Monday, June 07, 2010
The Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarship Fund at the Worcester Art Museum
I was a lucky kid. I had two incredible parents who loved me beyond measure. They also happened to be my grandparents. Joe and Shirl always encouraged me to follow my own passions and always supported and fostered my creative efforts. They always made sure that I had pads of paper on long car trips, always stocked art supplies in the house and bought me a drafting table for my 14th birthday (which I still use to this day). They were even brave enough to eventually send me to college to study art. A remarkable decision for two people who came of age during the Great Depression.
One of Joe and Shirley's greatest gifts to me, one that would have a profound impact on my creative path, was to send me to art classes at the Worcester Art Museum. I'll never forget when my grandfather walked into my bedroom, when I was in the 6th grade. Public funding had all but eliminated arts education in the Worcester public schools at the time. He told me that it was up to me, but he wanted to send me to classes at the Worcester Art Museum. I was beyond thrilled. I took classes there from 6th through 12th grade, taking courses in comics, illustration, animation, and drawing. I met other kids who shared an interest in the arts, I was encouraged by the faculty members and it taught me that this talent I had for telling stories with pictures could make for a viable career.
Now that both Joe and Shirl are no longer with us, I reflect on what they have done for me and I am answering a call. I realize that there are lots of kids in my hometown who might be in a similar situation that I was in as a kid, but whose caretakers might not have the resources to send them to classes at the Worcester Art Museum. So I am announcing here, the "Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarship Fund" at the Worcester Art Museum. My goal will be to contribute on a yearly basis from my own funds, as well as hold annual eBay auctions before the holiday season and hold raffles at my book signings in Worcester, MA. It may send two kids per year, it may send twenty. Either way, Joe and Shirl will continue to foster the creative efforts of Worcester's youth.
With the recent passing of my grandfather, some have asked if there was a charity they could donate to in his name. If you are so inclined, donations in the form of a check or a credit card can be sent to:
Worcester Art Museum
c/o Suzy Bonner
55 Salisbury St.
Worcester, MA 01609
Checks can be made to the Worcester Art Museum with the “Krosoczka Memorial fund” in the memo line or attached in the form of a note. Credit card donations (Visa, MC, or AmEx) can be sent in the form of a note with the card holders name, CC#, expiration date, and desired amount of donation.
Joe and Shirley gave me so much. I am who I am because of them. I do what I do because of them. They even gave me my nickname. My grandfather was always JDK and I, JJK.