Honouring our students for over 19 years: Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship

Honouring our students for over 19 years: Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship

Today is an exciting day at the Ottawa School of Art (OSA) for our Fine Arts Diploma students. It is Scholarship Day! Twice a year, the OSA has the unique opportunity to give out a number of scholarships, many of which have been generously donated by individuals, families and also sponsored by businesses. These scholarships mean a lot to our students and to the donors that provide them. Some of these scholarships are created in memory of loved ones who spent their lives creating artwork; some are created strictly for financial assistance; and some are created to recognize the talent and hard work that goes into creating art work while at the same time trying to get straight A’s in all your classes and striving to build yourself a professional arts career. One such scholarship we have the privilege of awarding to our Fine Art Diploma students is the Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship brought to us by Wallack’s Art Supplies.

Students of our Fine Arts Diploma Program spend 3 years completing their studies, and it is a great thing that we are able to offer them assistance such as what is given through this scholarship. The Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship has been around at the OSA since 1999! Wallack’s has donated $1000 to our students every year over the past 19 years. What a commitment to the arts and to art education!

I got the chance to catch up with the winner of the 2017 Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship and he gave me some insight into what it’s like to win a scholarship such as this and some insight into the type of work he does. Francisco Javier León Torres won $500 towards his tuition and $500 worth of Wallack’s Art Supplies gift cards last year. At the time he was in his second year at the OSA. Here are some of his answers to my questions:

What is your experience winning this scholarship?

Winning this scholarship is something else than just getting the prize of money; it is more that I did it! I’m getting better at my art and I’ve been recognized for it.

How did you hear about the OSA?

I wanted to continue in the arts, I am a trained in graphic design from Columbia. I started to do my research looking into what I can do with arts + graphic design and also photography. A lot of the other schools were too expensive; and a couple of friends told me about the Ottawa School of Art. I would have to pay double for the price of OSA’s tuition because I am an international student. So I called and met with Andrew Fay and it was amazing.

Have you ever won a scholarship before? 

Yes, in my first year I won the Lee Matasi Scholarship.

What kind of work do you do? 

Illustration, Graphic design, branding, I am a photographer and a painter. I also like to work in digital art, film & design and mixed media. The 80’s influence my work a lot and the 80’s European music scene as well as hard rock/metal, I like the fashion and style (not the wall street 80’s –the pop culture 80’s). I like to have retro images and design work and neon colours in my work, with dark backgrounds. Florescent colours from L.A. Cassette and CD covers from the 80s, I love -like Europe (The Final Countdown) was the first band I heard. My cousins and brothers showed me lots of music and things from the 80s. My brother would always play the records from then.

How has your experience at the OSA been so far? 

I moved here by myself, and since I’ve been at OSA I’ve made many friends. I consider some of them family. Sometimes I get homesick, so I try to focus on my art and express myself within my art. I am really enjoying my time at OSA, my favourite teachers are Lucia De Marinis and Andrew Fay. It’s been amazing, the first year was a little slow, because I felt like I knew a lot already, but my second year, I’ve been learning a lot of new stuff, a lot more focused. Canadian Art History has been new to me.

This scholarship came with a $500 voucher, what do you intending to get from this scholarship (materials, etc)?

A worktable, something to use for long periods of time, and maybe some wood panels and acrylics for painting. We will see how much I can get, I think I get a student discount too.

How has this scholarship already helped you to complete your year? 

It has helped me a lot. This scholarship has helped me pay some of my tuition; I work part-time, but I can only work a certain amount of hours and my dad is helping me with a little bit of money, so this is a big help. I can relax a little and focus on my art work.

Your experience with the staff at Wallack’s?

I’ve come to Wallack’s before, and the staff is good. I can talk to them if I need difference sizes for my wood panels. It’s good to know that.

What are your future plans when it comes to your art career? 

I would like to open my own photography studio, with a space to paint. I like to mix the two together, which is what I already do, take pictures then paint those pictures. I’d like to show more and exhibit. I want to continue making different things, after I show this work I will start something completely different. I want to be versatile. I want to do different things every time.

Would you recommend other students apply for this scholarship?

Of course, like what I said before, it’s not only about the money; it will make you feel proud of yourself.


Thank you Francisco for your thoughtful and honest responses to my questions. I will admit to listening to Europe “the final countdown” while writing this blog post -such a good time! And as we wait to hear the announcement of this terms winners, it is a fitting tune to be playing. Good luck to this year’s winner of the Wallack’s Fine Art Scholarship and the other winners of the wonderful scholarships we are so happy to be able to award. Thank you to our donors for seeing the OSA as a place to help and support students and thank you to our students that work hard and apply for these scholarships! Best of luck as you continue your studies at the Ottawa School of Art!

Malika Welsh

Development & Fundraising Coordinator

Ottawa School of Art