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Artist’s legacy secures study trip

Artist’s legacy secures study trip

A young designer will study in the United States next year in memory of one of New Zealand’s most significant artists.

Samantha Stokes from Muriwai, who studies visual communication design at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, will spend six months on exchange at the State University of Montana.

Her trip is being supported by the John Drawbridge Ambassadorial Scholarship, which enables a creative arts student to experience art and life in an overseas country. Mr Drawbridge, who died in 2005, had himself benefited greatly from being awarded a National Art Gallery Travelling Scholarship in his youth, and had studied painting and printmaking in London and Paris.

The mountainous terrain of Bozeman, Montana is a perfect fit for Ms Stokes, who is a founding member of the Massey Alpine Club Wellington (2012). The young Aucklander went to Lynfield College but spent Year 13 away from home in an outdoor pursuits programme at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka.

The John Drawbridge Ambassadorial Scholarship is an example of ‘paying it forward’, expressing gratitude by passing an opportunity on to someone else. Mr Drawbridge’s widow Tanya Ashken and sons Tony and Cameron Drawbridge set up the John Drawbridge Memorial Trust to keep his memory alive.

Initial funding came from art patrons Denis and Verna Adam and the Arts Foundation. It has been supplemented since with the proceeds of the sale of a book about Mr Drawbridge’s work, published by Ron Sang Publications.

Ms Ashken says that through the scholarship “we wanted to help students to broaden their minds, experience the customs, cultures and people of another country. I am convinced this exposure to new perspectives makes for better artists and designers.” She says Mr Drawbridge’s family and friends are extremely grateful to all the trust donors for their generosity.

John Drawbridge worked in fields as diverse as oil and watercolour painting, large public murals, printmaking and stained glass. His work is held in international collections, including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the San Francisco Museum and the Museo Lugano in Switzerland. His public art includes large-scale murals in the Beehive and the Auckland University School of Architecture. He was an inspirational teacher at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design (now Massey University College of Creative Arts) and is a member of the college’s Hall of Fame. He received an MBE in 1978.


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