To Del Rendon, art was a full-time job. At least, that’s how his former art professor and thesis committee advisor Brent Funderburk described him.
“Del was one of those persons with indistinct edges in terms of his love of music, visual art and creative vision,” said Funderburk. “He would create art about musicians and music; he would write songs about his art. He would go into his evening critique and then perform later in a band. It was a full-time, never-clock-out artistic life, even as a student. Del believed that art should be a full-time, lifetime job – not just go to class, and do the work – which made him a role model.”
So, when Rendon passed away in September 2005, his family and friends decided to honor and remember him by establishing an endowment in the MSU Art Department, which helps make it a little easier for MSU students who possess similar passions for art fulfill their dreams.
The MSU Department of Art Del Rendon Scholarship is given to a freshman or sophomore art student who exhibits a strong and creative portfolio. The student must also have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in their emphasis area and an overall GPA of 2.5 or better.
“The premise is to find a student that’s multi-disciplinary,” said Lydia Thompson, head of the Department of Art.
Thompson said the application process for the scholarship is a good way to build students’ knowledge of what a practicing artist does, as they will likely have to apply for grants and other funding to support their art in the future.
“It teaches them the process of how to put together an application and go through the process,” she said.
Each year, family and friends organize the Del Rendon Music Festival (also known as the DelFest) to raise funds for the Del Rendon Foundation that supports the scholarship.
Dave Hood, DelFest organizer and proprietor of Dave’s Darkhorse Tavern, characterized this year’s eighth-annual event, held on Feb. 23, as the most successful one to date.
“DelFest has evolved from a way for family and friends to find some meaning in his passing into an extremely special way to celebrate his art and music,” said Hood.
So far, two students have received the scholarship, which is renewable each year of study.
Aj Meadows was the first recipient of the Del Rendon Scholarship. Meadows received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 with a sculpture emphasis from Mississippi State and went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts from The Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
“Receiving the Del Rendon Scholarship acted as a sort of stamp-of- approval or ‘green light’ to continue with the arts, music in particular,” said Meadows. “The Rendon family has always shown support for my music, from playing amazing open mic nights at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern to performing for sold-out crowds in Glasgow.”
Meadows is currently working in Scotland with his band, belle in the meadows, to record their first full-length album.
“I couldn’t have gotten here without the Rendons’ support,” he said.
Paige McDonnell just graduated with an emphasis in graphic design and has received the Del Rendon Scholarship for three years now.
“This scholarship was a fantastic opportunity that helped me afford a great education and was really encouraging as an artist to receive,” said McDonnell.
McDonnell is planning to spend eight weeks in London, England, for an internship this summer and looks forward to applying for a professional internship with Disney.
“We are excited to see the impact the scholarship has already had on students and want to continue to grow the endowment with the hopes that one day it can provide a full-ride to a deserving student,” said Andrew Rendon, Del’s brother and foundation board member. “We are also very grateful for Lydia Thompson’s leadership and passion and look forward to continuing to work with Lydia on growing this scholarship.”
Applications for the scholarship will be available in the fall, and the next Del Rendon Scholarship recipient should be awarded in early spring.
“The recipients of this scholarship are passionate, young artist who show great promise in making their mark in the art world,” said Thompson. “Del Rendon’s legacy lives on through the music and visual arts of our students and alumni.”
If you are interested in supporting the Del Rendon Scholarship, visit www.msufoundation.com. Please specify that you would like the gift to go toward the Del Rendon Art Scholarship in the College of Architecture, Art, and Design. You can also contact Nathan Moore at 662-325-8227, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.