“Life is a constant game of observation, considering potential in the things I see, the people I meet, and the experiences I have to turn into art…” —Austyn Bynon, one winner of the 2013 J.R. Hopes Art Scholarship                            

Jim Hopes, creator of the J.R. Hopes Art Scholarship in the College of Arts and Humanities started the named scholarship to nurture UCF art students’ work and passion. “My goal is that each artist will be able to reach his or her full potential, not only as an artist, but as a human being and contributor to the greater good.”

Now in its fourth year, the scholarship drew applications from a diverse group of artists representing all areas of the UCF art department. The winners of this year’s scholarship are as different in their views on the creation of art as the media they use to express themselves.

Andres E. Aranguibel won for his video “Here,” which captures the wonder of New York from a visitor’s point of view. Art, for Andres, isn’t the photos he takes or the video he creates but the meaning behind them, “the soul in them,” as he puts it. “It’s who I am that brings my piece to life.”

“The video was originally meant to be a keepsake, a way of reliving the essence and feeling of living in New York at a point in my life where my potential was at its highest,” said Aranguibel. “My art, though relatable, is much more personal than it is universal. I think that might be the reason people can relate to it: for its partial intimacy.”

Teresa Bethea, winner in the drawing category, captured her husband’s marriage proposal through a drawing in graphite. Though profoundly meaningful to her, she loves that art is subjective and “touches people, but not always in the same way. I think the fact that [the artist] has the courage to put a piece of themselves out there for the world to see is beautiful in itself.”

Omalix Martinez, winner in the painting category, sees her artwork as something that completes her yet oftentimes happens outside of her. “I cannot even describe the satisfaction I find when creating art — the art of picking up a brush and seeing the brushstrokes get transformed into something else.”

For Austyn Bynon, whose wearable sculptures helped her win a scholarship two years in a row, art is about impact. “I’ve seen successful art that hasn’t necessarily been aesthetically pleasing so I don’t think art has to be ‘beautiful’ to have an impact on the viewer.”

Matt Dombrowski, animation instructor at UCF, has high praise for the students receiving the awards; “Though they are receiving the awards, UCF and the city of Orlando are the true winners. The chosen students are going to represent our wonderful university and city on a national stage one day. We are fortunate to get to experience these great artists on a local level.”

Hopes also believes the talented artists at UCF can not only make an impact in the arts in the Orlando community, but in the world.  He encourages scholarship winners to take risks, think big and be persistent.

“Someone told me once: it’s not the smartest or the most talented people who succeed in life — it’s the most persistent people,” he says. “That’s why we ask the applicants what they want to do with their lives — [see] who can stick with it through the ups and downs and say ‘I’m going to make this my career no matter what. I can do this.’”

For more information on the the J.R. Hopes Art Scholarship and the scholarship winners, please visit: http://scholarships.cah.ucf.edu/hopes/