Gibson Gives Announces 2023 Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship Recipient

Gibson has announced the newest recipient of the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship.

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The recipient was revealed during the Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, 1915-1973 concert at Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch on Sunday (March 19). One day before Tharpe’s birthday on March 20, Gibson Gives announced that the Arkansas Arts Academy is the 2023 grantee, offering a connection to Tharpe’s home state.

The school will receive a $5,000 grant and a guitar in honor of Tharpe. Known as the Godmother of Rock and Roll, Tharpe was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, in 1915 and rose to fame with her blend of gospel music and electric guitar. She released several albums, beginning with Gospel Songs in 1947, and influenced the stylings of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard and Etta James. In 2018, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Gibson Gives launched the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship in 2022 in partnership with Save the Music to donate money, instruments and other music resources to students and schools across the U.S. Sierra Guilmartin, a former senior at Philadelphia High School for Girls, was the first recipient. The scholarship is described as the first-of-its-kind music scholarship to be created in Tharpe’s memory.

“The launch of our new scholarship program in partnership with Save The Music allows us to directly impact the lives of young musicians” Dendy Jarrett, executive director of Gibson Gives, said in a 2022 press release. “For our first scholarship, we’re proud to be partnering with Save The Music to both pay tribute to the godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll, the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe and to support the developing careers of young musicians and creators!”

Amythyst Kiah, Valerie June and Binky Griptite were among the performers who paid tribute to Tharpe at the Luck Ranch show in Austin, Texas.

(Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

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