Anna Mahon is pursuing her dream of studying visual arts at Griffith University thanks to a generous bursary for young artists from the bush.

She hails from Alpha, a tiny drought-stricken town in Central Queensland with just over 300 residents. As one of five kids, moving to Brisbane to study seemed out of reach.

A helping hand

A work by Anna Mahon, inspired by her hometown in Central Queensland

The $10,000 Art in Bark Bursary has allowed Anna to embark on a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art (QCA).

The Bursary supports high achieving students from regional and remote areas of Queensland who want to study fine art at the QCA.

It isdesigned to cover the costs of equipment and materials, contribute to accommodation expenses and give students an opportunity to focus on their creative development during their first year of study.

“My family has never been in the position to indulge in luxuries and studying at university was just another bill on the pile,” Anna said.

“This bursary has taken the stress off my family, and will make a profound difference to my education. I’m so honoured and grateful to Art in Bark.”

A whole new world

Anna said her studies at QCA had opened up a whole new world, learning from renowned artists and joining a community of students who shared her passion for painting.

Anna is currently studying online due to COVID-19 and said she was eagerly anticipating the return to campus.

“Despite the fact we’re learning remotely,I have already learnt so much and improved monumentally,” she said.

“Just being in a community of like-minded artistic people has been such a fulfilling experience.”

The power of art

Anna decided to follow her dream of becoming an artist after seeing her first major exhibition last year by renowned Australian painter Del Kathryn Barton.

“The exhibition by Del Kathryn Barton knocked my socks off and showed me the intense effect an artist can have on their audience,” she said.

“Whether my studies lead to a career as a curator or a monster truck airbrush artist, I want to try and capture all the weirdness and beauty of life through art.”

Supporting artists from the bush

Art in Bark is a non-profit association founded in 1973. It aims to encourage appreciation of native flora and fauna and promote the creation of this uniquely Australian artform, which features works made of the colourful, textured bark of Melaleuca trees.

Art in Bark President David Leisemann said the group was keen to support young artists from regional Queensland.

“A lot of the inspiration for our work comes from the bush, so we were keen to help a young artist come to the city and complete their studies at the QCA,” he said.

“It’s wonderful for our members to see the difference our gift can make to a young artist.”

For more information about supporting the fine arts at Griffith, click here.

Apply for the 2021 Art in Bark Bursary. Applications close 12 pm Friday 19 February 2021.