The Fine Arts Association's Sarah Weeden Richardson Minority Scholarship Committee

Focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Welcoming differences.
Encouraging Students of Color.

What is the Sarah Weeden Richardson Minority Scholarship Committee (SWRMSC)

The Fine Arts Association’s Sarah Weeden Richardson Minority Scholarship Committee’s mission is to raise funds to support scholarships for students with financial need and students from all levels of ability with an emphasis on students of color.

Mrs. Sarah Weeden Richardson was once an FAA student, teacher, generous donor and supported community priorities. Mrs. Weeden Richardson sadly passed away in 2006 but not before starting the Sarah Weeden Richardson Minority Scholarship Committee (SWRMSC) in 2000. SWRMSC encourages minorities and people of color to participate in the arts education instructional programs offered by The Fine Arts Association. The group is an all-volunteer committee.

While FAA is always welcoming and inviting to people all ages, abilities and backgrounds, the committee:

  • understands the unique barriers and obstacles that young people of color have when trying to participate in a community arts center that may be outside their community
  • strives to help these young artists and aspiring artists to navigate through the portals, systems and communications throughout their time at FAA
  • offers scholarships for tuition, supplies, materials, instruments, transportation, etc. to ensure these young people have equal access to the arts.  FAA also offers financial need scholarships for students.
  • provides a support network for these young people and their families to feel safe and secure as they acclimate to their new arts home
  • coordinates a variety of fundraisers throughout the year to support the SWRMSC scholarship fund
  • Provide families, children and youth an avenue to explore and participate in enriching arts experiences at FAA.
  • To coordinate and hold fundraising artistic events to showcase student work and to raise funds for scholarships.
  • To recruit new students through the committee’s social and professional connections.
  • To recruit new students through the development of partnerships with other organizations such as: Painesville City Schools, Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools, United Way of Lake County, East Shore Cultural Center, St. Mary School in Painesville and Peaceful Children Montessori School in Kirtland.
  • Provide support and direction for FAA to ensure the environment is welcoming and inclusive for all students.
  • To recognize accomplishments in the arts of all students.

The Sarah Weeden Richardson Minority Scholarship Committee has been in existence since 2000 when Sarah Weeden Richardson, an accomplished pianist, FAA faculty member, and FAA’s first outreach director retired after 10 years at The Fine Arts Association.

FAA threw a minority scholarship benefit and variety show in Ms. Richardson’s honor with proceeds going to the newly formed SWRMSC  and corresponding fund.

Currently, there are 15 members on the committee who oversee the fundraising, scholarship disbursement process, and recruitment of new students. The committee meets every month throughout the year. The FAA Director of Education is on the committee and coordinates the program.

Sarah E. Weeden Richardson was born on April 2, 1934 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the 10th child born to the union of Dr. John T. and Gladys M. Weeden. With her family, Sarah moved to Cleveland Ohio in 1948, where she attended the Cleveland Public School system and graduated from East High School. In 1952, Sarah was united in holy matrimony to Roy S. Richardson, a marriage that lasted 54 years. To this union two lovely daughters were born Gladys and Stacey.

Sarah was affiliated with many organizations: The Ohio Arts Council, The National Council of Negro Women, Portraits, Eastern Star, Daughters of Isis-Ecclesiastes Chapter #101. She also sung in various choirs around the city of Cleveland such as the Weeden Family Singers and the Voices of Praise.

She retired as the Minority Outreach Coordinator for The Fine Arts Association. Sarah was a pianist and director for the following churches: St. Timothy Missionary Baptist Church, St. Mark Baptist Church, Greater Peace Baptist Church, Eastview United Church of Christ, Corinthian Baptist Church and St. Peter United Methodist Church.

Stacey Richardson Crawford, who professionally goes by “Sarah’s Girl“, is a renowned gifted R&B vocalist. Stacey is the daughter of the late Sarah Weeden Richardson who once took classes and was a voice instructor at FAA. She continues to support the SWRMSC through performances, donations, and attending events as her schedule allows. 

Funds raised go toward scholarships for individuals both new and continuing students to cover expenses such as travel, recruitment, meetings, events and student necessities (i.e., dance gear, instruments, etc.).

On average, the FAA SWRMSC provides 40-50 scholarships annually of which 80% are new students and 20% are repeat students.

Students are expected to maintain strong attendance. Thanks to the FAA SWRMSC, FAA has been able to distribute $5,000-$8,000 annually in scholarship funds!

Click here to donate today!

SWRMSC holds an annual fundraiser, special events, activities, and student performances – all designed to raise funds for scholarships. 

Scholarships are awarded to individuals each Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions. The committee looks to support students who have an interest in the arts, have a need for financial assistance, and/or have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their studies.

Requirements and application forms for scholarships at FAA can be found here

Click the video below to listen to Beatrice Parker, President of FAA's SWRMSC, share about her experience

Click the video below to listen to Nicki Wiggins, past SWRMS scholarship recipient, share about her experience

The interview above was between Mr. Parker of Parkerfotos Photography and Nicki Wiggins, past SWRMSC scholarship recipient. Wiggins also wrote the article Recognizing African-Americans who are making a difference in their communities: Mrs. Beatrice ‘Bea’ Hammett-Parker, in February of 2021 as a current student of Cleveland State University. Click here to read the full article.

Donate to SWRMSC

$250 provides one student a semester of a dance class 

$200 provides dance shoes and costumes for each Student for the semester   

$50 provides a one week summer camp or workshop for a student

$150 covers a small tablet for virtual instruction for one student

Thanks to the FAA SWRMSC, FAA has been able to distribute $5,000-$8,000 annually in scholarship funds!


Stay tuned!

How to get involved

Frequently Asked Questions

FAA Scholarships, including the SWRMS can be found here

Can’t find the answer to your question?

Questions regarding the committee, Email: Beatrice Parker

Questions regarding donations, contact Pam Palermo, Director of Development

SWRMSC Members

Beatrice Hammett-Parker, President

why/story/time involved/role

Fred Burton, Vice President

Patricia Barrett, Secretary

Louise Samms, Treasurer

Gayle Ponder, Public Speaker

Cecelia A. Jones Ubo, Coordinator

Gloria Martin, Member

Debra Douglas, Member

Lydia B. Wright, Member

Photos by: Parkerfotos Photography