Winnie Green Chandler was on the heels of her 40th birthday when she painted her first canvas. A busy mother of seven, she found an outlet in still life and enrolled at the Atlanta College of Art in the late 1950s to pursue it. Today, along with her art, Chandler’s altruism lives on via the Chandler Fellowship, which her children established in her honor. An award for master of fine arts students continuing their studies, the fellowship relieves the financial burden associated with tuition, allowing students to focus entirely on their art.
It’s part of a legacy of philanthropy that has come to define Georgia State’s arts scene. The dozens of merit-based awards established by supporters of Georgia State, like Chandler, have made entry into the College of the Arts possible for blossoming young artists, whose future contributions are immeasurable.
The Chandler Fellowship: Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design
Becoming a Chandler Fellow helped Paul Steven Benjamin (M.F.A. ’13), catch the eye of a New York Times art critic and win the coveted South Arts Southern Prize in 2018. It enabled Fellow Jack Michael (M.F.A. ’20) to manage her own printing studio and travel around the country, installing textile art in unexpected places.
Their awards ushered Benjamin and Michael into a built-in support network of their peers, an avenue for collaboration and a sense of community with artists and scholars who have been in their shoes. It’s proven as valuable as the monetary aid that comes along with it. In spring 2019, the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design welcomed Chandler Fellowship alumni and students for a retrospective art show and reception. The celebration honored those recipients’ contributions to the school’s artistic and academic record and the legacy they’ve left for incoming artists.
The Florence Kopleff Vocal Scholarship: School of Music
Melissa Joseph (M.M. ’17) is able to chase her dream of becoming an opera singer thanks to the Florence Kopleff Vocal Scholarship, named for the first artist-in-residence for the University System of Georgia. Awarded to an incoming undergraduate majoring in voice performance or choral/general music education, the scholarship recognizes the highest levels of talent and potential. The stakes are fitting, considering Time magazine once called Kopleff, the “greatest living alto.”
“When you’re on scholarship in the School of Music, you’re held to a higher standard,” says Joseph, who has responded to the call by helping run auditions and competitions for the school. But that, too, has paid off in Joseph’s favor. Volunteering has made her more visible and expanded her network, which has helped her land gigs, like singing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
The TRISPRO Scholarship Fund: School of Film,Media & Theatre
Earning the TRISPRO Scholarship gave Nadia Morgan (B.A. ’02) the freedom to focus on theatre and develop her talent. Today, she works as a scenic artist at community theatres around the city, including Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit at The Alliance. She’s also worked as a contributing set artist for the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries.” Arin Logan (B.A. ’03) a fellow contributor at The Alliance, also found her footing through the TRISPRO in 2004. She balances her time working in local community theatre along with productions like Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow.”
Morgan and Logan are two of seven recipients of the TRISPRO, which was established in 1992 in honor of TRISPRO, Inc., a non-profit theatre group established by siblings Spenny Steenrod and Barbara Berry. Their hope for the scholarship was to inspire future leaders and participants in community theatre.