Fostering the Art of Discovery

The team behind the the Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative Scholarship is dedicated to its investment in SFUAD’s recipients—including this year’s awardees

December 2015—Robert Redford is committed to giving back, which is why he helped develop the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative Scholarship program several years ago. Its premise is that through education, emerging artists will become strong economic drivers by not only establishing successful careers, but also giving back at every step—to colleagues, their communities, and beyond. “He believes people have always mistaken the arts as something we take care of—but art takes care of us,” explains Kathleen Broyles, director of the Milagro Initiative, which co-directs the scholarship with Redford.

This fall, 15 students from eight states and three countries—Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela—began their first semester as the 2015 Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative Scholars. The goal of the program is to help scholars define and develop their voices, no matter the medium. “What’s the essence of the creative process? Discovery,” explains Broyles. “Through every component of the program, they are alive in discovery.”

Scholars are asked to attend regular workshops led by Joan Tewkesbury, the instructor of Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive, which allow the group to forge close connections. Students are asked to share personal stories and dive into discussions about their creative work and processes.

“I’ve been here for two years and it feels like they’re family,” says Priscila Torres, a 2013 Unique Voice scholar from El Salvador. “You share your experiences in the workshops and you get to know people in a different way. It gives me a chance to grow as an artist.”

A 2014 Unique Voice scholar Lobsang Tenzin has also benefitted immensely from these immersive experiences. Originally from Tibet, he was granted political asylum in the U.S. When he chose to pursue film at SFUAD, he realized he was creating a platform for himself. “I’m active in the Tibetan Youth Congress and have participated in peaceful demonstrations,” he explains. “Now I can tell stories [through film] about the Tibetan people, our culture, and history and share it with a wider audience.”

Please welcome the 2015 Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative Scholars.