Legacy of Influential Artist Charles White Awarded New Fellowship at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles


A NEW CHARLES WHITE Art and Design Scholarship at the Otis Art College of Art and Design in Los Angeles provides students from under-represented groups with full scholarships for four years. The scholarship honors the legacy and influence of Charles Blanc, a master designer recognized for his powerful and realistic images of blacks that capture their strength, dignity and beauty.

The famous artist and beloved faculty member taught Otis from 1965 until his death in 1979, inspiring many students who became notable artists including David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Suzanne Jackson, Ulysses Jenkins, Kent Twitchell, Judithe Hernandez, Richard Wyatt and Alonzo Davis.


Charles White painting a mural Mary McLeod Bethune, 1978. | © The Charles White Archives, photo by Frank J. Thomas

The annual scholarship is funded in part by a donation of $ 10 million from Mei-Lee Ney, chair of the board of directors of Otis College, and established in cooperation with the artist’s son, C. Ian White, and the Charles White Archives.

“We are extremely grateful to Mei-Lee for her generous donation and shared commitment to the important diversity, equity and inclusion work of Otis College and to Ian White for partnering with us to celebrate the work. and his father’s legacy, ”said Otis College President Charles Hirschhorn. when the stock market was announced yesterday.

Ney is President of Richard Ney & Associates Asset Management Inc., which she helped lead in partnership with her late husband, Richard.

“It is an honor to provide under-represented students access to art and design training at Otis College, an institution close to my heart. Charles White has opened the door to so many diverse artists with his hard-hitting work and teaching, and it’s wonderful to continue that legacy with this new scholarship, ”Ney said in a statement.

“It is an honor to provide under-represented students access to art and design training at Otis College, an institution close to my heart. Charles White has opened the door to so many diverse artists with his hard-hitting work and teaching, and it’s wonderful to continue that legacy with this new scholarship. – Mei-Lee Ney

Last year, Ney gave Otis $ 1 million to support the creation of a leadership position dedicated to the college’s equity, diversity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. His donation of $ 10 million dedicated to the Charles White Scholarship is among the largest donations Otis has ever received.

Next spring, the inaugural scholarship will be awarded to a new freshman art and design student from an underrepresented Los Angeles County group, who will join Otis in the fall of 2022. In 2023, the scholarship will be joining Otis. will expand, providing opportunities for two under-represented each year. students – one from Los Angeles County and one from anywhere in the United States.

“This scholarship program offers a young artist the opportunity to explore their creative gifts. Charles White was twice denied scholarships to pursue his artistic interests as a young adult purely because of his pigmentation. As an established artist, he was even refused entry to see his own work due to its pigmentation. I appreciate Mei-Lee’s generous donation for her recognition of White’s contribution and recognition of the lack of students of color in arts institutions, ”said artist, author and educator C. Ian White, who oversees the Charles White Archives.

“Generations of students have been impacted by Charles White’s presence on the Otis campus, who have been and continue to be huge and full contributors to the arts and their communities. This scholarship will be a way for young creatives to enter the arts and build a more inclusive cultural landscape. “

“Charles White has twice been denied scholarships to pursue his artistic interests as a young adult purely on the basis of his pigmentation… I appreciate Mei-Lee’s generous donation for his recognition of White’s contribution and recognition of the lack of students of color in arts institutions. “
– C. Ian White

Among the many emotional and motivated white students, Hammons, the acclaimed conceptual artist, is. He attended Otis from 1968 to 1972. The college shared Hammons’ following reflection on his experiences in the White’e class:

“I stayed in this class for a long, long time. But you know it was more about being with a pro, it was like being in the room with [Muhammad] Ali. Or James Baldwin. Just be in this room with that kind of confidence [that kind of] honesty is what was really going on. Everything I drew didn’t really matter. Spirit, energy and dignity were. CT

BOOKSHELF
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Art Institute of Chicago have co-published a fully illustrated exhibition catalog to accompany “Charles White: A Retrospective”. The volume features contributions from exhibition curators, academics and artist Kerry James Marshall. Also consider “Charles White: Gordon’s Gift to the University of Texas” and “Grandpa and the Library: How Charles White Learned to Paint,” a children’s book by C. Ian White. “Charles White: Black Pope” was published on the occasion of “Charles White — Leonardo da Vinci”, the MoMA presentation hosted by David Hammons. “David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968-1979” accompanied the artist’s recent exhibition at the Drawing Center in New York.

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