Kelli Folsom, a member of this year’s graduating class at the College, has been awarded two prestigious scholarships, which together are enabling her to travel to Europe, experience several of the most significant fine arts institutions in the world and then participate in an artist-in-residence program in Bulgaria.
Folsom has received a John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship, which is judged and overseen by a committee at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla. The purpose of the scholarship is, “To foster a high standard in the study of form, color, drawing, painting, design, and technique, as these are expressed in modes showing patent affinity with the classical tradition of western culture.” These criteria were expressly stated in the Stacey’s will and the scholarship rubric emphasizes that applicants must be, “Skilled and devoted to the classical tradition.”
Funding from the scholarship has enabled Folsom to draw up an itinerary for her trip to Europe that includes visits to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, Holland; the Rubenshuis (Rubens House) in Antwerp, Belgium, and The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels; and the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, both in Paris, France.
Folsom, who attended Wilburton High School in her hometown of Wilburton, Okla., majored in drawing while pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Lyme Academy College. She comments, “I am extremely honored to have received this prestigious scholarship that continues to honor art-making in the classical tradition. This is a highly competitive scholarship and I am very grateful to receive this recognition. It is affording me a dream opportunity to study master works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Vermeer in Europe.”
Folsom’s second award is from The Griffis Art Center, Inc., a non-profit visual arts organization in New London formed to, “Cultivate and encourage contemporary fine art and artists, and to create an opportunity for international exchange among artists and the community through the visual arts.” The Griffis Art Center has hosted artists from more than 34 countries and currently operates several facilities and programs.
Funding from the scholarship will enable Folsom to stay in the small village of Polkovnik Serafimovo nestled in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria for just shy of a month. She notes enthusiastically, “I am so thrilled to have received this opportunity. I truly believe it will be an eye-opening and culturally-enriching experience. I look forward to my work exploring new depths and directions as a result.”
Folsom is following in the footsteps of several other Lyme Academy College graduates, who have also participated in this Bulgarian-American Exchange Program started in August 1997. In collaboration with The Orpheus Foundation in Bulgaria, the property at Polkovnik Serafimovo is reserved for American artists, writers and composers during the months of June through August.
On return from her European travels, Folsom plans to teach at Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme, Conn., before returning to Oklahoma, where she hopes, “To keep painting, teach, and find ways that allow me to continue being an artist.”