jane forrest artist scholarship

Toronto teen was freaking out after getting $4.1 million in scholarships

When Jane Forrest said, "Art is the thing I was meant to do in my life," she wasn't joking around. The Toronto teen has accumulated over $4.1 million in scholarship offers from art schools all over the world.

Forrest's work has been featured in galleries all across Ontario, including the ROM and local space, Remote Gallery, where she was presented a solo exhibition titled, What Might Have Been Lost

Her journey began when she was graduating from elementary school. Forrest set her sights on the Etobicoke School of the Arts, which has been the starting point for countless successful local artists over the years. 

ESA only requires 20 pieces of art in applicants' portfolios to be considered. Showing early signs of over-achieving, Forrest opted to send off 40. 

jane forrest artist scholarship

When considering her post-secondary moves, Forrest took that same ambition and put it to work.

"The process for applying to post-secondary probably started in Grade 10," she remarks. "At the craziest, I was putting in 12-hour days, so it was a really intense process."

After a year of scrambling, Forrest was creating around 20 fresh pieces of work a week. She found herself able to repeat some pieces later in the application process but had to create enough original work to fill the 62 applications to come. 

"I started submitting applications in October," she explains. "The schools wanted anywhere from 12 to 100 pieces, but normal schools wanted 20. I wrote like 40 essays over a couple of months too." 

jane forrest artist scholarship

After Forrest sent out her first application, she realized just how expensive school in the United States would be. Even after receiving a few offers and scholarships, she saw the task of affording school abroad as daunting. 

Finally, in March, Forrest received her first full-ride offer. She was shocked. 

"I remember the rep that I had been in contact with for about a year called me from that school, and I never thought I would have enough money to go, so it was such a surprise," said Forrest.

Following her first offer, the full rides flooded in. She used the first full-ride offer as leverage when applying to other schools, which is how she quickly accrued the $4.1 million figure. 

jane forrest artist scholarshipOn April 1st, Forrest received an offer from her dream school, Cooper Union, while she was on a paid visit to a school in Philadelphia. 

"I had just over two weeks to create six original pieces of work and then literally mail them in a FedEx box. There was a statement in the little box. [It was] so crazy," said Forrest.

By the end of the application process, Forrest had to make up her mind. To do so, she employed the help of family, friends, and teachers as she presented a Google slideshow that asked them what school she should attend. 

"I made a pro and con list for each school, then I had everyone give me the vote and whatever school got the most votes would be the one I'd attend," said Forrest.

Forrest is now happily committed to Cooper Union in New York and will be attending in the fall.

Photos by

Jane Forrest

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