Jojo's Adventures in France!

Hi everyone, 

I'm going to France! My trip will be for 8 weeks. June 25-August 26. 

I've updated this description with the essay I wrote for a scholarship submission. I found out June 5th that I was selected to recive the Neely Elizabeth Toohill Memorial Scholarship. 

"On June 3rd, 2013, I was admitted to Piedmont Hospital with a life-threatening infectionand other unknown medical concerns. After spending a week in quarantine, blood transfusions, and an array of other tests, I was sent home to recover on bed rest for two months. I recovered enough and was cleared to start my graduate studies on time. I am still paying off my medical bills and battling the illness that put me in the hospital.

Despite constantly battling with Ulcerative Colitis, I have been an active member in the SCAD community, becoming the Photo Editor and a Creative Director for SCAD Atlanta’s Newspaper, The Connector, and SCAN Magazine. The year I was on the editorial staff, we won 42 awards for The Connector and 33 awards for SCAN Magazine, regionally and nationally, thus far. And there are still more awards to be announced.

I am also an active member in the greater Atlanta community with theatrical productions and more notably, Heroes Alliance, a “non-profit team of costumed volunteers [who] make appearances at community and children-oriented charity events–from helping local law enforcement with community functions to visiting sick children in the hospital to help brighten their spirits. Some of the groups we have worked with in the past are Give Kids the World, Base Camp, CHOA, FOCUS among many others.” I began as a photographer documenting the events and eventually ended up in costume as well. There is nothing greater than inspiring kids to reach for all their dreams.

In pursuing my Master of Fine Arts in photography, I needed to pull back from my own personal freelance business. I dedicate myself fully as a student to maintain a high GPA and produce artwork that is both portfolio and gallery worthy. The financial disadvantages of putting school first is outweighed by the artwork I produce and the knowledge I am gaining within the program. Receiving this financial help will assist in my stability while creating and learning. Scad's help will allow me to continue to build the portfolio I need for a more successful career once I complete the MFA program.

When I was younger I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to work internationally and this led me to study abroad as a student ambassador in middle school. That summer was one of the best things that ever happened to me academically. I saw a new view of the world and understood on a personal level, the differences in culture and society by living with a family in Denmark. Though I traveled for very different reasons then, the end result is still the same. Once again, I wish to expand my thinking and comprehension of the world around me by traveling, living, and working overseas. This time it will all be documented through my lens.

I find it serendipitous that this was the very last chance I had to study at the Lacoste campus and I was accepted. I applied three times in undergrad to study abroad and was never put on the wait lists. It was extremely disheartening at the time. When I came back to grad school, I assumed studying abroad would still not be an option for me.

However, I have grown as a person and artist over the years because of my failures and rejections. I have continued to pursue my dreams and create more and more art. Not only was I accepted to study in Lacoste on my last opportunity to go, but I also will be able to visit the places of my ancestors. I will be the first person in generations to visit where both my father’s and mother’s families came from. Something no one has done since each family immigrated to America. This is the base of the project I will be working on while overseas. It is a project I could do no where else, except while I am in Lacoste. It will all flow right into my thesis work about self, identity, and acceptance."


So - why am I asking for so much money?

Here's an adjusted breakdown:

$1,700 - Airfare 
$250 - Train/Bus (So I can travel to Spain/Germany/Etc. and gather even more images to bring back home.)
$3,000 - Program Fee (I will be covering more than double of this personally)
$200 - Health/Medication* (Buying bulk for 8 weeks)
$350 - Emergengy Funds (Because life never goes accoring to the plan.)

The total cost for this trip will be well over $17,000 after tuition, travel, insurance, etc., etc., etc. 

Obviously, I have the majority of this covered already. I'm still working and putting pieces in place. I just need help with some of the pieces. 

In the end - I want to build a relationship with you, through my art & photography. 

 If you have any questions, comments, concearns - ANYTHING AT ALL - please don't hesitat to comment here or email me directly! {joa . artist (at) gmail .com}

Thanks so much!


P.S. - Check out ther rewards below. I'll add more along the way depending on what people are asking for. 

"DD" means "Digital Download". It will gradually grow as a private online gallery where you can download copies of your favorite images.  ;)


  • Heather Mahan 
    • $5 
    • 70 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $120 
    • 71 mos
  • Kevin Spooner 
    • $50 
    • 71 mos
  • Alysha Mitchell 
    • $15 
    • 71 mos
  • Kristina Sooy 
    • $120 
    • 71 mos
See all


Jo Arellanes 
Atlanta, GA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more