Miner’s son Del Hoyle never dreamed he would win a scholarship to study at a prestigious New York institution.
But the artist, designer and musician has been selected out of 12,000 entries to go to The New School – a legendary progressive university that dates back to 1919 – for free.
Graduates of the institution include actor Marlon Brando, film director Woody Allen, fashion designer Marc Jacobs and former US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Del may be the first English person to be awarded the President’s Scholarship so he can study interior design.
But to begin his postgraduate studies in September under the President’s Scholarship, the 30-year-old must first complete a summer school course that will cost more than £5,000 in fees.
Now Sheffield’s creative community is rallying around to help Del’s cause, organising a fundraising night this weekend to fund the costs.
Del, who grew up in Swinton, Rotherham, but now lives in Hunters Bar, Sheffield, said: “It’s absolutely unheard of for an English student to get this scholarship, it usually goes to people from Third World countries.
“I didn’t expect any of it to be honest, even to get in is amazing.
“It was a little bit of a pipe dream for me so to be able to go has completely opened up my future.
“I was really open from the start and said to the school that I couldn’t afford to go but they were really positive about my application and said I was exactly the kind of person they wanted to go to the school.
“My dad’s an ex-miner, my mum works in a bakery, I’m as working class as they come, but I think they respected that.”
Dubbed ‘Delstock’, the fundraising night will take place at the Picture House Social bar on Abbeydale Road on Saturday from 7pm.
Del has also worked with Joe Moskow from Reverend and the Makers to record a futuristic cover version of Sting’s classic hit An Englishman in New York to give away to everyone who donates to the cause on his online fundraising page.
A video of the track shows him running through Sheffield city centre while wearing a T-shirt bearing the USA flag
The technician at Sheffield Hallam University, who was worked with various bands and art groups in the city, said: “Already £2,500 has been raised in about two-and-a-half weeks so I’m halfway there, it’s looking really good.
“Every contribution will receive a copy of the track along with my gratitude that they have helped give me the opportunity to change my life.
“I’ve been involved in creating bigger networks for artists to work together and that’s what made me want to go back into education.
“I’m interested in housing and public spaces, how we use them and people respond to them.”
Acts performing on Saturday include DJ Pipes, Canyon Family and a Slow Club two-piece set called Charles and Diana. Entry is £6.
n Del’s online fundraising page is at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-del-to-study-at-the-new-school-new-york#/story