Charlotte Rohland Receives Ella King Torrey Prize

On Thursday, June 6, during a gathering in the Bootsie Weiss Children’s Garden, Charlotte Rohland became the 10th recipient of the Ella King Torrey Young Artist Prize. Established in 2008 by Ella King Torrey’s mother, Ella Russell Torrey, the prize celebrates Ella’s joy, excitement, and commitment to artists by encouraging exceptional teenaged Fleisher students to further their exploration of the arts. An award of $1,000 is given to one young artist each year to support his or her continued development in the arts and increase exposure to opportunities in the arts.

Top: Pupil, pencil on paper. Above: Face in Hands, graphite on paper.

In her entry essay, Rohland wrote, “Art has always been a central point in my life. Whether in a museum, in a comic book, or spray painted on the walls of a dilapidated building, art captivates me.” She credits the guidance of teaching artists P.T. Schwab and Amira Barnes, with whom she learns with in Fleisher’s Saturday Young Artist Program, in advancing her drawing skills and giving her a boost in confidence for depicting the world from her point of view. Barnes also received the prize in 2013.

“Charlotte possesses a raw talent for observing, drawing, and creating, which is very advanced and rare for a person her age,” Schwab wrote in a letter of recommendation. “She is a very quiet individual, but underneath that quiet exterior there burns a passionate soul of an artist and an observer of life.”

Pictured, left to right, Amira Barnes, Ella Russell Torrey, Charlotte Rohland, Russell Torrey, and P.T. Schwab.

Rohland anticipates the prize having a profound impact on her life and art. She plans on using portions of the prize money to explore portfolio preparation classes at Tyler School of Art as well as digital drawing with a tablet and stylus.

“I will never forget the Fleisher Saturday sessions where I learned and grew as an artist,” Rohland said. “With Fleisher, I went from acceptable to outstanding. The Ella King Torrey Young Artist Prize is an opportunity to nurture my future career in art and change my life for the better – and I will do my best to take that opportunity.

About Ella King Torrey
Ella King Torrey’s passionate support for individual artists helped reinvigorate the arts in Philadelphia beginning in the 1980s. Her work in the arts was always unique, beginning with her senior thesis at Yale University on the cultural significance of the Barbie doll and extending to graduate work on women folk artists and the African American quilters in the South. She began her professional career at the Pew Charitable Trusts and later established the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, considered the most prestigious measure of accomplishment for artists in the region. From 1995 to 2002, she was president of the San Francisco Art Institute, where she raised the school’s national and international profile, grew its endowment and renovated and expanded its landmark building. She also had a great sense of fun. In addition to the “serious” jobs, she often told student audiences that she had “been a waitress, a studio assistant, an artists’ model, and once had a job hopping around the Liberty Bell in a Bugs Bunny outfit.”

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