Teen working to earn summer art tuition

Published 12:57 am Friday, February 22, 2019

Straughn High School junior Julia Kondrat’yev has been accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design’s summer Rising Star program, and is working hard to earn the tuition.

The five-week Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) program gives her the opportunity to complete two college classes for credit and hone her skills.

She learned about the program from

Mrs. Tina Shiver, who teaches her contemporary issues class at SHS.

“Mrs. Shiver had been to a conference, and brought back books with SCAD information,” Julia said. “I was the only one looking at them, so she gave me the books.”

Julia said she read every word, and studied SCAD’s website. She was really interested in the options available for undergraduates, but didn’t think she could afford to attend.

“Mrs. Shiver was like, ‘Go for it,’ Julia said. 

Julia Kondrat’yev is accepting commissions to earn her summer tuition. Shown at left is a drawing of her nephew done with words.

Still skeptical, but eager to do something artistic and fun this summer, she applied.

Julia said she’s had one art class at her former school in Pensacola. But she’s studied on her own by watching videos, and was able to submit a portfolio of her 10 pieces of her work, and document 125 hours of volunteer service, along with her application for the Rising Star program.

“I was accepted, and got a $1,000 academic scholarship and $500 for achievement,” she said. “I still have to raise $4,500.”

While the task seems daunting, she is attacking it on numerous fronts.

First, she designed a T-shirt and is selling pre-orders.  She is working with Pirate Graphics, which will print the design on Custom Color shirts. The shirts are $20. (Information for ordering on her Facebook page)

She also is taking orders for commissioned artwork.

“I’ve done commissions in oil, watercolor, pencil and colored pencil,” she said. “I’ve done two houses and some watercolor portraits and pet portraits.”

SHS counselor Stephanie Bryan hopes to help Julia put together another fundraiser in the near future.

And finally, Julia started a GoFundMe drive, titled SCAD Rising Star Program.

“I am a daughter Russian immigrants, and unfortunately my family does not have the resources to provide the enormous sum needed for SCAD,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page. “While it is very large amount, I am working diligently to achieve my goal and acquire the money needed. I do not think I will earn all within the time I have left. So while I do not like the idea of asking others for money, I feel as if I am left with no other choice.”

For now, her fundraising efforts are tucked into her schedule around work on the county schools’ production of “Shrek: The Musical.” She is the stage manager for the production and is using her artistic skills on set design.

She also is a member of the SHS Anchor Club.

Beyond her immediate goal of attending SCAD this summer, Julia hope to have a career in art.

“I’m aiming toward being an art teacher,” she said. “I really like art and  working with people, and I want kids to have opportunities I haven’t had.

“The teachers and other people in my life have always encouraged me, but it’s been really hard to do it by myself. I keep on, but it takes a lot of self discipline.”