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#FactFriday: 21 facts about Arts For Life! for 21 years of scholarships

• ExcelinEd

Mrs. Columba Bush established Arts for Life! in 1999 to recognize the creativity and artistic talents of Florida’s high school students. Earlier this month, the program celebrated its 21st class of scholarship winners. And today, we’re celebrating with 21 facts about Arts for Life!

21 Facts About Arts for Life!


The program has been awarding scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Florida for 21 years.


Mrs. Columba Bush started Arts for Life! because she is a passionate advocate for the arts and arts education.

“Every year I am in awe of the extraordinary talent of the students that are awarded an Arts for Life! scholarship. Their dedication to their craft and their education is an inspiration to us all,” said Mrs. Bush. “This year, especially, we have seen how the arts can bring people from all across the world together and provide comfort and joy during times of uncertainty. We thank this year’s scholarship winners for their talent and we wish them our sincerest congratulations.” 


Research shows that an increase in arts education has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social and emotional outcomes.


The program awards at least 25 scholarships each year.


Scholarship winners demonstrate academic and artistic excellence in creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual art.

View Samples of Students’ Work


Scholarship winners receive $1,000.


The program has awarded $600,000 dollars in scholarships.


Governor Jeb Bush is a long-time advocate for the arts in education.

“This year’s award-winning young artists bring us inspiration and hope during a year full of challenges,” said Governor Bush. “Columba and I applaud their unique talents, their hard work, their expression and especially their commitment to excellence, even as their senior year and graduations have looked different than expected. I know they will do more than just persevere—they will continue to excel, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of them, in the arts and beyond.”


Over 500 students have received scholarships.


Scholarship winners are graduates from public, magnet, charter, virtual or private schools, as well as home education programs.


Pitbull had a special message for the Class of 2020.


250 visual artists have received scholarships.


12 filmmakers have received scholarships.


Brazilian-born and Miami-made artist Romero Britto answered questions from students around the country, including questions from Arts for Life! winners, in his #ClassWithJeb lesson.

Watch Lessons in the Arts with Romero Britto


36 dancers have received scholarships.


115 musicians have received scholarships.


New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer offered advice to young writers, including Arts for Life! winners, in his #ClassWithJeb lesson.

Watch Lessons in the Arts with Brad Meltzer


63 actors have received scholarships.


50 writers have received scholarships.


The generosity of sponsors like Kyra Solutions and Publix Super Markets Charities, long-time supporters of Arts for Life!, make the scholarship program possible.

“Artists challenge us to question the status quo and envision a better future,” said Piyush Patel, CEO of Kyra Solutions.“This vocation is vital for the health and growth of our communities, especially in times of uncertainty. I’m proud to support these young artists and excited to see their continued work to envision and build stronger communities throughout our state and across the nation.”


The scholarship application period runs from September 1 – February 3, so bookmark to apply!

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