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2024 Scholarships Awarded to Jessica Valatka, Lianna Ao, and Elisha Torres. Finalists include William Napierkowski, Luke Panameno, and Milo Clarke

Friday, May 31, 2024 12:27 PM | James Bostick (Administrator)

Salem Arts Association Presents 2024 Scholarships to Three Local Graduates, Jessica Valatka of Salem High School, Elisha Torres of KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate, and Lianna Ao of Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School

Salem Arts Scholarships are awarded each spring. This year Salem Arts Association is proudly presenting three scholarships to local students who will attending college in the Fall, with a focus on the arts. Each scholarship is presented with a $1000 award. In addition works created by our scholarship winners will be on display at Salem Arts Association from June 1 through July 27, 2024.

We invite you to attend our Salem Arts Association Scholarship Award Presentation at our gallery, 159 Derby Street, at 1:00 PM on Sunday June 16th.

Ellen Hardy Memorial Art School Scholarship

The recipient of the 2024 Ellen Hardy Memorial Arts Scholarship is Jessica Valatka. Jessica is graduating from Salem High School. She will be attending University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Our Ellen Hardy Memorial Scholarship has been awarded since 2018 to a high school graduate working in any visual art, performance, or multi-media. 

Jessica Valatka believes art is her “strongest way to communicate,” and she has won multiple awards, including, most recently, Best in School for the 6th District Congressional Art Show. She has been actively involved in local arts organizations, including Raw Art Works and Acorn Gallery School of Art, and served as a mural ambassador for the Punto Urban Art Museum. These experiences demonstrated to her the “power of art in shaping culture, education, equity, and sustainability.” Jessica plans to leverage the power of art in the built environment by studying Art, Urban Planning, and Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, starting with a sustainability/art-focused study abroad program in London during her first semester.

Paula Beaulieu Memorial Art School Scholarship

The recipient of the 2024 Paula Beaulieu Memorial Arts Scholarship is Alisha Torres. Alisha is graduating from KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate and will be attending Boston University.

The Paula Beaulieu Memorial Art Scholarship awards has been awarded since 2014 to a High School graduate working in the visual arts.

Elisha Torres earned two Gold Key and three Silver Key awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards this year, and her artwork has been displayed in the Galleries at Lynn Arts’ Black Excellence 2024 exhibition and the MFA Boston’s Portraits of Leadership virtual exhibition, among others. One of her teachers praised Elisha’s “creative prowess” and “the fortitude of her character,” as well as her “attention to detail and exceptional craft.” She has been a dedicated artist employee for Artists in Action, an art-focused community service group at Raw Art Works. Elisha will build on these strengths and pursue her “passion for the arts, problem-solving, and public communication” by studying Fine Arts at Boston University.

Creative Collective Innovation Award Scholarship

Our Creative Collective Innovation Award is presented to a graduate from any Northshore school who demonstrates creative innovation in visual arts, performance, and multi-media. This award encourages inclusive innovation in any creative efforts and celebrates student achievements that take their talent to new places through interdisciplinary work, collaborations, breaking systemic boundaries, and creating outcomes beyond the traditional.

The recipient of the 2024 Creative Collective Innovation Award is Lianna Ao. Lianna is graduating from Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School and will be attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

Drawing has been the center of Lianna Ao's life since she was ten years old, as she “immersed herself in fictional worlds of her own design.” Her inclusion on the High Honor Roll at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School demonstrates her talent and hard work in the Design and Media Communications program. Liana also turned her talents to her high school yearbook, and one of her teachers noted that she “is extremely creative, intelligent, driven, and has developed a signature art style that her audience recognizes as her own.” Lianna will bring these talents to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she will major in Illustration to prepare for a career as a concept artist.

Scholarship Finalists

In addition to our Salem Arts Association Scholarship Winners listed above we honor a selection of finalists each year who also deserve recognition for their creative accomplishments. 

William Napierkowski - Salem High School 

Musician William Napierkowski has performed extensively, including as the Lead/Principal Trumpet in the Salem High School Jazz Ensemble; the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble and Orchestra; and the Chelmsford Big Band, to name just a few. He was also a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, served as a mentor for the Northeast Massachusetts Intermezzo Youth Orchestra, and taught brass at the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras Summer Program. At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, William will prepare for a career as a professional trumpet player and music teacher. William noted, “My parents are both music educators so growing up I've always seen the impact a teacher can make on a student's life, especially in music.” 

Milo Clarke - Danvers High School

Milo Clarke was a member of the National Art Honors Society and won first place in the photography division at the 2023 We’re Next exhibition at the Danvers Art Association. Milo has worked as an Art teacher/camp counselor for the Danvers Art Association and as a youth gymnastics coach. They have demonstrated their passion for social justice through organizations like the Vocal Alliance, a social justice-focused musical group that Milo helped to establish at Danvers High School. They will attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst to pursue a Studio Art BFA with a concentration in Photography/Intermedia. Milo notes, “Through the visual arts field, I plan to promote change, diversity, self-expression, and creativity for myself and others.”

Luke Panameno - Lynn English High School

Luke Panameno is an employee and mentee at Raw Art Works, where they work as a muralist in Good 2 Go, which utilizes public art projects to create positive change in the community. Luke was president of Lynn English High School’s Film/TV Production Club, which created a short film, and turned their creativity to the school’s Tabletop Role-Playing Games Club. At Hampshire College, Luke will study animation/film and marine science and history. Luz-Marie notes, “I hope to use my experiences in higher education and life to be an artist, scholar and activist. I've grown up on art and animation; I started animating when I was a pre-teen and have always wanted to be a professional artist and filmmaker.”

Learn more about our scholarship programs here: 

Salem Arts Association
159 Derby Street 
Salem, MA 01970  
Phone: 978-745-4850 

Weekends 12-6pm

Closed: Christmas, Thanksgiving
and New Years Day 
Parking: on street when available


© 2007 - 2024,  Salem Arts Association is a 501(c)(3 )non-profit organization

159 Derby Street, Salem MA 01970