The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica is beginning a new scholarship program at this year’s 2nd Annual Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District Visual Art Show.

The Kiwanis Club has been granting scholarships for over 60 years and this year they have decided to grant nine SMMUSD students a Visual Arts Scholarship of $250.

“Kiwanis scholarships are awarded to support a student’s next step in using their talent,” said Kiwanis Club Past Presidents, Jessica Handy.

Each year the club awards over $120,000 to the community in the forms of grants, scholarships and sponsorships. On May 17, they will be giving away $2,250 in total to juniors and seniors within the SMMUSD community.

The money awarded to students is funded by Kiwanis Club member’s contributions, through the Kiwanis Charities foundation and their annual poker tournament community fundraiser.

“The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica has been the most active service organization in Santa Monica,” said Handy. “We enjoy giving back to the community whether it be through planting trees in the city or giving scholarships to hard working students.”

Handy explains the tough decision the organization goes through when reading about many applicants.

“Some students work two jobs to help support their family and still make time to volunteer within the community, and for us to award a scholarship really helps these kids out,” said Handy.

This year there will be 350 different works of art that will be displayed throughout the studio. All of the artwork that is displayed is by secondary students attending John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, SMASH Middle School, Olympic High School, Malibu Middle and High School and Santa Monica High School.

Students will be displaying their visual arts projects such as pottery, photography, digital photography, painting and anything that falls under the realm of visual arts.

“It would be silly for us and SMMUSD staff to judge the artwork when we know very little about visual arts,” said Handy.

SMMUSD along with the Kiwanis Club have hired professional judges for this event.

The artwork will be judged by visual art professional like Catherine Opie, UCLA Visual Art Department Chair. Karen Koblitz, USC Ceramics Department Chair and Inez Bush from Otis College of Design.

They will award the winners and grant the nine students a $250 scholarship.

“Our students truly exemplify talent and creativity and we are grateful to have this event highlight their achievements,” said Santa Monica – Malibu Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Tom Whaley, in a recent statement released by SMMUSD.

A $10 donation is suggested, as the money raised will help continue to fund all visual arts programs throughout the district.

The event will take place May 17th, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Santa Monica Art Studio, 3026 Airport Ave.