Amy Sherald Donates $1 Million to University Scholarship Programs on behalf of Breonna Taylor

Painter Amy Sherald has donated $1 million to the University of Kentucky to establish two scholarships for students named after Breonna Taylor. The money represents proceeds Sherald raised from the sale of her 2020 painting of Taylor, who was murdered by police in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020 after illegally entering her home. The work, originally commissioned for vanity fair by author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who served as guest editor of the magazine’s Black Lives Matter issue, was co-authored by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, where it is currently on view, and The Speed acquired art museum in Louisville. The painting was featured prominently in Speed’s Promise, Witness, Remembrance exhibition last year, organized in Taylor’s honor. After the sale, which the artist personally handled, Sherald set up a trust whose goal, she said, was “unlocking.”[ing] the challenges students have faced in the past when pursuing social justice and public service work.”

Funds distributed by the Trust are split between Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship, which awards three grantees of $9,000 each, and the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship, which awards up to four students with $7,000 on a tiered basis Schedule over the next four years.

“Nothing can remove the injustice of Breonna Taylor’s death,” Douglas Craddock Jr., interim vice president for community engagement at the University of Kentucky, 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 continue the hard work of eradicating inequality and division.”

“I did this portrait for her family,” said Sherald, who notably painted former First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2018 portrait for the National Portrait Gallerytold vanity fair in 2021. “Producing this image will keep Breonna alive forever.”

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