Hereford High School senior Eli Hess will be heading to Lehigh University in the fall. Thanks to his artistic prowess, a portion of his college tuition is already accounted for.
Boasting a portfolio of abstract sculpting creations, Hess, a Phoenix resident, was awarded a $2,500 scholarship by the Northern Baltimore County Art Foundation (NBCAF), an all-volunteer organization established in 2006 that promotes art awareness.
Even though he’s been sculpting since kindergarten — he received a welder for his 6th birthday — Hess said he never envisioned that his artistic abilities would earn him funds for college.
“I never really thought that would be me,” he said. “But I’m excited that it is.”
NBCAF scholarship hopefuls are required to submit an application package that includes 10 images of work, two essays and a letter of recommendation. Each component is rated by a panel of judges, and the scores are averaged to determine the winner.
In terms of quality and intricacy, NBCAF President Tami Boehle-Satterfield said that Hess’ work is far beyond his years.
“What stood out was the complexity of the sculptures,” Boehle-Satterfield said. “It really spoke to some significant understanding of composition in three dimensions. … For him to engage in that so successfully on a large scale was very impressive.”
Hess’ passion for sculpting is a product of his parents’ continual advocacy of the arts. Growing up, he regularly visited several art museums and would read the various art books kept in the house. It also didn’t hurt that because his father is a furniture sculptor, Hess has access to a workshop equipped with various materials and tools.
On top of his art work, Hess is a well-rounded student, playing on Hereford’s soccer and lacrosse teams. However, he said art provides something that academics and athletics do not.
“I think those two things only fulfill me so much. Art has given me this extra outlet,” Hess said. “It’s nice to be able to go into the shop and capture an idea that’s not writing or running — you’re actually making something.”