Our wonderful community of arts patrons

26 Jun 2024

The breadth and scope of the Emerging Artists Support Scheme (EASS) is unique to The Australian National University (ANU) School of Art and Design (SoAD). It boasts the strong support of a wonderful community of arts patrons, consisting of individuals, businesses, galleries and organisations. The generosity of this community offers assistance to graduating artists at the beginning of their independent careers, when it can be most valuable.

EASS is an institution at ANU, with patrons of the scheme supporting students at the end of their undergraduate programs, and during graduate studies, through a variety of awards, exhibition opportunities, and the commissioning and acquiring of new artworks. The scheme was founded in 1988 by Emeritus Professor David Williams AM, who was Director of SoAD at the time, and has grown exponentially in the three decades since. Last year, multiple philanthropically supported scholarships, prizes and grants were given out as part of EASS.

Among these, the John and Elizabeth Baker Honours Scholarship was awarded to Beth O’Sullivan, who is looking for an environmental solution to coral reef restoration practices, which often use concrete.

Niamh Armstrong received both The Janet Wilkie Memorial Prize for Art History and Theory Honours, established in 1983 in memory of Janet Roulston Wilkie, and The Kate and Bill Guy Art History and Theory Honours Prize, established by the family of Kate and Bill Guy to encourage students who excel in the field of Art History and Theory.

“I grew up in Narooma, a rural town on the Far South Coast of NSW, and for as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in everything creative. I spent weekends drawing, painting and reading. It was only the natural next step to study Art History and Curatorship at ANU,” says Niamh.

“I have always envisioned a career in academia. These prizes have encouraged me greatly to continue on my path in academia. During the stress of my Honours year, I was unsure about continuing on to complete a PhD, but the prizes have given me the belief that I can achieve it. Thank you.”

The Nigel Thomson Travel Grant, established by Rosanna Hindmarsh OAM in memory of her brother, artist Nigel Thomson, enabled Bachelor of Design student Anne-Marie Mansour to study in New York.

“The support from the Nigel Thomson Travel Grant is beyond impactful to me and my practice. The intensity of my courses while on exchange has improved many of my foundational skills through coursework I hadn’t had much exposure to in the past. These skills have been able to feed the development of my personal painting practice,” says Anne-Marie.

Anne-Marie also won The School of Art & Design Drawing Prize.

The COX Architecture Prize includes the opportunity to have an exhibition at the COX Gallery, Canberra, in addition to a monetary prize. The 2023 recipient, Melissa Nickols, used post-consumer waste cardboard as a base to make three-dimensional pieces, alongside methods such as hand crafting and laser cutting. Her collection, entitled “Never quite as it seems” was displayed between March and April 2024 at the COX Gallery.

“The exhibition at COX Gallery which goes along with the prize is such a great opportunity so early in my art career,” says Melissa.

By contributing through EASS, donors continue to offer countless opportunities for graduates and continuing students. This bolsters the prominence of art and design in our region and helps nurture the University’s graduates to find their voice in the national arts scene.

Page Owner: Philanthropy