Mesa Community College awards $11,000 in scholarships to high school artists 

Artwork titled Purgatory by Noura Ibrahim, black and white birds with flowers and a human scull. Purgatory by Noura Ibrahim MESA, Arizona – Sept 27, 2022 – Nineteen high school artists from across Arizona who entered their work in the annual Spectrum Art Exhibit, sponsored and hosted by Mesa Community College, were awarded $11,000 in scholarships by the college.

The juried exhibit, featuring the work of 9th-12th grade students, ran June 23-Aug. 4 in the MCC Art Gallery at the Southern and Dobson Campus. Grant Vetter, instructional service coordinator and curator of the MCC Art Gallery, said invitations were sent to top high schools statewide. “Works from the top 19 schools were selected by a three-member jury including Art Department faculty Malena Barnhart and Ryan Parra and Art History faculty Diem Lanakai.”

Vetter said full academic year scholarships, half academic year scholarships, two-course scholarships and one-course scholarships, all to the MCC Art Department, were awarded. After winning the scholarship, recipients were required to enroll at MCC for the requisite credit hours, maintain a GPA of 2.5 and declare a major in art.

Artwork titled Blue Face by Mia Uribe, face showing blue heart as background for a face. Blue Face by Mia Uribe Noura Ibrahim from Hamilton High School in Chandler, and Mia Uribe of Dobson High School in Mesa, were the recipients of full academic year scholarships to the MCC Art Department.

Ibraham’s work, “Purgatory,” is an acrylic on cardboard, 18-inch x 24-inch piece. "My work is inspired through the inquiry of how I can incorporate various objects into portraiture as a way to capture life or reality in its presence,” she explained. “My goal is to integrate typical objects with portraits into a composition to embrace life and find beauty in all things, 'mundane.'’” Ibrahim was also the winner of the 2022 District 9 Congressional Art Competition for high school students.

“Blue Face” is Uribe’s colored pencil on paper, 16-inch x 14-inch piece. “A lot of my work comes from my admiration for diversity,” she explainsed. “I have a big fascination with all the different ways people identify. It’s made my life more colorful!"

Vetter noted the judges were thrilled with the quality of work entered into the competition which made the evaluation process highly competitive. “It was one of the strongest showings of art by high school students that I have seen during my time as a curator.”

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, 480-461-7892,

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) --

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2022