Welcome to Arts for Life!

We support Florida high school seniors who excel in the visual and performing arts with scholarships.

Apply for a Scholorship

Scholarship in the Arts

Arts for Life! recognizes the creativity and artistic talents of high school students throughout Florida. Annually, Arts for Life! awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 Florida high school seniors who demonstrate academic and artistic excellence in creative writing, dance, drama, music or the visual arts.

Creative Writing

Dance

Drama

Music

Visual Arts

Columba Bush
Philanthropist

Columba Bush’s passion is the arts. As First Lady of Florida, she visited classrooms throughout the state, experiencing first-hand the incredible influence of the arts on the lives of students. She especially enjoyed meeting high school students and learning more about their dreams and desired career paths. So, with the support of Governor Bush and many fellow arts advocates, she started Arts for Life! in 1999 to help high school seniors pursue their dreams in the arts after graduation.

Since then, Arts for Life! has awarded more than 500 scholarships to help Florida students pursue their artistic dreams. Many past scholarship recipients have gone on to become professional actors and actresses, singers and musicians, dancers, artists and art educators.

Apply for a Scholarship

Arts for Life! annually awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 graduating high school seniors in Florida who demonstrate excellence in creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual art. Launched by former First Lady Columba Bush in 1999, the program has awarded scholarships to more than 500 gifted high school seniors.

2020 Award Winners

Creative Writing
Farrah Cavus

Pine View School, Sarasota County

Jordyn Dees

Steinbrenner High School, Hillsborough County

Jana Kelly

Steinbrenner High School, Hillsborough County

Michelle Manunga

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

Farrah Cavus

The Most Dangerous Thing 
another day passes 
like the fog against my glasses 
colors smeared across my sight 
a weary sun weeps molasses 
descending into stifling night. 
i try so hard to stay afloat 
but hardened fingers scrape my throat 
clawing at my eyes and lips 
those dirt encrusted fingertips 
block my vision, steal my air 
and you’re the one who’s standing there. 
drowning creatures gasp for life 
grasping others in their strife 
i don’t want to drag you under 
the world is full of love and wonder 
but i am pinned by my own knife 
and thus we both are torn asunder.

Jordyn Dees

The Pop of a Suburban Balloon
I am fifteen and walking
bouncing and carefree on a sunbaked sidewalk
in post card suburbia where the day smells bright and the world seems small.
He is twenty-five, maybe
younger, maybe older,
speeding past me,
head out the car window, “What’s up, baby girl?”
The words are tinged in amusement
lifted into the air like wayward balloons but
they fly at me like daggers until I pop
and stand there,
dumbstruck, tongue stuck
in a throat snatched of a snappy remark (something you'd see on TV, maybe)
until I can't see the dull, dented four-door anymore.
I am fifteen and walking, dragging feet along the sidewalk,
arms folded over chest, eyes on pavement, jumping at every passing vehicle,
formulating what I would’ve said. What I should’ve said.
My body is sheltered by a shapeless sweater and loose-fitting jeans, no
skin to see besides numb fingers.
Poor armor against the next set of bright eyes and sharp teeth.

Jana Kelly

Excerpt from the Short Story 0:00 
The world is too full. She’s been crammed with creatures, stuffed to her teeth with sickly, sweaty things, and she hates it. Fake God, does she hate it. The poor thing rotates with a limp now, and her lungs are full of rotten, rust-colored dirt––the color of an industry. And here you come, your arms swinging but only barely, stopped mid-gait by the hot bodies around you. Your eyes are halfway open. Or closed. You’re tired, but you’re tired every day these days, aren’t you? It’s a side effect of living, but you think it’s just your office job. 
I’ll tell you: it isn’t. 
Ruthless people; someone’s elbow in your stomach and someone’s shoulder in your left lung. Your hands are millimeters away from that man’s ass. But it doesn’t matter. No one can feel anyone else anymore anyhow. You’re tired, you’re all tired, and everyone is only focused on heading home and getting enough time in bed before having to start the next identical day. It’s a miserable life for you folk, you tacky, pitiful bipeds. You all spend your todays trying to engineer tomorrow. 
I’ll tell you: it’s already passed you by. 
And so you slither your way through the crowd, ducking through arms and knees and the occasional crotch. Your apartment is close, smack dab in the middle of the city, and all you can think about is your microwave dinner for one. Mmm, those nuked powder-potatoes sure taste great, don’t they? You like to think they do. They’re better than the taste of the water you burn. 

Michelle Manunga

Homeless Camp at the Beach’s Super Target 
(My car nurses my warmed hands with its cold breath, I am refreshing myself, locking my doors, and looking out the windows in peace. A mother and child are holding onto each other, transferring strength through sweating palms.) 
I hear the sounds of a million heated droughts. 
A child-burdened mother’s throat is 
tight, taut, scratched, wrung out/ 
dry for any blood that 
sleeps in the curves 
of her daughter’s bruised tongue. 
I hear the dirt mudding itself to the child’s lower lashes. 
Bedsheets strangled her thinning waist, clothing her; she, and her mother 
stood, melting pavement ate ingrown toenails. 
The pair are vanishing from my sight, 
still, 
silent, slowly simmering/ 
boiling up in their weakening stomachs, 
flushing the nearly forgotten, weeks old apple cores 
out into sand fields— 
out into empty hands no longer 
holding kindness, passing lonely coins. 
I hear the mother’s, the child’s 
hungry guts wetting the droughts; 
skin on skin on thin blankets on itching concrete, 
harboring the wilting fine-boned bodies 
aching for milk. 

Dance
Alyssa Foglia

A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County

Alyssa Foglia

Drama
Graciela Fernandez

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

John Malley

Leon High School, Leon County

Mallorie Sievert

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

Graciela Fernandez

John Malley

Mallorie Sievert

Film
Morgan Williams

Calvary Christian Academy, Broward County

Morgan Williams

Music
Justin Gruber

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward County

Eileen Lee

Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, Pinellas County

Angela Ramirez

Coral Reef Senior High School, Miami-Dade County

Jared Santiago

Stanton College Preparatory School, Duval County

Justin Gruber

Eileen Lee

Angela Ramirez

Jared Santiago

Visual Arts
Luis Aleman

New World School of the Arts, Miami-Dade County

Isadora Campos

Coral Springs High School, Broward County

Justin Clarke

Dillard High School, Broward County

Francesca Cocilovo

A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County

Monica Lagrange Yanes

Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy, Miami-Dade County

Amanda Nachman

Dunedin High School, Pinellas County

Ashley Ross

Osceola Fundamental High School, Pinellas County

M Jamesly Saint Louis

Dillard High School, Broward County

Michelle Serafimovich

A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County

Jillian Tarini

A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach County

An Tran

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Duval County

Julia Zhu

Paul J. Hagerty High School, Seminole County

Luis Aleman

Isadora Campos

Justin Clarke

Francesca Cocilovo

Monica Lagrange Yanes

Amanda Nachman

Ashley Ross

M Jamesly Saint Louis

Michelle Serafimovich

Jillian Tarini

An Tran

Julia Zhu

Alumni Spotlight

West Lamy

2000 Winner in Visual Art

Experienced play-by-play announcer and multimedia sports journalist with years of producing and covering sports. For more information on West, visit worldwidewest.com.

Daniel Andai

2001 Winner in Music

Daniel is an accomplished violinist who has traveled all over the world as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, concertmaster, conductor and recording artist. Currently, Daniel is the Dean of Music at New World School of the Arts in Miami as well as the Artistic Director of the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Alhambra Orchestra in Miami, and Concertmaster of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. Learn more about Daniel at danielandai.com.

Support Students

Help support a new generation of artists by becoming a patron of Arts for Life! Your contribution will directly support scholarships to help offset college expenses for young Florida artists who demonstrate extraordinary talents in creative writing, dance, drama, music or the visual arts. View our uniform disclosure statement.