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'Beard Scholar' Award Honours Leading Local Artist

29 May 2013

A University of Ulster student will fulfill her ambition to study under two master painters at the Grand Central Academy (GCA) in New York, after receiving the inaugural ‘Beard Scholar’ award 2013.

Julie Douglas is the first recipient of the newly established prize, which will provide her with an opportunity to expand her painting skills through expert tuition in America.

She will also use the trip to forge links with tutors and investigate how GCA evolved from a single-artist atelier to a larger art school.

Bangor woman Julie plans to bring some of its tutors back to Belfast to host specialist masterclasses in classical drawing, l’écorché and sculpture, to enable Northern Irelandstudents to have access to world-class tuition.

A classical realist painter and drawing tutor, Julie is currently studying for a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) in Multidisciplinary Design at the University of Ulster.

The Beard Scholar Award was established this year, through the generosity of husband and wife team Dr Linda and Professor Larry Beard.

It provides additional financial assistance to talented postgraduate students in the University of Ulster’s Belfast School of Art.

The one-year scholarship of £1,500 will be awarded annually to a student undertaking a MFA programme at Ulster for each year of the five-year term of the agreement.

Julie was presented with her award at a ceremony in the Belfast campus.

A delighted Julie said: “ I feel honoured to be the first Beard Scholar. I’m excited at the prospect of learning new skills and look forward to meeting the tutors at the Grand Central Academy in New York. I feel very blessed to be doing the thing I love.”

Dr Linda Beard said: “Larry and I are delighted that so outstanding an artist and scholar as Julie has been selected to receive this inaugural scholarship.”

In July 2007 Linda Beard was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) for services to the University of Ulster. She has been instrumental in developing its profile in the US and further afield.

Larry Beard is a Professor Emeritus of Accounting from the Goizueta Business School Faculty at Emory University, where he served from 1981 to 1988 following university appointments at Wake Forest, South Carolina and Maryland.

In addition to his academic background, Larry has had extensive experience in industry having held positions as a Merchandising Manager, Marketing Research Manager, Senior Systems Analyst, and as a Senior Consultant in a data processing consulting firm.

Closing the awards ceremony at the University’s Belfast campus, the Vice-Chancellor presented Linda and Larry Beard with a specially commissioned piece of Belleek pottery.