Amy Sherald, the artist who was commissioned to paint the Breonna Taylor cover portrait for Vanity Fair, is donating $1 million in scholarships to the University of Louisville. The donation is in honor of the deceased Black woman.
According to WDRB, the university in a statement said the donated funds will go to Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship and the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship for undergraduates.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to have people continuously honor Breonna and want to help out in any way,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said.
Sherald’s donation came from funds she received after selling the painting to the Speed Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The donation was also given from a trust Sherald established through the painting’s sale.
“I have long held the belief of the transformative power of education and its ability to foster new conversations and accelerate societal growth,” Sherald said in a statement, per the Louisville Courier Journal.
From the summer of 2023, students who have taken up social justice initiatives will be eligible to apply for $9,000 fellowship stipends and scholarships of $7,000. “Nothing can take away the injustice of Breonna Taylor’s death,” University of Louisville Interim Vice President for Community Engagement Douglas Craddock Jr. said in a statement.
“But what we must do is create spaces where Breonna Taylor is remembered and where her legacy can inspire us to carry on the hard work of erasing inequality and divisiveness.”
Craddock also said that the “gift will have transformative power for the law school fellows and scholarship recipients who will benefit from her decision to use her artistic gift to help heal the corrosiveness of hatred and animosity.”
Law students who have clocked up more the 60 credit hours and have secured “a legal volunteer position over the summer with a social justice nonprofit organization or agency” can apply for the $9,000 stipends. Undergraduate students who apply for the $7,000 scholarships are also required to “demonstrate a commitment to social justice.”
Taylor, a Black woman, was killed in March 2020 by three Louisville police officers during a botched raid in her apartment. The officers involved in the shooting weren’t charged for her death.
Besides the Taylor painting, Sherald is also famously known for painting Michelle Obama‘s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018.