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Porter Fund benefits Thea Scholarships, to be acknowledged during Portis Lifetime Achievement Gala | Arts & Culture

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Porter Fund benefits Thea Scholarships, to be acknowledged during Portis Lifetime Achievement Gala
Porter Fund benefits Thea Scholarships, to be acknowledged during Portis Lifetime Achievement Gala

In the midst of its thirteenth annual scholarship season, the Thea Foundation is pleased and grateful to announce that the Porter Fund, an organization supporting the literary arts in Arkansas, has established a $4,000 scholarship to support the first place winner of the Foundation’s annual Creative Writing Scholarship Competition for up to four years, a total of $16,000.  The generous gift will be acknowledged during a gala to honor Arkansas native and novelist Charles Portis, recipient of the Porter Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award, at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014.  Thea Foundation Executive Director Paul Leopoulos and 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship 1st place recipient Annika Miller of Conway High School will be invited to remark on the charitable donation.   

A writer, humorist, Georgia native, and former president of the Authors Guild, Roy Blount, Jr., will be the featured speaker for the April 3rd event.  Blount, a graduate of both Vanderbilt and Harvard Universities, is multi-published, has narrated a documentary on the Mississippi River for PBS stations, and has been a regular panelist on NPR as well as a recurring guest on A Prairie Home Companion.

Thea Scholarships
The Thea Foundation’s longest running program, Thea Scholarships was founded in 2002, and has grown exponentially in quantity and coverage since its inception.  Originally awarded in the Visual Arts category to graduates of North Little Rock High School, today Thea Scholarships have grown to award $80,000 annually across thirty high school seniors in six arts categories—Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Creative Writing, Poetry Slam, Film, and Fashion Design, for a total of $2.0 million in twelve years.  Our scholarships give students both the confidence and financial aid they need to pursue their professional dreams for a lifetime of creativity.

Judged by college-level faculty and/or practicing professionals, Thea’s scholarship competitions are unique in that they are remarkably inclusive.  They are open to students who attend public, private, charter, and home schools and those who have completed their GED.  Students are not required to provide their GPAs or test scores, or intent to major in the arts.  For  more information, visit www.theafoundation.org/scholarships.

The Porter Fund
The Porter Fund was founded in 1984 by novelist Jack Butler and novelist and lawyer Phil McMath to honor Dr. Ben Kimpel. Kimpel was noted professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The Porter Fund prize is named in honor of Kimpel’s mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter. The annual prize of $2,000 is given to an Arkansas writer of merit and has been awarded to 30 poets, novelists, non-fiction writers and playwrights. In October Pat Carr was given the 2013 Porter Fund prize in a ceremony at the Main Library in Little Rock.

The Porter Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award is given out every five years to an Arkansas writer with a substantial and recognized body of work. Portis is the third Arkansas writer to be given the Lifetime Achievement Honor following Donald Harington in 2004 and Miller Williams in 2009. The Lifetime Achievement Honor comes with prize money of $2,000.

Charles Portis was born in El Dorado, Ark., and raised in Norphlet, Mount Holly, and Hamburg, all in south Arkansas. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, earned a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and became a newspaper reporter. He worked for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, and the New York Herald Tribune, eventually becoming London bureau chief. He left that job to return to Arkansas -- where he still lives -- to write fiction. He is the author of five acclaimed novels: Norwood, True Grit, The Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos.

For more information about the Porter Fund donation or the Thea Foundation, please visit www.theafoundation.org or call 501-379-9512.