The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery awarded the first Sylvia McConnell Scholarship for the Arts to 2019 Wetumpka High School graduate Sydney Carmichael.

The scholarship was established to encourage pursuit of art as a career and honor the memory and community contributions of the late Sylvia Collier McConnell, a retired educator, art collector and charter board member of the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery. It will be awarded annually to a graduate of an Elmore County public or private school.  

Carmichael was enrolled in the magnet program in Montgomery before transferring to Wetumpka High School. She said she has always been passionate about the arts and especially enjoys working with acrylic paint and polymer clay.

Carmichael is currently in enrolled in a cosmetology course at Trenholm State and her ultimate goal is to own her own business geared to helping individuals use and enjoy art through personal expression.   

Carmichael was recommended by WHS principal Robert Slater, transition teacher Jessica Hall and art teacher Adriane Duvall and is described as disciplined, gregarious, creative and insightful with a highly developed sense of personal responsibility. Duvall said she expects Carmichael’s work ethic and artistic pursuits to develop into lucrative opportunities. 

The $1,000 scholarship award was made at the June Tuesdays With Kelly program which are brown bag lunch learning opportunities offered at noon on the third Tuesday of each month. Sessions are being held at Trinity Episcopal Church until the gallery is permanently as a result of damage from the January tornado that struck Wetumpka.

July’s meeting will feature Donna Pickens and a presentation on telling the stories of Alabama in conjunction with the state’s bicentennial. A workshop especially geared for fourth-grade teachers will follow. All Tuesdays with Kelly are free and open to the public with beverages and dessert provided.

McConnell, who died April 24, taught in Elmore County schools for 37 years. She graduated from Wetumpka High School and obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Auburn University.