An event to thank the University of Tasmania’s generous donors painted a poignant picture of the power of philanthropy at the School of Creative Arts and Media’s Plimsoll Gallery last month.
The occasion acknowledged the invaluable support of a special group of people who share the strong desire to make a difference: members of the Bequest Society and the Domain Society. These donors have indicated they wish to leave a bequest to the University or have given for more than five consecutive years.
Their passion and generosity has allowed more Tasmanians striving for a higher education to realise their potential. Like alumna Wren (Sharon) Moore (BFA 2017), who spoke at the event. The talented artist turned to art later in life, during a tumultuous time. She said it was “a salve to soothe the trauma”.
An application to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts saw her “cocooned by kindness, goodwill and tolerance” at the School of Creative Arts and Media. Then, in 2019, the generous Jim Bacon Memorial Scholarship transformed her experience of studying.
“It has given me the luxury of time – time that was previously spent working three jobs whilst studying to support myself and my young son,” Wren said.
Instead of being fixated on her finances, she was free to hone her artistic skills, purchase materials for an installation and make the most of the fast-paced year of study.
“It has also given me more time to devote to my son, for which I will be forever grateful and hopefully one day, he will be too. It has allowed me to practice better self-care - living with chronic illness comes with its own set of challenges that requires the ability to rest and live a less stressful existence.
On a personal level, it has given me self-confidence in my abilities as an artist. As well as the self-affirming realisation that someone who has not met me, believed in me, and wanted to see me succeed.”
She thanked the Bacon family for their generosity, adding that the late Premier’s spirit would live on in the students his scholarship supports.
“To support the arts is a wonderful symbol of what is important to you,” she said.
“You can be assured that your support means that you as an individual are imprinted into the fabric of the arts in Tasmania, as well as the stories of the students who are bold enough to study and make art.”
The University’s Executive Director of Advancement, Kate Robertson, and Associate Director of Fundraising, Rebecca Cuthill, thanked donors for giving students the opportunity to transform their lives and enrich the world around them.
“The provision of scholarships enables increased participation by students and has an immediate and beneficial impact on students’ ability to succeed in their studies,” Ms Cuthill said.
“Without our donors, we simply would not be the very special institution that we are.”
Guests connected with other donors and scholarship recipients, viewed the 2019 graduate exhibition and received a tour of the Art School. They also enjoyed music by D & MV McDonald Scholarship recipients cellist Alex Legg and violinist Natalya Bing.
Scholarship recipients present included: Annual Appeal Scholarship recipients: Madeleine Archer and Jonathan Bentley, and the 2019 recipient of John Turner Memorial Scholarship in Agricultural Science, Meg Lawrence. Dr Amanda Patchett, a leading Tasmanian devil immunology researcher who has had her work partly funded by donations to the University’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal, also attended to show her gratitude.