May 18, 2021

Emerging artists should have the freedom to pursue their passion without financial concerns. For 12 years, the J.R. Hopes Scholarship has given UCF art students the resources they need to reach their full potential and has benefitted over 50 students. This year’s scholarship winners are Vito Angelo Silecchia, Sierra Fuentes, Emily Harnett, Kai Schulz, Gianni Vazquez and Eileen Zelaya.

Silecchia has not only been selected as the overall winner for his work in ceramics, but he is also the first student to win with ceramics as a medium. Although students are encouraged to submit artwork in all mediums, previous winners have primarily been in painting, drawing, digital and sculpture.

“Cultures, legacies, heirlooms and traditions permeate my mind and reasons for making art,” says Silecchia. “Clay presents the perfect medium for my intentions and gives me breath to add my voice to the symphony of history.”

Fuentes, Harnett, Schulz, Vazquez and Zelaya were awarded for their artistic achievements as well. Fuentes, Schulz and Zelaya were recognized for their paintings, while Harnett was recognized for her digital design and Vazquez for his sculpture.

The J.R. Hopes Scholarship was established in 2010 to encourage talented art students with financial need to further their art careers. This scholarship may be used for art students to pay for tuition, textbooks, fees and any other items included in the cost of an art education.


Vito Angelo Silecchia 

Sierra Fuentes

Emily Harnett

Kai Schulz

Gianni Vazquez 

Eileen Zelaya 

View the 201120122013201420152016201720182019 and 2020 winners.