Class of 2005 Samstag Scholarships

(For release on November 4, 2004)


Australia's most prestigious awards for study overseas in the visual arts, were announced last night at the University of South Australia, during the opening of the University Art Museum travelling exhibition, Kindle & Swag:The Samstag Effect.

Six lucky young artists from around Australia were declared recipients of the 2005 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships, by Mr William Thomas, a representative of Mr Samstag's American trustee - Bank of America Private Bank, Florida, USA. Mr Thomas is visiting Australia for the official opening of the exhibition, which features the work of selected Samstag alumni from previous years.

The six new Samstag Scholars who will take up their scholarships in 2005 are: Michael Kutschbach (South Australia); Michael Graeve and Viveka Marksjo (Victoria); Jemima Wyman (Queensland) and Mikala Dwyer and Edward Wright (NSW). Each artist will receive, firstly, a twelve months living allowance of US$30,000 (approximately $40,000 Australian) and additionally, travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees, commonly in excess of $30,000 a year at leading international art schools, the popular destinations for Samstag artists. A total of ninety-nine Samstag Scholarships have now been awarded since 1992.

The generous Samstag Scholarships are renowned for the significant opportunities they provide in professional development to their fortunate recipients. But according to Samstag director, Ross Wolfe, they bring other rewards, as well. "Not the least of these is the rapid visibility achieved by Samstag scholars", he says, "who these days attract high interest across the spectrum of Australia's professional visual arts from the moment they are announced".

He also suggests that, of greater value to the artistic bedrock of the recipients, is the positive impact on their self-belief which a Samstag Scholarship brings. "Though artists may impress us with their typical air of assurance", he says, "it takes gutsiness to pursue the tenuous artist life of public experiment, low material reward and risk. Hopefully their Samstag Scholarships will give these artists the extra self-belief they will need in abundance, for artistic success".

This year's catalogue essayist, Peter Timms, is a respected writer at the forefront of debate about directions and values in contemporary visual art. His recent book, 'What's Wrong with Contemporary Art' (UNSW Press, 2004) has generated lively discussion within the artworld, and his stimulating Samstag essay extends many of the critical themes from his book.

Judges for the 2005 Samstag Scholarships were Professor Kay Lawrence, head of the South Australian School of Art, John Barbour, South Australian artist and a senior lecturer at the School of Art, and leading Melbourne-based painter, Megan Walch, a 1995 Samstag scholar who recently was profiled in Art Collector magazine, by Ted Colless. Megan Walch is represented by Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne.


For further information contact - Ross Wolfe, Director, Samstag Program

Samstag Program
University of South Australia
Phone: (08) 8302 0869
Fax: (08) 8302 0866