College Scholarships for the Arts: Start Here

Tap into helpful resources for performing arts and visual arts


As a student of the arts, you can take advantage of a wide variety of college scholarships for the arts that directly correlate to your major. Identify the ones that are most suited to your endeavors, and apply to as many as possible to help minimize student loan debt and ease your transition into a potential career in the arts. Whether you’re an actor, musician, dancer, or visual artist, there are more scholarship opportunities then ever. Many college arts programs offer scholarships, so be sure to inquire at the schools that interest you. To help get you started, here are some options, unrelated to specific colleges, that pertain to different areas of the arts.


National YoungArts Foundation

YoungArts provides emerging artists (ages 15-18 or grades 10-12) with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding young artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts.


The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship

Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. The Irene Ryan Scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education.


John L. Dales Scholarships

The John L. Dales Scholarship Fund was created in 1973 in honor of the Screen Actors Guild’s longtime Executive Secretary. Throughout its distinguished history, the Dales Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $6 million dollars in scholarships to SAG-AFTRA members and their children for study at accredited institutions of higher education.


ASCAP Foundation Scholarships

ASCAP is the leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing over 500,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP offers more than 25 scholarships such as the Louis Armstrong Scholarship Honoring Duke Ellington, the Irving Berlin Scholarship, the Leonard Bernstein Award, and the Livingston & Evans Music Scholarship.


The BMI Foundation

A not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985, the BMI Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the creation, performance and study of music through awards, scholarships, internships, grants and commissions. Programs range from BMI Student Composer Awards to John Lennon Scholarships to the peermusic Latin Scholarship.


Winston Art Scholarships

In honor of Naomi Rabb Winston, National Society of Arts and Letters established an annual scholarship fund for young visual artists between the ages of 16 and 22. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional talent and promise of future success. The scholarship funds are only for private study, for special training or for personal advancement in the applicant’s art medium.


Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers was founded in 1994, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to present the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and to expand upon the Awards’ enormous legacy (over 90 years) of bringing the exceptional artistic and literary talent of teens to a national audience. Numerous scholarships and prizes are awarded regionally and nationally including Portfolio Scholarship Medal as well as Special & Sponsored Awards.


Access specialized college arts consulting with former college deans of admissions at ArtsBridge. Refine and match your talents to the best college arts environment for you, and receive personalized guidance in TheaterMusicDance, or Visual Arts.

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