Inside: The O’DaviDesign Art Scholarship was launched to help remove shame and stigma and share a message of hope around living with mental illness or simply being human in a messy world.
My son, Jairus, was an artist with a love for animation and game design; his small business was called O’DaviDesign. From the age of seven, he told me he was going to work as a cartoonist or animator (he loved 2D animation in particular) and he never wavered from this dream.
Jairus suffered from severe depression and persistent suicidal ideation and on October 23, 2019, at 23 years of age, he lost his fight for life.
After he died, I chose to create an art scholarship in Jairus’ name – it is one way I can honour the fuller, beautiful truth of who he was and help remove shame and stigma and share a message of hope and compassion around living with mental illness or simply being human in a messy world.
Who Benefits from the Art Scholarships?
At this time, there are three yearly scholarships being awarded.
1. The first two scholarships will be awarded to two art students in grade 11 or 12 attending the local public and catholic high schools of the town Jairus grew up in. Awards will go to students pursuing post-secondary studies in the arts, including digital media and technology programs, and/or for whom art is a life-line, and also exhibiting character qualities reminiscent of my son’s sense of humour and his inclusive and introspective/deep thinking nature.
2. A third scholarship is open to all Canadian students 16-25 years old. Applicants will submit a creative piece of writing or art/digital media project depicting their thoughts/hopes/efforts toward building a kinder world that honours the beauty of diversity. For this $1k award, my daughters will choose a recipient on behalf of their big brother. For this award, the recipient does not have to be studying in the arts or even consider themselves an artist to apply. What matters is that you care and are using your voice and resources in some manner to help build a kinder, safer world for all.
Have fun – get creative – remember that “perfection” is NOT required!
➽➽➽ APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR THIS YEAR IS DECEMBER 15, 2021.
SEND SUBMISSIONS TO: Krista at [email protected] (please upload your project and send me a link if the file is large). Along with your submission attach a letter identifying where and what you study, your public social handles, and anything else you’d like to share to help us understand your message or what motivates you to create. Your submission acknowledges that your name and project details will be made public.
5 ways You Can SUPPORT the Art Scholarship
Donations are welcome, deeply appreciated, and can be made in 3 ways:
3. Direct donations are welcome and can be made via Paypal to [email protected] 100% of donations will go directly to the scholarship. There’s also a direct donation link on the sidebar of this page (or the bottom of the page if you’re using a smaller device).
4. Tell your teachers, colleagues, friends, and family about the scholarship!
5. Share this page on social media to spread the word.
Thank you for your support! If you have questions or issues donating, please reach out to Krista at [email protected]
O’DaviDesign Art Scholarship Recipients
$1k – Congratulations to Joshua Laurin of Holy Redeemer High School for receiving this award in Jairus’ name.
$1k – Congratulations to Ryan Lizee of Regina, SK who was awarded this scholarship based on his submission entitled “Joy in Colour.”
$700 – Congratulations to Janai Redman who studies in Toronto, ON; she was awarded second place for her submission entitled “Each of Us.”
$300 – Congratulations to Jenna Bheiler who studies in Edmonton, AB. Jenna was awarded third place for her series of portraits reflecting the beauty of diversity.
2021 Recipients: TBA
$1k – TBD
$1k – TBD
$1k – TBD
2022 Recipients: TBA
*Names of recipients will be released with permission; award amounts may vary year to year
Living Whole and Brave After Loss
As I fight for wholeness myself and love my family in the wake of tremendous pain and loss, I choose to reach out my hand and heart to others walking this lonely and challenging road. I’ve pulled together a resource page On Grief: Living Whole and Brave After Loss in case it feels helpful to others and my grief journal after losing a child can be found here.
You can also connect with me on FB at Holding Your Breath. The intention of this page is to share about grief, mental health, self-compassion, and finding our way forward – gently, after losing a child. (At this time, Holding Your Breath has been unpublished by Facebook. They decided that speaking about grief, suicide loss, and healing “violated their terms.”)
Finally, I’m collaborating with Kathy Escobar on a not-for-a profit book to support other parents through their first year of child loss. You can stay tuned on this page or by signing up for The HOPE Map. (Kathy and I met after our boys died by suicide just 5 days apart from each other.)