2020 James C. Lentz Scholarship
The WSI awards the James C. Lentz Memorial Art Scholarship annually to an Indiana high school senior pursuing a degree in the visual arts. As part of our non-profit outreach each year we engage volunteers to form a scholarship committee to evaluate the scholarship applications and select a winner. This year the WSI Scholarship committee worked remotely due to the pandemic to review the applications and portfolios of those high school seniors who vied for the James C. Lentz scholarship for 2020. The committee
put in some long hours to study, analyze and assess each student’s application, academic transcript, artist statement, teacher recommendation, and portfolio. This year I am happy to report there were 27 Lentz scholarship applicants. The students represented 18 different Indiana high schools ranging from Evansville and Crawford County in the south to West Lafayette and Gas City in the north. But the majority of applicants hailed from central Indiana including our eventual scholarship winner. But before we get to the scholarship winner, I must extend my gratitude to our WSI members who volunteered their time and talents to give of themselves for the benefit of our committee. Your faithfulness, commitment and willingness to serve exemplifies the spirit of the James C. Lentz scholarship. The WSI is grateful to the scholarship committee members: Paula Dearringer, Carol Griffith, Ann Johnson, John O’Connor, and Brenda Pettigrew. The WSI Scholarship committee is ho
nored to carry on the wishes of James C. Lentz and is appreciative of the continued support of the Lentz family.
After reviewing and ranking the applicants and narrowing the group to a final few, the committee is happy to announce the James C. Lentz scholarship recipient for 2020 is Samuel (Sam) Henry from Fishers High School. Sam is a bright and articulate student and his portfolio demonstrates a creative and sensitive mind. He is a wonderful representative of tomorrow’s future artists. Sam will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the fall and is excited at all it has to offer. We extend the congratulations of the scholarship committee, the WSI, and the Lentz family to Samuel Henry and wish him the best in his future studies.
2020 WSI Scholarship Chairperson
Samuel Henry Artist Statement and Bio
If there is one truth about me to be deducted from my artwork, it is that I am a person who seeks emotion. It is something that is not just true about the way I depict people in my art, but also in how I interact with and perceive people on a daily basis. However, there is one advantage which art guarantees which cannot be acquired through a mere conversation, and that is its universality. Unlike face to face communication, art communicates emotion in a way which transcends all barriers, be it language, gender, race, or any other. Thus, I feel it is my sole privilege and duty as an artist to act as a conduit between beings which, otherwise, would remain disconnected. If a comic of mine is seemingly great in the light of my own language, but ultimately fails to relate to the emotions of someone who does not speak it, then what have I done but failed as an illustrator? If I create a portrait which is accurate in anatomy, but fails to make the viewer understand someone else’s personality, then what have I done but failed to assume my role as the conduit? This is why I choose to continue in my practice of art: to communicate emotion to anyone who looks its way. After all, art without purpose or emotion, to me, would just be a waste of material.
If I was to trace my love for art back to a specific point, it would have to be long before this statement was even imagined. Back in the Spring of 2009, my family took our very first day trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Making connections between the names on the artist cards, visual iconography, and the lessons I was learning in class, I found myself whisking through the bottom floor of the museum the entire afternoon, taking picture after picture of me with the work of famous artists I had come to know. In these moments, art became more than just isolated photos to be found in coffee table books; it was a living expression of what I was learning about the world. As I was learning then, art was able to give me glimpses of histories I wasn’t a part of, tragedies which had occurred generations in the past, and the emotions of individuals whose lives never intersected with mine. All these years later, after years of indulging in my own art practice and honing my craft, it is apparent that art still continues to be the lens through which I see the world and a way in which I am able to bring my talents to use. While living both in Oregon and in Indiana for much of my schooling, I was able nurture my own art through the mentorship of instructors and a persistent curiosity into the art of expression, finding much success in and out of the studio during my high school years.
In these past couple years, I have committed many of my weekends to finding the proper home for the next leg of my artistic journey, and I am proud to say that I have found one in the School of the Art institute of Chicago. An institution with a rigorous, yet interdisciplinary curriculum and an emphasis on artistic expression throughout history, SAIC has proven a worthy destination for my continued pursuit in the arts. This fall, I will be starting at SAIC as a part of their First Year Scholars Program, a program which aims to push both the academic and artistic boundaries of artists who have proven themselves through their application process. This is an opportunity afforded only to 2% of applicants and is an experience which has separated SAIC from any other school on my list.
Finally, I would like to close by extending my sincere thanks to the Watercolor Society of Indiana for granting me the James C. Lentz Memorial Scholarship this year. This scholarship will be of great use to me as I continue in the pursuit of the arts later this year in Chicago!
Samuel Henry, Fishers High School