New scholarship commemorates Chili Thom’s memory

Bursaries will support high school students pursuing artistic endeavours

A new scholarship is commemorating the well-regarded Squamish artist Chili Thom.

Community Foundation of Whistler announced it was creating the Chili Thom Scholarship Fund on Mar. 5.

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This fund will provide bursaries primarily to graduating public high school students in the Sea to Sky Community.

“Chili was instrumental in the development of arts and culture in Whistler,” says Heather Paul, Chair of the Arts Whistler board, in a news release.

“He was a brilliant painter and an unwavering advocate for our community’s artists. But even more importantly, Chili was someone who encouraged others to be all they could be. It is an honour to see this legacy begin, and humbling to know that the unbounded generosity of the citizens and businesses of Whistler has guaranteed that Chili Thom’s name will still be called out loud long after our own lifetimes are over.”

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on a short list of criteria, including a small sample of their work.

They’ll also have to “describe how the art [they] make in the future will have the potential to inspire a community and sustain our environment.”

Since Thom was mostly self-taught, enrolment into post-secondary education will not be a requirement for the scholarship.

Most of the scholarship money was raised at the Chili Thom Experience event. A total of $45,200 was raised.

The Foundation hopes to reach $60,000 in order to provide four scholarships per year.

Thom was widely known in the Squamish and Whistler areas for his moving art about the natural world.

He lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 30, 2016.

Anyone interested in applying for the scholarship can do so here

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