Helping Aspiring Artists get the Supplies they Need

Jan, 2021
Pattie and Glen Atkinson, of Nevada, showing their playful nature wearing bunny and flower headbands.

From the sides of city buses to book covers to murals, art is everywhere. 

“Art is about how it makes you feel and art is an important part of life,” says Pattie Atkinson. 

A professional artist who took art classes at Humboldt State University while her husband studied Economics in the early 1960s, Pattie knows all too well that creating art can also be financially daunting. 

Understanding the obstacles aspiring young artists face, she and her husband Glen (‘63, Economics) recently established the Pattie Spann Atkinson Art Scholarship Endowment with a $30,000 gift. Each year, one HSU painting student will be awarded a scholarship to help pay tuition, living expenses, and art supplies. 

“When I sold paintings, I would buy more art supplies to sell more paintings, so I could get more supplies. I know how expensive art supplies such as paints and canvas can be. That’s one of the reasons I thought an art scholarship for HSU students would be helpful,” Pattie says.

A painting of two children. A boy is giving the girl a piggyback ride. the children are laughing and having fun

Scholarships make a world of difference for students like Chelsea Harris ('18, Art). She recalls not being able to buy the materials she needed as a student. “There were projects and mediums I had shelved because I could not afford the supplies to do them justice,” she says. 

With the support of various HSU Art scholarships--similar to the one Pattie and Glen have just created--Chelsea was able to bring her creative vision to life. “With these awards, I was able to experiment, test my creative boundaries, and complete these projects. 

 “My sense of validation at being seen, and relief at being able to purchase the supplies I could only dream of, have stayed with me. Even two or three years after receiving these awards, I still feel their effects on my work. I can only speculate where I would be had I not received them,” she says.

Opening doors and helping students discover their potential are the inspiration behind Pattie and Glen’s generous support for HSU. 

In 2017, Glen, a longtime economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, created the Atkinson Economics Student Workspace Fund to make upgrades to the Economics student workspace in Siemens Hall. He also established the Atkinson Family Library Scholar Internship, which provides students opportunities to preserve Humboldt State and local history in the HSU Library’s Special Collections.

“The education I received at HSU changed my life,” Glen says. “It was a place that paid attention to students. The instructors They were tough. I had some really good teachers there and they all had things they were trying to pass on to students.” 

The couple eventually settled down in Nevada where Pattie threw herself into the world of art. She enrolled in Art classes at University of Nevada, Reno and she taught art at a local elementary school. But she never forgot her experience at Humboldt--a place their children were born and where they felt at home as students. “It was a community at Humboldt State, and that makes a difference in college life.”  

There are many ways you can support HSU students. Explore your options and contact the Humboldt State University Foundation at 707-826-5200 or visit