Apply now for one of 12 Marten Bequest Scholarships worth $50,000

Australian artists under 35 years of age can now apply through the Australia Council for a Marten Bequest scholarship to develop their talents through study and professional development within Australia and overseas.

First awarded in 1975, The Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship offers talented young artists across nine discrete artforms – acting, architecture, ballet, instrumental music, painting, poetry, prose, sculpture and singing – the opportunity to explore, study and develop their talents through overseas and interstate travel.

Since the program began, 275 artists have received scholarships; among them are celebrated artists including author Tim Winton and painter Wendy Sharpe.

A total of 12 scholarships are available in 2020, marking one of the biggest years for the Marten Bequest, with a total funding pool of $600,000.

A member of the Merchant Navy and a student of Spanish dancing, polymath John Marten was also a novelist and theatre artist whose passion for the arts knew few bounds.

Recognising the costs involved in study and training programs, he established The Marten Bequest in his will in 1964 in order to support the professional development of young Australian artists for years to come.

Scholarship funds can be used to assist with formal studies and professional training courses as well as mentorship programs.

Successful applicants are awarded $50,000 (paid in quarterly instalments over two years) with the scholarships administered by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as trustee.

Learn more about The Marten Bequest Scholarships

Individual artists who are Australian citizens aged 21 – 35 (17 – 35 for ballet) practicing in one of the nine scholarship disciplines available are encouraged to apply for a scholarship from The Marten Bequest.

Applications close at midnight on Thursday 30 January 2020 AEDT, with outcomes announced by the end of April 2020.

Recent recipients of The Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarships include Renae Shadler (acting), Ellena Savage (prose), Danae Valenza (sculpture) and Brenton Spiteri (singing).

Additional travelling scholarships for Australian citizens with outstanding ability and promise in ballet and opera are provided through the Lady Mollie Isabelle Askin Ballet and Sir Robert William Askin Operatic scholarships.

Previous scholarship recipients have travelled to the UK to study performance poetry and Shakespeare; to the USA to enhance their framing and mounting techniques and research American folk art and textiles; and to the East Kimberley, to study the painting practices of senior Gija artists.

Scholarship proposals can only be submitted through the Australia Council’s Application Management System and must include proof of Australian citizenship and confirmation of the applicant’s age.

As with grant applications, support material can be included to bolster an artist’s application, including video, audio, images (photos, drawings, sketches or plans), and writing.

Letters of support from tutors, mentors and arts industry colleagues can also be submitted as support material.

Applications for The Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship are now open. Visit the Australia Council website for application details and further information about the scholarship program.

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts