BAA's 2020 Virginia Neely Sweet Art Scholarship awarded to Mary Robin Walters-Miller

Bartlesville Art Association Awards Scholarship to Mary Miller

During this spring of social distancing and shuttered buildings, a parade of honking cars accompanied with cheers broke the Bartlesville morning quiet on Monday, May 18. Board members of the Bartlesville Art Association and art teachers pulled up to the home of soon-to-be Bartlesville High School graduate, Mary Robin Walters-Miller, to present her with the annual Virginia Neely Sweet scholarship award in the amount of $3,000.00. Mary is the daughter of Karen Walters and Lisa Beeman.

Steven Graham, Kane Elementary School art teacher and BAA Board member and member of the scholarship committee said “This year, BAA was prepared to award $3,000 to graduating seniors who were from Washington County public schools. After reviewing your digital portfolio, we realized that you were worthy of the entire amount. Continuing, he said “You exemplify who an artist is, how art shapes the way you view the world and how your art will shape your future. Congratulations to you!”.

Mary has been accepted at Kansas City Art Institute. In preparation, Mary has taken two art classes every term since her freshman year. She has shared her talent by creating posters for St Luke’s Episcopal Church, designing and painting signage for the City Bark park, and has designed and obtained funding from Oklahomans for Equality for a yet to be completed mural for downtown Bartlesville. She won merit awards at last year’s BAA Spring Art Show for her entries.

On receiving the scholarship, Mary’s states “I hope to be an artist: creating meaningful, personal expression through my work. For me, it feels like I'm just starting on a great adventure. This Bartlesville Art Association Scholarship furthers that goal by helping defray tuition costs, plus, perhaps even more meaningful, is an endorsement by artists of their faith in my abilities and promise. I hope to live up to that promise, guided by my passion for the work. With this, I do not doubt that I will succeed.”


Bartlesville Art Association is a civic organization that has been active in Bartlesville for 67 years, starting in 1952 with nine artists who just wanted to get together to paint. It has grown to a membership of over 200 artists, art lovers and patrons, whose mission is: Serving our Community Through Sharing the Love of Visual Art.

BAA is honored to be able to continue our commitment of awarding scholarships to selected graduating Washington County art students. This commitment was started in the late ‘60s by a longtime BAA member, art teacher, art mentor and visual artist, Virginia Neely Sweet. Virginia made it her mission to have BAA raise money for graduating art students for them to pursue higher ed. She did this through hosting workshops, having BAA art sales, and soliciting donors. What started as a small award, through love and dedication has grown into our annual scholarship fund. Because of her love for students and her commitment to teaching and nurturing young artists to continue in this passion, we now award yearly scholarships in Virginia Neely Sweet’s name.


Virginia Neely Sweet 
(1923 – 2012)

Virginia Neely Sweet taught art for over 40 years in pottery, collage, oil, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, paper-making, book construction, sculpture, drawing, and pastel.  

She brought her passion for teaching and encouraging the love of art to community youth, and the young at heart, regardless of education, age, or experience. Virginia served as President of BAA 1979-1980 and conducted bake sales, art sales, and raised funds for BAA’s scholarship fund. 

BAA is proud to carry on her tradition of awarding scholarships to art students. 

In 2018 BAA awarded Virginia N. Sweet Memorial Scholarships of $3,000 to three graduating high school seniors: Bridgette Bulleigh, Mabel Glock, and Chandler Henderson.


2019: BAA Awards Art Senior Scholarships in honor of Virginia Neely Sweet

May 2019 

Bartlesville Art Association is pleased to announce four Virginia Neely Sweet Memorial Scholarships of $1,000 each have been awarded to graduating seniors:  Logan Demaray, Jacey Dyck, Kelsi Graves, and Christina Guernsey, all of Bartlesville High School.  

BAA was prepared to award three scholarships this year to graduating Washington County public school art students. After reviewing the digital portfolios of the applicants, the committee decided to instead award a total of four $1,000 scholarships. The four students chosen each exemplify who an artist is, how art shapes the way they see the world, and how their art will shape their future. 

The BAA scholarship program was started in the late 1960s by art teacher, mentor and visual artist, Virginia Neely Sweet. Virginia made it her mission to raise money for scholarships in order for graduating art students to be able to pursue higher education.  She did this through hosting workshops, hosting BAA art sales, bake sales, and soliciting donations. BAA now awards scholarships each year in Virginia Neely Sweet’s name and memory. 

BAA is a civic organization that has been active in Bartlesville for 67 years, starting in 1952 with nine artists who just wanted to get together to paint. It has grown to a membership of over 200 artists, art lovers and patrons, whose mission is “Serving our Community Through Sharing the Love of Visual Arts.” BAA is located in the Price Tower Design Center. 


2021 Scholarships Application Info

 In 2021 BAA will be awarding up to 3 visual art scholarships for Washington County high school seniors. The scholarships will be $1000 each, and will be for the student to use for higher education. 

Applicants may or may not be going to school for art, but should show that art will be a part of their future life. This scholarship is for a student who has been contributing to the visual arts and will continue with a love of art in the future.
Here are the requirements for students who wish to apply for the BAA Art Senior Scholarship in Honor of Virginia Neely Sweet.
  • Be a member of BAA
    Join by going to Membership for students 9th through 12th grade is FREE.


  • Enter either one or two pieces in the BAA Spring Show. It’s free for students 9th through 12th grade. Prospectus is on our web site.


  • Compile a digital portfolio with 5 artworks and a description of each.


  • A word document or pdf file with a personal artist statement. This should be several paragraphs but not more than a page and touch on your belief in how art has shaped you as a person, student, and citizen.


  • A word document or pdf file with a statement on the student’s strengths as a student, artist and citizen. Please include how this scholarship will aid you towards your higher education goals.


  • Please include a one page letter of recommendation from your current art teacher, a past art teacher, or a non-related adult.

Interested students should contact Dedra Morgan, for any questions or concerns about a digital portfolio or other requirements for scholarship. Completed digital portfolios need to be sent to: Steven Graham, and also Dedra Morgan, This should be done no later than April 19th, 12 noon.