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UVU Student Starts Trading Up for Arts Scholarship

10 January 2011 2 Comments

January 10, 2011
For Immediate Release

For more information: Julie Pierce (801) 796-2114
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351

Utah Valley University student Julie Pierce hopes to pay it forward when she graduates in April by creating a scholarship specifically for art students. But she’s not fundraising in the normal way.

Pierce, a mother of six sons, and grandmother to five grandsons so far, has named her fundraising effort the Smart Trades for ART Scholarships, or STARTS, for short. Her goal is to trade items increasing in value until she reaches enough to start a full-tuition endowed scholarship.

“I am a non-traditional student from UVU taking a non-traditional approach to raising money for an arts scholarship,” Pierce said. Her senior project was inspired by Kyle McDonald who, in 2005, traded up from one red paperclip to a house. “I am following the same strategy, doing a series of up-trades to raise $70,000, enough for a full-tuition endowed scholarship (or $30,000 for a half scholarship). I thought, if he could do it, why couldn’t I?”

Pierce launched her trading Jan. 5. Her first trade item for this unique scholarship was a shrewd pick — a drawing pen from one of Utah’s top artists, James Christensen, a very unique artist known for his colorful and whimsical fantasy artwork. She listed Christensen’s pen on her blog at www.startstrading.wordpress.com, with pictures and a detailed description.

“You might think that all artists draw in pencil. James Christensen prefers to use a pen. He is left-handed and finds that pencil smears too much,” Pierce said. “He purchases his pens from Provo Art and Frame and has used this pen for about 6 months.”

Pierce shared that Christensen has filled 57 sketchbooks with more than 25,000 drawings and notes.

“My sketch book drawings are ideas that pop into my head, doodles, possibilities. The drawings range from finished ideas to observational drawings to sharpen my observational drawing skills, gesture drawings of people, and just doodles of shapes and compositions that might lead to ideas,” Christensen said.

Pierce said she wanted to start this scholarship this way because “I have been a recipient of several scholarships that have given me my ‘start’ for schooling and my career.” She first attended BYU, but quit after she married and started raising her family. When she decided to return to school in 2007, and pursue a degree in graphic design and photography at UVU, she had very little funds for college, but the ability to earn good grades. Those grades led to scholarships and grants that made her success possible.

“I attended a luncheon for scholarship recipients and there I realized how my life had been blessed by scholarships. I wanted to find a way to give back. That moment was the birth of STARTS,” Pierce said.

“STARTS honors those who gave me my start while helping others get a start for themselves,” she said.

Pierce would like to raise the money by the end of UVU’s spring semester in April. She is using Facebook and her blog to spread the word, and she advertises her trades in the Trade/Barter section at the KSL.com online classifieds and at Craigslist. For each trading item, she details its history and includes photographs. She hopes to also post pictures of her trading partners on her blog site.

In addition to trading and bartering, she will also take other items and monetary donations through her blog. She will auction off any additional items donated.

“I encourage those who wish to participate, but don’t wish to trade, to make a donation either in money or by offering me an item to add to the auction,” Pierce said.

Since becoming a university in 2008, UVU has seen rapid growth. Enrollment has increased each year since, and topped 32,000 for fall semester 2010. The UVU School of the Arts enrollment has grown 270 percent since 2005, increasing the demand for funding.

To learn more or to trade with Pierce, visit www.startstrading.wordpress.com, or e-mail her at startstrading@gmail.com.


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  • Calvin Mutte said:

    Hi Julie, Im hoping to start UVU soon and am a new student in college but dont have the funds yet to start or how to get scholarships, I know Ive been complimented on my art and would love to pursue in this department but how does START work exactly? Would I have to trade an artwork from me or artwork in value? Please let me know I would like to know more about this program..thanks for your time and sounds like a great program that helped other students you started hope to hear from you soon.

  • newsroom said:

    Hi Calvin, Thank you for your interest in this program. Sadly, the starts scholarship has come to a close, so the funds I had have all been distributed. Please visit UVU’s financial aid page to help you get started in applying for other scholarships. http://www.uvu.edu/financialaid/index.html. We wish you the best success and look forward to seeing you at UVU soon.

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