Okamoto Scholarship

Chad Okamoto Memorial Scholarship


2015 Theme: "Tales Told: Story in Art"


Chad Okamoto application button 


 Winner 2014: Sarah A. Ledwon 

2014 Theme: Life In Color

Artist Statement

This artwork is a newer version of a colored pencil drawing that was done in my first year of high school.  The main idea is that this woman’s mind is flourishing with new ideas about the world around her, one that she creates on her own where she has control.  The flowers represent the development in her life, while the vines and thorns act as the daily hassles that many people struggle with and become intertwined in.  The building upon her head, to the left, represents structure and organization in her life, while also being San Jose’s City Hall.  As for the star like firework shapes to the far left, these symbolize the bursts of ideas and knowledge that she discovers.  In the original piece, Building The Mind, a young girl is drawn, while this new painting, Build Your World, has a young woman.  It is to show the maturity of the girl through years that have passed.  As for the colors, I wanted the impression that there is hope in the world, so brighter colors with some deep blues and purples show the variety in someone’s life.  It shows the darkness and the brightness in someone’s fears and ambitions.  

Chad Okamoto Scholarship Past Winners:

  • 2013-14 Nin Filip
  • 2012-13 Jacqueline DonEcho
  • 2011-12 Julie Nguyen
  • 2009-10 Nancy Sevier
  • 2008-09 Teresa Kwon
  • 2007-08 Danny Hellevig
  • 2006-07 Nalyne Lunati
  • 2005-06 Haneen Hammad
  • 2004-05 Kevin Nguyen
  • 2003-04 Eileen David
  • 2002-03 Pamela Luk Yan Lam



Chad Okamoto passionately pursued his life-long dream of becoming an artist. His skills awarded him a place in the prestigious fine art program at UCLA where he earned his degree. This eventually led him to his dream job in September of 2001. Finding such a job in the arts in the Bay Area took perseverance and a passion for his work. It was a long journey, one that required hard work and patience. When doors appeared shut Chad increased the breadth of his knowledge and experience with specialized classes at DeAnza College. He entered drawing competitions to expand his creativity. He pursued many art forms, primarily graphic design and animation. Chad will be remembered not just as a talented artist, but also as a great friend, loyal brother, and devoted son. He had a great outlook and enjoyed a well-rounded life. He enjoyed the challenges of competition and strived to be the best he could be in the pursuits he loved: the arts, as well as baseball, gymnastics, and especially ice hockey. Just a few short weeks after achieving his goal, a dream job in animation, Chad's life ended tragically due to an unexpected medical condition. This memorial scholarship was established to assist art students to fulfill their artistic dreams, so future artists will benefit from Chad Okamoto's life.


THE 2015 THEME: “Tales Told: Story in Art" AND THE CRITERIA:

  • Artwork must be display ready.
  • All medium must be wall-mountable or an animation that can be run on an LCD screen.
  • Judging of artwork will be conducted by SJSU-SHC staff with Art Department support. Artwork must include: title, medium, dimensions, and artist’s name.
  • Dimensions may range from 8.5”X11” to 6'x6', framing excluded and animations will be displayed on an LCD screen.
  • Winning piece or pieces (i.e. if work is a series of related pieces) will be displayed at the SJSU Student Health Center for a year. If the work is ongoing and the student would like to do a changing exhibition, criteria can be discussed in artist statement.

DUE DATE: Friday, May 1, 2015

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