13 June 2023

Samstag scholar Sasha Grbich.

From the top art schools in New York City to the best visual arts programs across Europe, past recipients of prestigious Samstag Scholarships have gone on to attend some of the greatest arts institutions in the world.

The once in a lifetime opportunity for Australian visual artists to complete a year-long placement in an art school of their choice is open to artists wanting to catapult their careers to the international stage.

The University of South Australia Samstag Museum of Art Scholarships program will allow a handful of Australian artists to develop their artistic capabilities and skills through a dedicated period of practice-based learning.

Each recipient will be provided with institutional fees for one academic year of study and a $70,000 tax free allowance. The scholarship also covers expenses for travel to undertake a study program of their choice.

UniSA graduate and Adelaide installation artist and educator Sasha Grbich knows the benefits the highly sought-after scholarships program can bring after becoming a Samstag Scholar in 2019.

Her institution of choice was the Maumaus School of Visual Arts in Lisbon, Portugal, where she regularly engaged with fellow artists, philosophers and filmmakers to boost her exposure to contemporary arts and culture.

Grbich, who completed a Master of Research at UniSA in 2015, says she applied for the scholarship with the aim of one day pursuing a PhD, knowing the international experience would enrich her knowledge.

“I wanted to know more about international urgencies in art and culture, and find a focus for further work,” she says.

“I wanted to see my local context from afar before coming back to consolidate my work in it. I always intended to bring my experience back to the work I do with the creative communities I contribute to.”

Grbich had already built-up experience in arts education back home, teaching at the Adelaide School of Art and co-ordinating the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Honours degrees there for several years.

Upon returning from Portugal, she was able to share insights and learnings with students when she resumed teaching.

Since then, Grbich has taken on a PhD at Flinders University and recently won a national prize, the David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award by Sydney College of the Arts.

The competitive Samstag Scholarships program was established in 1991 through the generous bequest of the late Gordon Samstag, an American artist who taught from 1961 to 1970 at the South Australian School of Art, which is now incorporated within UniSA.

Samstag Museum of Art Director Erica Green says the scholarships program is one of the greatest bequests to visual arts education in Australia.

“This annual program provides visual artists with an opportunity develop their artistic capacities, skills and talents outside Australia,” she says.

“It really is a lifechanging opportunity and a golden ticket to the international arts stage.”

The Samstag Scholarships are open to students and graduates of a visual art undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification at an Australian institution of higher education. The scholarships initially targeted students and recent graduates only but opened up this year to all graduates.

There have been 148 scholarships awarded to date.

For more information visit the Samstag Museum of Art website.

Media contact: Melissa Keogh, UniSA Media M: +61 403 659 154  E: Melissa.Keogh@unisa.edu.au

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