Saturday, October 16, 2021

MIFA Awards Art Scholarships and Names Artist of the Year

The charitable, non-profit Marco Island Foundation for the Arts organization recently held its annual combined Student Scholarship and Artist of the Year award luncheon at the Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. With proceeds from MIFA sponsored events, including the Left Bank Art Fest, Brushes & Paint Outdoor Art Show, Winter Film Fest and other art events, MIFA is able to award yearly scholarships to local students who are majoring in the arts. The luncheon was catered by Stonewalls Restaurant.

Seven area students received scholarship awards that went to help defray the cost of their continuing education. Returning scholarship recipients were Anastasia Baran who is majoring in Art Therapy at Florida Gulf Coast University; Brenda Perez who is majoring in art at Florida Southwestern State College; Brianna Monroe majoring in journalism and photography at University of Florida in Gainesville and Logan Fischer who is majoring in music education at Florida Gulf Coast University. First year recipients were Harvey Millar who will be studying theater at Florida Southwestern State College; Luz Perez who will be studying music education at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville and Emma Snow who will be studying art at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia.

The luncheon was attended by the students and their friends and family. Visual artists Emma Snow, Anastasia Baran and Brenda Perez displayed current works of art while Logan Fischer played a Bach arrangement on his French Horn and Luz Perez performed a piece by Bach on the saxophone. Harvey Millar was unable to attend.

Brenda Perez next to her art work.

Floral centerpieces were created by Marco Island artist Sue St. Haire. Her “re-purposed for a purpose” pieces were made from recycled cups, plates and glassware. A donation will be given in her name to For The Love Of Cats organization. Calusa Garden members Lindy Kowalzcyk and Sue Oldershaw filled the pedestals with flowers cut from their gardens. Arrangements went to the families of the scholarship winners and to Artist of the Year, Sherri Morrison.

As a long-time friend of Sherri’s, Artist Tara O’Neill spoke about Sherri and her background before welcoming her to the podium. A Goodland resident, Sherri has had more than 20 years’ experience in advertising. Responsible for creating local, national and international clients, she has created campaigns, designed ads, annual reports, corporate brochures, product catalogs, newsletters, magazines, outdoor boards, posters, trade show displays, logos, invitations, specialty advertising, slide show presentations, vehicle wraps, signage and web pages for a variety of clientele.

The Marco Island Historical Society has had the privilege of working with Sherri for the past five years. Sherri has designed the current MIHS logo that is now synonymous with the Historical Society and recognized throughout Marco Island.

It was a real treat to have all past Artist(s) of the Year present at the luncheon. 2014 Malenda Trick, 2015 Tara O’Neill, 2016 JRobert Houghtaling, 2017 Austin Bell and 2018 Gina Sisbarro-Penzo. Austin Bell and JRobert both spoke and encouraged students to be the best that they can be at what they do and that way, the future will find them.

MIFA would like to thank all those who support our yearly events and look forward to a creative and successful 2019-2020 season. For more information, go to their website at

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