UMass Boston

Scholarships and Awards


The Art & Art History Department offers students three scholarship opportunities each year:


The Ruth Butler Travel Fellowship,  

The Sam Walker Scholarship, and  

The Vivian Carolyn Savio Scholarship 

Graphic of words stacked on each other says Butler, Walker, Savio, Art Scholarships


Three separate committees review applications and select recipients on the basis of the criteria for each scholarship. Deadline for scholarships applications is generally mid-April and are available below or in the Art & Art History Department Office, University Hall, 4th Floor, Room 4232.

In addition, an award for excellence, the Tucker Prize for Outstanding Achievement, is occasionally administered with the aim of awarding a student who has done distinguished work in either studio art or art history in the previous academic year. The faculty also select an outstanding graduating senior to receive the departmental book prize.

Ruth Butler Travel Fellowship

Click HERE for 2022 application.

A scholarship fund has been established in honor of Ruth Butler, Professor Emerita of Art at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a distinguished scholar in the history of sculpture. While a student, Professor Butler won a Fulbright fellowship that allowed her to pursue research in France. Recognizing that her trip abroad was a life-changing event, she would like art majors at UMass Boston to have such an opportunity for contact with individuals and institutions in another country.

The scholarship provides an Art & Art History major with funding for travel outside the United States for the purpose of studying art. Preference will be given to projects which promote the student’s understanding of a culture other than the student’s own. Projects should be for either art historical research or studio work. In the case of art historical research, a student should propose to study at a particular archive, library, or collection. In the case of a studio project, students should propose to visit contemporary galleries, work with an artist, participate in a workshop, or in some other way encounter the art of another culture on site. The proposed project should specify plans to make contact with an institution and/or individuals in the country where travel will take place.

Vivian Carolyn Savio Scholarship

Click HEREfor the 2022 application.
Named in honor of a former student in the department, this scholarship is awarded once a year. This scholarship provides a monetary award for use against tuition and fees. Criteria for the award include general scholastic ability, potential ability in art, and financial need.

The Sam Walker Scholarship

Click HERE for 2022 application.

The Sam Walker Scholarship Fund was created in 1999 by the family of Sam Walker, Associate Professor of Studio Art, at his request, to support art majors in the Art Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In addition to support for tuition and fees, the funds may be used “to help an art major mount a final exhibition, travel for a senior to do thesis research, or take on an art project that they would not allow themselves to consider or otherwise be able to afford.” The endowment of the fund reflects the contributions of his family, as well as many friends and colleagues.

An artist, Sam Walker taught printmaking and drawing at UMass Boston between 1993 and 1999. He served the university community both in his department, where he helped coordinate student exhibitions and internships, and university-wide. His own work, in photo etching and painting, was concerned with language, memory, and the visual signs of every day life, and was both intellectual and formal. His work is included in the collections of Harvard University’s Houghton Library, the Addison Gallery of American Art, and the Boston Public Library, among others.

During his appointment at the university he was inspired by the way his students managed work, family, and study. As a teacher, he often told his students to find what they loved and “figure out how to get someone to pay you to do it.” This scholarship supports students’ pursuit of the making and study of art, courses of study that he knew often seemed impractical or without tangible benefit, and likely to be put aside for more “economical” pursuits.

Tucker Prize for Outstanding Achievement

The Tucker Prize for Outstanding Achievement was established in 1985 by Professor Paul Hayes Tucker of the Art & Art History Department to honor a student who produces a truly distinguished work of art or paper in a studio art or art history course. Any student at any level of study is eligible. The student need not be an art major and does not have to be enrolled in an advanced class. The only criterion is the quality of the work. Whatever that work might be, it must demonstrate the student’s originality and sophistication and must remind us of the value of insight and the importance of creativity through the making of or writing about art.

Information on scholarships for new and continuing UMass Boston students is available on the Cost & Aid website.

Marian Parry Award

The Art & Art History Department at UMass Boston recently received a generous donation of drawing and watercolor materials from the artist Marian Parry. Born in 1924, Parry was the founder and senior instructor of the Watercolor Program for the Radcliffe Seminars at Harvard University, and she was a fellow in the Bunting Fellowship Program, Radcliffe Institute. Her work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Houghton Library of Harvard University, the Smith College Rare Book Room, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Boston Public Library.

The award is comprised of a selection of artist’s grade paper, sketchbooks, paints, brushes, pens, pencils and miscellaneous studio materials that will be given out once a year to a student of exceptional promise in drawing or painting. Students are nominated and the award is given by the professors teaching drawing and painting.

Chiesa Prize for Painting 

The Chiesa Prize for Painting was established in 2021 by Art Department Professor Emeritus Wilfredo Chiesa. This non-competitive prize is bestowed annually upon a single outstanding painting created by a student enrolled in a painting course at the introductory or advanced levels at UMass Boston. The prize is decided by the UMB painting faculty (led by the full-time professor of painting), who may select a worthy recipient from art majors or non-majors.