The Lorin '68 & Karen Letendre Art Scholarship

The Lorin '68 and Karen Letendre Art Scholarship, aims to award one undergraduate and one graduate student per year for their exceptional artistic talent. Lorin and Karen are longtime patrons and lovers of the arts and have generously supported artists at UC Santa Barbara for years. The scholarship search is conducted yearly during the Fall quarter at UCSB.

Fall 2023 Winners

Cevins McCullah '25
Dwelling (Large Scale Sculpture) 
Undergraduate Art Student

In "Dwelling," I explore the intersection of sculpture and contemplative space, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in a tangible manifestation of introspection. This large-scale sculpture is not merely an object to be observed; it is a vessel for contemplation, a haven for the mind.

At the heart of "Dwelling" lies the notion of inhabitation—the sculpture is conceived as a sanctuary for the mind, a refuge from the chaotic external world. The integration of a small seat at its base invites participants to physically engage with the artwork, creating an intimate connection between the viewer and the piece. This intentional design transforms the sculpture from a static object into a dynamic space for personal reflection.

The choice of materials and form is crucial to the conceptualization of "Dwelling." The sculpture's size and shape are carefully considered to encapsulate and cradle the inhabitant, providing a sense of enclosure without confinement. The use of durable materials speaks to the enduring nature of contemplation, while the aesthetic elements of the sculpture evoke a harmonious blend of form and function.

The incorporation of a wind chime at the pinnacle of the sculpture introduces an auditory element, contributing to the overall sensory experience. The gentle sounds produced by the wind chime serve as a subtle reminder of the ever-present natural world, encouraging a connection between the internal contemplative space and the external environment.

"Dwelling" is an exploration of the symbiotic relationship between the mind and its surroundings, transcending the traditional boundaries of sculpture by offering a tangible space for introspection. It is an open invitation to slow down, take a seat, and embark on a journey of self-discovery within the sanctuary of art.

Emme Hyesun Birkholz '26
The Visitor (Painting)
Undergraduate Art Student

The physical projections of our internal selves and habits can be seen everywhere. Approximately 12’x12’x10', I live on the top bunk of a triple at UC Santa Barbara, and the traces of my self and my roommates' identities can be seen on every wall and surface. It’s a strange collision of our lives with an eclectic and beautiful outcome. The painting, "The Visitor," is intended to be a confrontation with the viewer, as they are viewing the physical embodiment of our intersecting lives. It’s cluttered, complex, and doesn’t entirely make sense, but the subjects in the painting know the significance of every object and their role in the function of their home.

Fall 2022 Winners

Zoe Van Beurden '24 Trumpet Vine

Zoe Van Beurden '24
Trumpet Vine (Oil on Canvas)
Undergraduate Art Student

I am an oil and acrylic painter whose subject matter is predominantly nature. My artwork highlights the beauty and sublime quality of nature. This is accomplished through my use of bold–and often complementary–colors, natural patterns, and idyllic compositions. I grew up surrounded by people who cherished and respected all forms of nature; my grandparents devoted many of their days to nurturing plants and tending to their gardens. I found that nature had the unique ability to bring comfort to others, as it had done for myself and my grandparents. I became fascinated with this quality of nature and it has significantly influenced my art practice.

I take great inspiration from Post-Impressionism and artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. I admire these artists’ ability to capture the emotive qualities of their subject matter through thick paint textures, vivid colors, and slight distortions of reality. This influence is visible in my artwork through my use of exaggerated and evocative colors that emphasize the beauty of nature.

Zoë Gonzales '26 Among the Giants Undergraduate Student

Zoë Gonzales '26
Among the Giants
Undergraduate Student

I have been painting since I could first hold a paintbrush, and I like to make art that allows the audience to slow down and think about what they're seeing. I enjoy using acrylics and fine liners in order to add intricate details to my pieces.

Fall 2021 Winners

Thank You Come Again by Dannah Mari Hidalgo

Dannah Mari Hidalgo
Thank You Come Again
MFA Graduate Student

My work is a reflection of works such as Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. My work is a modern observation of timeless sentiments during trying times. I constantly work to examine the emotions and experiences in what lies between enthralling highs and severe depths of sadness, paying mundane, nuanced instances more focus in an attempt to offer a different perspective to daily life. Currently, my work is an examination of working-class Millennials’ experiences. Most especially as a child of immigrants, the pursuit of a passion is near incredulous. Despite the surmounting reality, it seems the pursuit of a fulfilling profession, one that allows more “work-life” balance, is the goal, it’s a shift we see in younger generations, met with dissonance from the previous ones. An exploration of working-class emotions and situations, specifically the Millennial generation, I look to further investigate the frustrations associated with the pressures of social expectations fabricated by family members, peers, and media upon graduating from Post-Secondary Institutions, as well as concrete systems that influence the experience. Indoctrinated in unrealistic expectations, innumerable individuals feel as if backed into a corner by limited options, constantly subjecting ourselves to critiques of each other and ourselves. The process of preserving abstraction and representation is founded on the inclination to experience the ranges of painting. Through painterly marks, I am allowed to work instinctively and expressively, while elements of representation require more attention to detail and discipline in my practice. Between these two, my process swings like a pendulum, swinging back and forth until my painting reaches its end.

Boston Terrier by Megan Eldredge

Megan Eldredge ‘23
Charm & Complexities of Animals, Nature and Interesting Objects
Undergraduate Art Student

My body of work is grounded in traditional two-dimensional media with an emphasis in drawing and painting. I find great joy and satisfaction in translating captivating images into layers of graphite, charcoal, and various manifestations of color.
The dutiful replication of subject matter reflects a fascination with the beauty of the natural world, and as a result my work is also a testimony to my own patience. I enjoy the challenge of choosing the perfect medium to achieve a particular effect. I often experiment with simplification through limited mark-making, as evidenced in the pointillist quality of the piece shown above.
As a whole, my body of work serves as a celebration of the charm and complexities of animals, nature, interesting objects, and the human form. It is through my artwork that I can better appreciate the intricacies of the world around me.

Fall 2020 Winners

Drain Circle

Tom Dunn '21
Floating Downstream: Drain Circle
MFA Graduate Student

I predominantly make expressionistic, semiabstract, figurative paintings.  My paintings are improvised;
the imagery derives from the subconscious.  The works begin by pushing and pulling paint around the
canvas until figures and ideas emerge.  As the painting progresses, these forms develop characteristics
and evolve with the environments from which they spawn.  The early stages of my painting are like a
primordial soup; a petri dish for things to ferment, mutate and proliferate.  The figures frequently have
carnivalesque attributes such as hybridity, metamorphosis and the grotesque.  The ongoing series
Floating Downstream, borrows its name from John Lennon lyrics describing the beginning of an acid

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. 
It is not dying, it is not dying.
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.

Server the Wicked

Rodrigo Calderon '22
Sever the Wicked
Undergraduate Film and Media Studies Student

I am interested in pursuing a career in independent experimental and narrative animation. This piece is entitled "Sever the Wicked" and it is inspired by Matthew 13:49 in the King James Bible. While not all my art is religious in nature, I have recently taken an interest in what my family's religion means to me and how I may express that meaning through art. The piece also functions as an exercise in ink wash technique and anatomy. I have begun trying my hand at various methods of inking and ink wash is by far the most satisfying. I deeply enjoy the process of layering and diluting ink in order to achieve certain effects.

Spring 2020 Winner


Play-Ground Places
8" x 11"
Print-Making, Collage, and Pressed Flowers 

Kolaya J. Wilson '21
MFA Student
Department of Art
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

"I believe that we are living in an unprecedented season of being alive. Our routines have become a blend of both self-isolation and specialized-enmeshment. My current work speaks to this state of fragility, impermanence, and temporality. Interdisciplinary materials become the means of discussing relationships to dynamics appearing in ever shifting and emotionally upsetting environments. Earthen matter has bloomed and thrived, despite our absence. We experience the rise of spring through two-dimensional screens. We must construct artwork of our individual realities to help others better process theirs. Whether through words, images, or music, artistic innovators possess powerful keys to helping others access the bridges necessary to overcome the stagnation imposed by creative blocks. The landscape of art becomes a means to richly embellish our current circumstances with hope and self-actualization." 


Fall 2019 Winners


Marshall Sharpe '20
This Is Not A Toolshed; Slave Cabin on My 5th Great-Grandfather’s Plantation
MFA Graduate Student

Painting is a silent language that allows the artist to speak about forbidden topics.  Because my family avoided dialogue about race, I began to process this silence through my artistic practice.  Beginning with my own life and moving backwards through time, my research traces my family’s privilege to its true source—vast cotton plantations and over 120 slaves.  With each generation of ancestors, I create paintings


that turn a critical eye to the ways my family has informed and been shaped by race.  Using an archive of forgotten family photographs, the work unravels the process by which my family transformed from persecuted French Huguenots to some of the wealthiest enslavers in the American South.  By manipulating, painting over, and adding to the archive, I use my practice to ask my ancestors difficult questions.  Can I atone for the sins of the past?  Can a debt that was never acknowledged be repaid?  These are questions I never allowed myself to ask.  Consequently, the creation of this work slices through the tradition of silence in my family.  It represents a visual struggle to reconcile with my family’s past.

Alaska Yokota '20
Breathe of Fresh Air
Mixed Media Collage of Photos, Watercolor, Painting, Digital Illustration, and Adobe InDesign.
Created to encourage positive self-esteem, remind students they are not alone and that they are worth more than they think.

Undergraduate Psychology and Art Student

Alaska is a 5th year UCSB undergraduate studying psychology and art. Her passion for photography has grown immensely throughout her college career but only recently, she began using her work in other

mediums such as design, photoshop, and illustration. She was also the art director for WORD Magazine for the 2018 – 2019 school year. Yokota has been shooting professionally for over 7 years. She grew up in Orange County, CA, where she picked up a digital camera in middle school and began an interest in landscape photography.

At the start of high school, she was asked by many friends and family to shoot photos of them. From this point on, she realized her passion for photography gravitated towards portraits. She loves working with people and capturing their best sides. Yokota turned this hobby into a profession when Instagram began to grow and businesses required more product shots. To the present day, she continues to capture products, people, and events. Alaska hopes to become a traveling portrait photographer someday, with goals of capturing an “island lifestyle.”
Alaska is also a house DJ, tattoo artist, dancer, singer, and fashion enthusiast. On top of her art practices, she is also the founder of an all-girl skate group in Santa Barbara known as Coast Carvers, as well as being a psychology researcher in the spatial thinking lab. She also served as the UCSB Cheerleading captain. Although she is a woman of many interests, she always finds the time to capture photos in every spare moment she has!

Fall 2018 Winners

Sabrina Lim '19
Undergraduate Art Student 

My artwork is about creating ideal landscapes and portraying beauty in everyday life in a way that is surreal and dreamlike. My artwork is inspired by beauty found in nature, dreams, and everyday life. My work also revolves around the idealization of loneliness and getting lost. I find myself looking at nature quite a lot so I end up painting those subjects. I paint flowers, especially, because they can really be present anywhere: in gardens, markets, apartments, sidewalks, funerals, celebrations, etc. I enjoy experimenting with light, patterns, and reflections and using colors that are soft but also vibrant. I hope that when people see my artwork they feel serene and take notice of what is around them.

In contrast to my art upbringing, which heavily consisted of classes emphasized on technique and replicating, I tend to begin without always knowing what I will end up with. I take a spontaneous approach to my artwork, similarly to how I do with life. Many of my landscapes, or as I like to refer to as “dreamscapes”, are made up of sporadic brushstrokes that are reminiscent of flower petals. I use a variety of mediums that include acrylic, ink, watercolor, and oil paint. I choose to use acrylic for landscapes because it dries fast and is more two dimensional and opaque than oil. My landscapes are not supposed to be extremely realistic, but more like dreamy sceneries or mazes of color. Acrylic allows me to work in multiple layers. For portraits I prefer to use oil paint because it blends easily and gives off a lustrous, lifelike quality to skin and hair.


Francesca Towers '19
Undergraduate Art Student

Throughout my high-school years, my passion for art blossomed as I was learning about the place of art in the world and questioning how I might fit in it. Throughout my artistic career, I have often employed bold colors, expressive lines, and symbolic imagery. I use art as a means of exploring my personal struggles with health and family; I also use it to explore detail and appreciate life and beauty despite these struggles. As of lately, I have been interested in stepping away from realism and venturing into more playful whimsical, and sometimes surreal aesthetics. I have learned time and time again that I love a collaborative environment. In addition, my relationship with my art teachers have become some of my closest; having a friend, mentor, and artist by my side has helped me break out of comfort zones and push my art further. With this in mind, it is my ambition to someday return the gift to future generations.

Fall 2017 Winner


Jennifer Lugris '18
MFA Student 

Jennifer Lugris was born in North Bergen, New Jersey. She earned her MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. Her paintings have been exhibited and published internationally, and have won several awards. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA with her family, dogs, cats, and chickens.

Spring 2016 Winner

Yumiko Glover '17
Moe Elements of the Floating World IV
MFA Student

"My artwork draws inspiration from real-life, experiences ·that I witnessed while growing up in japan and through my observations of its culture after Iiving in the U.S. My work captures the Complicated issues of sexual politics that have been carried through several hundred years of patriarchal society into contemporary Japan,. as viewed through the aesthetic and social phenomenon of the Japanese term moe.

In the popular Japanese subculture surrounding anime, manga, video games, and idols,. the term moe, describes something precious such as idealized visions ,of youth and innocent femininity. Characters in these popular media that inspire feelings of affection are, referred to as moe. Moe is well known and often studied in Japan alongside theories of cuteness (kawaii) However, within American subcultures, drawn to Japanese  contemporary pop media, moe is viewed uncritically. Living away from my home country allowed me to be able to examine the phenomenon that reflects its sexual politics more objectively when it is linked with social norms including the strong effects of hyperreality.

Rather than introducing the strange or nuanced side of Japanese contemporary society, through this exploration of moe. I am hoping to reveal how the dehumanizing effects of mass media, advertising, and interpersonal communications in the internet age have the potential to affect both romantic and platonic relationships. At the same time, through the process of artmaking, I am reaching back to the memories of myself with all of the question I had growing up as a woman in Japan.