Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum awards college scholarships to St. Pete residents

Scrapped in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Woodson Warriors Scholarship Auction is a go this year in virtual format. 

Artist Jane Bunker created The Woodson Warriors Scholarship in 2017 after hitting a rough patch in her own life’s journey. She turned to painting and philanthropy as good ways to heal herself while benefiting others.

"I was going through a hard time in my life due to health and financial concerns, along with concerns about the turmoil that was going on in our country," Bunker says. "I was feeling in a place of lack, but knew as a retired psychologist that being of service would be a way to feel better."

Shortly after relocating to Tampa Bay from East Palo Alto, CA, Bunker met and formed a bond with Terri Lipsey Scott, the Director of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum. The two put their minds together to create a way to benefit the Black community in St. Pete.
"Terri and I came up with the idea that I would see how many paintings I could produce over two years and then auction them off," says Bunker, "with 100 percent of the proceeds funding college scholarships for local African-American youth."

As a result, the 2021 Woodson Warriors Scholarship Virtual Auction will be Sunday, March 14, at 5 p.m.

Bunker says the auction, in both live/virtual and silent formats, will be in good hands. Jason Alpert, who has done over 40 virtual auctions since the pandemic, will be the event's auctioneer. 

In addition to Bunker, four other local artists will participate, including Duncan McClellan, Mark Aeling, Steven Kenny, and Brenda McMahon. There will be five live auction items, as well as 19 silent auction paintings by Bunker. Additional silent auction items include theater and symphony tickets, hotel stays, restaurant certificates, and a $1,250 jewelry gift card drawing. Artwork can be viewed in-person by appointment at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 9th Ave South, St. Petersburg.

The auction program will include past Woodson Warrior Scholarship recipients who will speak about what the scholarships have meant to them, along with performances by local musicians. An opportunity to "bid from the heart" will be given to those who would like to contribute but don't have wall space for new art.

Along with events like the auction, the Woodson Warriors Scholarship Fund is supported by donations. One, in particular, $50,000 a year for the next 10 years from the Milkey Family Foundation, gave the fund a generous injection.
"Because of the Black Lives Matter situation, many people were eager to do something to support the African-American community," Bunker says. She says that $25,000 in paintings have been sold.
Bunker says the plan is to award scholarship money to Woodson Warrior scholars for all four years of college.

"We were able to distribute over $40,000 to 17 scholars -- eight of whom received $250 for books and supplies, while the other nine received between $3,000 and $5,000," says Bunker.

All proceeds from donations and the sale of artwork will be awarded to Black college-bound scholars. To qualify, students needed to have at least one African-American parent, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be St. Pete residents.

Registration for the Woodson Warriors Scholarship Auction is free. To register or make an art-viewing appointment, visit QTEGO. To learn more about the scholarship fund or the museum, visit Woodson Warriors Scholarships Fund or the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

83 Degrees stories about philanthropy and its impact on the community are supported in part through contributions to the Solutions Journalism Fund set up through the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. This fund was developed to support solutions journalism and storytelling that will provide information and build awareness designed to grow support for local nonprofits and their missions. The storytelling will focus on how local charities contribute to community building, public health, the arts, and equity issues as it relates to neighborhoods, education, and the environment. If you appreciate this kind of reporting, please consider making a donation by following this link. Any amount helps support solutions journalism. Thank you!

Read more articles by Allison Koehler.

Allison Koehler is a Cleveland-area native who now lives in Tampa by way of Detroit. She resides in Seminole Heights with her partner, Phil, and three children -- one human and two cats. When she isn't writing, she's watching pro football, listening to music, or streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime. 
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