BIG ARTS awarded scholarships to three aspiring visual and performing artists looking to continue their education in the arts. The BIG ARTS Performing and Creative Arts Scholarships program is meant to assist highly proficient and talented students who have professional goals to pursue visual arts, music, dance, theater, literary arts or film. The purpose of the award program is to encourage artistic development in students. This year, three local high school graduates were chosen out of eight applicants. Anna Fischler ($2,500), Denver Boxleitner ($2,000), and Elisa Williams ($2,000) were awarded scholarships.

“Our scholarship programs are a core part of our mission,” said Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder. “It’s an absolute joy to help these incredibly talented young artists in our community continue their education in the arts.”

Anna Fischler is a Fort Myers High School graduate with a passion for painting and drawing. She earned “Best in Show” in the Art Under 20 Tent of Fort Myers’ ArtFest two years in a row and earned the same title in the Artway on the Parkway competition in Cape Coral this year. In the fall, she will be attending Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in either painting or illustration. She seeks to continue her education and then build a career in the arts.

Denver Boxleitner is a 2021 Island Coast High School graduate who enjoys illustration and creative writing. Two of her poems were published in the 2020 High School Anthologies spring and winter editions. She will study in the fine arts program, with an emphasis on creative writing and art.  She hopes to become a fantasy author or cartoonist.

Elisa Williams is a graduate of Cypress Lake High School and considers herself an artist and storyteller. She placed second for drawing in Art Under 20 at Fort Myers’ ArtFest and won a silver key and honorable mention for her region in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. She will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design, where she plans to study fine arts in sequential art and performing arts. Her goal is to become a comic book illustrator working with companies like Marvel and DC to tell new stories.

The BIG ARTS Performing and Creative Arts Scholarship is offered annually in the spring. To learn more about the BIG ARTS scholarships programs or to lend your support, please call the box office or visit


BIG ARTS, established in 1979, is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing quality artistic, cultural, and educational experiences to Sanibel and Captiva residents and visitors. Visit to learn more about BIG ARTS, and stay tuned for our 2022 season. Don’t forget to visit us on Facebook!