In May of this year when the now infamous fire that broke out devastated Glasgow School of Art’s iconic Mackintosh building; the devistation was not just reserved for the institution but also destroyed the many of the artworks of final-year students who were installing their degree shows at the time.
Now the Scottish Government has contributed £750,000 to the GSA’s aptly-named Phoenix Bursary. The bursary is an aid scheme created to support 100 Bachelor of Fine Arts students affected by the fire, and to rebuild their art practice. It provides the students with up to 15 weeks in a studio, a weekly stipend of £315, and also includes up to £1,000 for materials and academic support.
Out of the 100 recipients of the aid scheme, 50 of those chose to stay in Glasgow. The rest of student beneficiaries to have claimed the Phoenix’s support have now relocated to one of the programme’s partner universities.
Alex Kuusik, who a Phoenix Bursary recipient now at the Art Institute Chicago, told artnet News: “It was useful for me to position my work in a context outside of Glasgow, I have gained a great deal of momentum in the past months, avoiding the typical ‘slump’ that follows after graduating from art school. The bursary has given me the opportunity to make a new body of work with overwhelming support, and things may have been very different otherwise.”
The program of partner universities incorporated in to the aid scheme numbers more than 20; including prestigious institutions such as New York’s Pratt Institute, Oslo’s National Academy of the Arts, and the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
The Phoenix Bursary coordinator, Sam De Santis, told the website: “Students submitted their own preferences in their application,” Sam De Santis, the Phoenix Bursary coordinator, told artnet News. “Some of them expressed an interest in certain universities based on prospective postgraduate programs or the art scene of specific cities. Our job was to accommodate their preferences to the best of our abilities.”
Earlier this year the terrible events gained support from the famous, including actors Brad Pitt, and Peter Capaldi; In a specially recorded message former GSA student Capaldi said: “I’m so sorry for all of you who have lost your degree shows. “All I can say to you is that you are artists. This will only add to your story. You will be reborn, and rise from the ashes even stronger.” GSA director, Professor Tom Inns, Pitt and Capaldi would have an important role to play in the fundraising appeal.
The resulting works created using the funding from the Phoenix Bursary will do on display when the Glasgow School of Art stage a special exhibition in Glasgow next spring.