 each. Bunker has picked five paintings of lilies for the auction – pieces that use light and color to give the flowers a luminous, photo-like quality.

Eleven of the 17 area college students who won Woodson Warrior scholarships last year have applied for financial aid from the museum’s scholarship fund this year.  Each has a compelling story, for example:

Lauryn Latimer hopes to resume studying Speech Pathology at Florida State University in the fall, but she’s worried about how she’ll afford it. Her father has been furloughed from GA Foods, and her brother’s been furloughed from the Finish Line retail store.

Lauryn works in customer service at Publix while attending school online, and her mom continues to work at BayCare Health Systems.

“It’s hard to make ends meet while going to school and working,” Lauryn said. “I doubt I’ll be able to afford next semester.”

Amya Ellison, a student at the University of Florida, is also worried. Her dad is an Uber driver, and his income has been significantly reduced during the pandemic.

“I believe that next year it could go either way,” Amya said. “If school remains virtual, I won’t have to pay for housing; however, I’ll still have to pay for everything else.”

Diamond Scrivens, a Florida State University student, is home finishing the semester online, and she’s also helping her two younger siblings with their online schooling. She had to leave her part-time job in Tallahassee, so she has no income and is not sure she can afford college next year.

Educators and social justice experts across the country fear students will become derailed by the financial fallout of COVID-19, and it will have a lasting impact on their lives and community.

“The Woodson Warriors scholarship recipients are an outstanding group of scholars. Their college transcripts describe a group of achievers who have excelled academically, and their essays describe young people wise beyond their years,” Bunker said. “Supporting these students so that they can continue their academic education is one of the best investments we can make in the future of our community.”

To support all of the scholarship recipients, view the paintings for sale at BunkerScholarshipAuction.com. The following paintings are for sale and can be purchased on the website: Black and White Together, Gala, Sweet Light, Lilies of the Rainbow and First Light.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Woodson Warrior scholarship recipients. These students and Jane Bunker are available for interviews

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