International opportunities for local artists

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Andrea Simpson

Local art students are given the opportunity to study abroad and enrich their creative practice thanks to the generous gift of art teacher Gordon Samstag.
International opportunities for local artists

2016 Samstag Scholarship recipient Sarah Duyshart’s Transmit (2014).

For nearly a decade, American artist Gordon Samstag taught at the South Australian School of Art. His time at the school, during the burgeoning 60s, left an undeniable mark on him and his wife Anne and later culminated in a remarkable bequest.  The opportunities the Samstag legacy continues to provide are invaluable for the recipients and can often change the trajectory of their artistic careers.

Read about: The Samstag Legacy: An Artist's Bequest

Sarah Duyshart, the 2016 recipient, said that receiving the scholarship changed her perception of her own work, giving her some much-needed artistic confidence.

‘Unsurprisingly, the Samstag has been the greatest vote of confidence I have received during my career. I would slavishly install exhibitions only for me to have to cut them down later. I felt as if I was drowning in my own futility at times, yet I would keep paddling forward. When the Samstag arrived, a luxury liner honked its horn and docked at the harbor,’ said Duyshart.

‘To date, my practice has been predominantly non-commercial. Prizes, grants, scholarships are the only real key indicators of professional acknowledgement.’

An education wish list

Samstag asks scholarship applicants to nominate up to three international educational Institutions or programs they would like to attend – and applicants are encouraged to let their imagination run free.

Learn more about the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship

Gillian Brown, Curator, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, said: ‘Rather than nominating schools merely because they are prestigious, spending some time reading about the various international schools and the communities that surround them will be of immense benefit.

'Nominating schools and programs that you believe to have the right culture for your particular practice will only strengthen an application,' Brown added.

Applications for the 2019 Samstag Scholarship should focus on images of your work which tell your story as an artist.

‘It’s crucial for artists to really consider the images and video excerpts that they submit; ensuring these are the best representation of their practice; that they demonstrate an ability to build upon the successes and failures of each new work,’ Brown said.

‘Judges view the visual documentation with minimal reference to support texts initially, so paying attention to the story that your documentation is telling is imperative.’

Duyshart is still currently studying at her chosen institution. ‘I was fortunate to be accepted at the Royal College of Arts in London to study MA Sculpture. With international fees totaling £28,500 [AUD$ 46,474] per year, the Samstag opened an otherwise completely prohibitive avenue,’ she said.

‘The RCA is the world's best university for art and design in the world. I can confidently say the boost of encouragement is unparalleled and worth dreaming for.'

Indulge in planning for the best possible education you can imagine – an education that will elevate your art.

‘This immersive experience can only be achieved as a fly on the wall. It is a unique, irreplaceable “silent” observational education that cannot be appropriated,’ Duyshart said.

'Positioning yourself within a highly regarded overseas institution creates an irreplaceable anchor for those who desire to physically re-contextualise their practice within an international setting.'

Click here to learn more about the 2019 Samstag Scholarships.

About the author

Andrea Simpson is ArtsHub's Feature Writer and Reviews Editor. Andrea is a Filipino-Australian writer with a love for diverse Australian stories. She is curious about all forms of art, though she has an especially keen interest in the publishing sector.

Andrea has had short stories published in various anthologies, and is currently working on her first novel.  

You can follow Andrea on Instagram @andi_jayyy