Five Middlesex County students receive Marisa Tufaro Memorial art ...
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The Marisa Tufaro Foundation is honored to announce five students from five different Middlesex County schools will receive a scholarship to attend the Rutgers University Zimmerli Art Museum summer camp.
Scholarship recipients include Dana Abbey of Herbert Hoover Middle School in Edison, Kwadwo Boateng of James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, Robert Dudash of Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Edison, Cameron Gorrell of Sayreville Middle School in Sayreville and Varsha Madhusudhanan of Woodbrook Elementary School in Edison.
The second annual Marisa Tuf aro Memorial Arts Scholarship has been made possible through donations to The Marisa Tufaro Foundation on behalf of a member of the Greater Middlesex Conference Baseball Coaches Association and others who wish to remain anonymous.
The scholarship entitles the students to attend a weeklong art camp this summer at the Zimmerli, where Marisa Tufaro previously honed her craft and where her artwork was once displayed at an exhibit.
Marisa Tufaro died on Jan. 30, 2017 after complications from a heart transplant developed into a rare form of stage IV cancer, to which she succumbed following a valiant fight. Marisa Tufaro was born with a complex cardiac defect that required six open-heart surgeries. Despite keeping hundreds of doctorâs appointments and being hospitalized for more than two years, Marisa Tufaro lived a vibrant life that inspired.
The mission of the foundation established in her loving memory is to help children in need throughout the greater Middlesex Coun ty area.
The Zimmerli Summer Art Camp allows artists of various ability levels to interact and study with some of New Jerseyâs best teaching artists. Wes Sherman, who holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers Universityâs Mason Gross School of the Arts and is a highly successful independent artist, heads the Summer Art Camp faculty.
âDuring the hot days of summer, the Zimmerli is the place to be for budding young artists,â reads a statement on the Rutgers University website. âEach year, new classes are added to stimulate, challenge and delight both veteran and newcomers who participate in the program. The Zimmerli continues to offer its popular classes in painting, drawing, pastels, watercolors, sculpture and an art âsamplerâ class. Children also find inspiration in the museumâs collections as they explore the galleries.â
A representative of the Zimmerli Art Museum, who processed the registrations for two Marisa Tufaro Memorial Arts Schola rship recipients who attended last summerâs camp, called the scholarship in her name a fitting tribute.
As a student at the Zimmerli in 2012, Marisa Tufaro was the recipient of a generous art scholarship for her achievement in camp and based on her potential. The foundation established in her name is honored to have an opportunity to pay that kindness forward.
Students who are Middlesex County residents between the ages of 7 and 14 are eligible for the annual scholarship. The application deadline for this year's award was Feb. 1. The foundationâs scholarship committee selected the winners from a pool of candidates.
Scholarship applicants must share Marisa Tufaroâs passion and talent for art. Only an art teacher from a studentâs school can nominate scholarship candidates.
The camp runs on five successive weeks beginning June 25 and concluding July 28 (there is no camp on July 4). The scholarship recipients were allowed to choose to participate in either full-day or half-day sessions for any one of those weeks. The Zimmerli offers dozens of programs.
Edison High School baseball coach Vinnie Abene, who serves as the Greater Middlesex Conference Baseball Coaches Associationâs president, said a coach from the league called him immediately after attending Marisaâs wake and proposed the idea of an arts scholarship.
âThere are a lot of great guys in our association and there were a lot of ideas that were thrown around at the time,â Coach Abene said. âThere was one particular coach that was really moved by what he saw at the wake with the amount of art projects that Marisa had accomplished and created. That truly inspired him to have a unique idea. He called me the same night as the wake and told me what his idea was, and he certainly made it a point that he wanted to keep it anonymous because it wasnât about him. He just wanted to make sure that some worthy students would use the money toward an art scholars hip.â
Marisaâs ambition was to attend an arts college, and while Godâs plan did not allow her to make it to one, her work did.
A piece Marisa constructed with a New York City School of Visual Arts graduate student during an art therapy session at New York Presbyterianâs Morgan Stanley Childrenâs Hospital was displayed at the âYour Turnâ exhibit at the collegeâs Flatiron Gallery in Manhattan in February 2017.
Since its inception less than nine months ago, The Marisa Tufaro Foundation has:
- Collected thousands of toys for pediatric patients at Saint Peterâs University Childrenâs Hospital and Bristol-Myers Squibb Childrenâs Hospital.
- Funded the purchase of brand new metal bunk beds for campers at Kiddie Keep Well Camp, which serves more than 600 underserved Middlesex County children annually.
- Supported instruction and supplies for an art therapy program at Bristol-Myers Squibb Childrenâs Hospital, to which the foundati on also provided funds for infant mobiles, toy cars staff use to transport children to the operating room for surgery and bubbles to be included in welcome bags.
- Provided money for equipment and supplies for students with disabilities who utilize the Lakeview Schoolâs newly constructed aquatics center.
- Provided medical alert bracelets to children with autism and pediatric patients with chronic illness who receive outstanding care from Childrenâs Specialized Hospital, which annually serves more than 34,000 children statewide.
- Partially funded the Make-A-Wish of a Middlesex County boy who is winning a battle with high-risk neuroblastoma.
- Provided physical therapy at Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center and Project Walk for Middlesex County children whose families do not have health insurance or whose familiesâ health insurer does not cover the cost of the physical therapy.
- Raised money and collected nonperishable food items to benefit Middlesex County children and their families through Hands of Hope via our foundationâs participation in the Race to Outrun Hunger.
- Provided meals and goods for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Central Jersey.
- Assisted families whose children are in medical crisis, providing financial support through the payment of medical and/or personal expenses to help lessen the burden of parents who have lost wages while spending time at the hospital.
- Conducted a coat drive for Middlesex County children.
- Provided gift cards for pediatric patients and their families.
- Provided scholarships for Middlesex County students.