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Toe River Arts Scholarship for the Arts is made possible by an endowment fund held by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. These scholarships are awarded to individuals from Yancey or Mitchell County, North Carolina, who are pursuing higher education in arts or arts education. Each scholarship will be paid directly to the degree-based institution of the applicant’s attendance. 


Scholarships ranging from $500-$1000 are awarded annually under the title of the Toe River Scholarships for the Arts.

Awards are open to graduating seniors and to adult residents of Yancey or Mitchell County, North Carolina, who are pursuing higher education for arts or arts education and who are enrolled or in the process of enrolling. Previous Toe River Arts Scholarships for the Arts award winners are not eligible to apply. If the applicant is turned down for admission, the scholarship will not be allocated. Additionally, if the applicant withdraws from the arts-related program, the scholarship will be returned to Toe River Arts by the granting institution.

Basis for Award

A panel of judges comprised of Toe River Arts Board Members will review and evaluate all submissions. The scholarship amount is $1000, and this amount can be divided to award multiple applicants. The committee will review each application, reference letter, and the 5 work samples provided. Submissions will be evaluated based upon original thinking, artistic commitment, and a willingness to take creative risks. All decisions made by the panel will be final.

Application Requirements

  • Contact Information & Application
  • Narrative
  • Five Work Samples
  • One letter of referral from a teacher, school counselor, or professional reference discussing the applicant’s arts-related higher educational goals. The letter should be emailed directly to alena@toeriverarts.org by May 1, 2022.

Work Samples

Applicants should submit five work samples that best exemplify the extent and quality of their past accomplishments. Work samples do not have to be related to the category of the degree program to be eligible but can represent the applicant’s overall abilities. (Ex., applicants may submit a sculpture even if they are accepted to a photography program.) You may submit work samples in different areas. Each work sample must be accompanied by a description. Applications submitted that are incomplete will be automatically disqualified.

Visual Art and Craft: Upload a high-quality digital image of each work sample as a jpg or pdf. You will also provide a work sample description including date of completion, medium, and dimensions for each work sample.

Music, Film, Dance, and Performing Arts: Provide a website link for each submission. The video or audio clip of the live or studio experience, not to exceed 5 minutes. If your video is longer than 5 minutes the committee will only review the first 5 minutes. Applicants must then submit a work sample description which includes: Date, Location of Performance, Title, Applicant role in performance, and/or a brief summary describing performance may be included.

Writing:  Fiction, creative nonfiction, playwrights, songwriters, poets may submit no more than 2 pages each up to 5 manuscripts. Poets may submit five poems. Playwrights may also submit documentation of a recorded performance or staged reading of their plays (videos, clip not to exceed five minutes.)  Please submit all writing samples in one PDF document. Title each writing work sample: Title of Sample, Date of Completion, and if published where it was published.


  • Monday-March 21st: Scholarship Application goes live online.
  • Friday- May 6th: Applicant materials are sent to the committee panel and applicants are reviewed by the committee.
  • Friday- May 13th: The committee has a virtual zoom meeting to discuss the application and make the final decision.
  • Monday-May 16th: Applicants are notified of their status.
  • Friday- June 3rd: Scholarship funds mailed.

For any questions, contact Alena Applerose, Toe River Arts Community Outreach Coordinator, alena@toeriverarts.org, 828-765-0524.

2021 Scholarship for the Arts Recipients

Toe River Arts is excited to congratulate recipient Lily Wieland, from Yancey County. She was awarded $1000 towards her college tuition in the fall. She demonstrated a passion for her arts studies with artistic commitment and a willingness to take creative risks. Toe River Arts awards these scholarships to help emerging artists continue their education in the arts.

Lily Wieland graduated from Mountain Heritage High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English from Wake Forest University in 2019. Since then, she has worked as a freelance stage manager across North Carolina and Massachusetts. In the fall, Lily will begin earning her Masters in Stage & Event Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales.

Lily Wieland says, “I am forever grateful for your generosity in awarding me the Scholarship for the Arts. I have loved theatre since I took my first class at Mountain Heritage High School, and it is the Yancey County community that nurtured that love into a goal to become a professional theatre practitioner. I would never have dared to dream of pursuing a career in the arts without the support from my teachers and the vibrant artistic community here in Burnsville.”