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The Vita Brown Bequest Bursary

Vita Ethel Brown (11 October 1916 – 15 December 2012) generously bequeathed funds to Arts Tasmania to assist emerging artists to purchase materials.

As a result, two bursaries of $500 will be offered each year to artists who:

  • have spent less than two years working in any artform or      
  • have been absent from professional practice in an artform for the last two consecutive years.      

Funds may be used towards the purchase of essential materials and equipment normally excluded from grant assistance.

Applicants might be actors, arts administrators, choreographers, composers, craftspeople, dancers, designers, editors, musicians, playwrights, poets, rock bands, visual artists or writers.

About Vita Brown

Photo of Vita Brown standing in her studioVita Ethel Brown was born on 11 October 1916 in Mildura, Victoria. She was the only child of a Swedish mother and English father.

She went to school in Melbourne and excelled in sports becoming the Victorian State backstroke and diving champion. Vita's mother died when Vita was only 17 so independence came early. She went to secretarial school and worked at different jobs, including one as a wallpaper designer, an engagement that  her  family  credit with igniting her artistic talent.

In 1934 Vita married Jeff Brown. Jeff, better known as 'Buster', was a commercial pilot aged 28 when they married. Eighteen months later with a newborn baby they moved to Tasmania and purchased a farm – 'Landridge' at Apsley. They spent 30 years on the farm before moving to Triabunna.

When her youngest daughter left school in 1971, Vita took the opportunity to pursue a Fine Arts Diploma at the School of Art in Hobart. She loved colour and movement and dared to paint in different mediums and styles. She studied in Sydney and London and along the way met many people who encouraged  her.  She  travelled Europe visiting galleries and drawing inspiration wherever she went.

Vita Brown's studio

Upon returning home she involved herself teaching for Adult Education at Triabunna School, and with the local Regional Arts branch. In fact she was heavily involved in the regional arts scene, and in 2007 while attending a Regional Arts Australia conference in Alice Springs she was given a standing  ovation  by  the 800 delegates attending for she was the oldest working artist present.

Over 40 years Vita Brown's works been shown at a number of exhibitions and have been acquired by both private and institutional collectors.

Vita Brown passed away on 15 December 2012. In her will Vita provided a bequest so that emerging artists might have a bursary to assist with the initial purchase of materials needed to commence their professional arts practice.

Arts Tasmania is pleased to be able to offer the Vita Brown Bequest Bursary in line with the wishes of Vita Brown.

"Our mother was not like other mums. She was so different---independent, determined, and not afraid to speak her mind. She lived well before her time and lived life to the full. In later life it was out in the studio, in the garden or buzzing around in her little car getting involved in so many things.  Even  when  sadly she had to go to a nursing home she was asking for her car and planning her escape..."

Lesley Anderson, Vita Brown's daughter.

Vita Brown's studio

Key dates

Opens: 1 May 2017
Closes: 4 July 2017
Notification: August 2017

Who can apply?

  • Individual Tasmanian artists who have spent less than two years working professionally in an artform      
  • Individual Tasmanian artists who have been absent from professional practice for the last two consecutive years      

For other eligibility requirements, please visit general eligibility.

Who can't apply?

  • Individual artists who are not based in Tasmania      
  • Individual artists who are not emerging or returning to practice      
  • Partnerships, collaborations and other unincorporated groups      
  • Incorporated bodies      

What can I apply for?

The Vita Brown Bequest Bursary provides investment towards the purchase of essential materials and equipment normally excluded from Arts Tasmania's programs of investment.
This might include musical instruments or equipment, reference material, software or materials for making art.

You cannot apply for investment towards projects or activities that do not involve professional artists or arts workers, do not have a clearly defined arts component or that have already taken place.

How many times a year can I apply?

There is one Vita Brown Bequest Bursary round a year and each individual may lodge one application per round. You can also apply for investment through Arts Tasmania's other programs.

How much can I apply for?

Each Vita Brown Bequest Bursary is valued at $500. Two bursaries will be offered per round.

If your intended purchase(s) exceeds $500, you will need to explain how you will cover the additional costs.

Against what criteria will my application be assessed?

Your application will be assessed against the criterion of quality.


There are a number of indicators of quality that the assessment panel may take into consideration. You are not required to address these indicators one by one but you must demonstrate how they are reflected in your project:

  • Strength of artistic practice      
  • Creativity – imagination, originality      
  • Progression – fresh artistic approaches, experimentation and creative challenge      
  • Currency – timeliness in career, relevance to career development, potential for growth in practice      

The assessment guidelines are a useful resource that details what peers may consider in assessing your application.

Who will assess my application?

Applications will be assessed by multi-artform peers.

What do I submit in my application?

All applications must include:

  • A copy of your current CV or biography      
  • Quotes relating to the materials or equipment you wish to purchase      
  • A maximum of five items of artistic support material      

If your project involves Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander content, your application must include evidence of consultation with the relevant community (refer to

If you are unsure about how to appropriately consult with community please contact Arts Tasmania’s Aboriginal Arts Program Officer, Denise Robinson.

Please note that excess support material will not be accepted. All attachments should be listed on the support material cover page and each attachment should be clearly labelled.

Visit artistic support material for information relating to accepted formats.

When do I submit my application?

Applications to the Vita Brown Bequest Bursary close on 4 July 2017.

Notifications will occur in August 2017.

How do I submit my application?

Your online application form must be submitted by 11:59 pm on the 4 July 2017.

Hard copy submissions will only be considered if you are unable to submit electronically. Applicants must contact a Program Officer for permission to submit in hard copy before the closing date.

For more information relating to making your submission, please visit how to apply.

When will I be notified of the outcome of my application?

You will be advised of the outcome of your application six weeks (30 working days) after the closing date.

Help with your application

We recommend you seek advice from a program officer before submitting your application. Program officers are a useful source of information and can provide advice on your application at any stage of the process.

Program officer Ashlee Irwin is available to discuss your application relating to visual arts, craft, design, contemporary music or community arts and cultural development.

Program officer Kate Mackie is available discuss to discuss your application relating to performing arts, music or writing.

You can make an appointment with the program officers for a face-to-face meeting or contact them directly via phone or e-mail.


Applications to the 2018 Vita Brown Bequest Bursary program are currently closed.

Notification of successful applications will occur in August 2017.

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Stay in touch

Sign up for our fortnightly email newsletter for updates on all our investment and development opportunities.

Updates and reminders are also posted on the Arts Tasmania Facebook page, like us on Facebook to receive regular updates in your newsfeed.

Other types of investment

See the programs and key dates page to see all investment options available to individual artists, partnerships, collaborations and other unincorporated groups.

Other information

Equity for information relating to services provided by Arts Tasmania to assist applicants in overcoming any special difficulties in applying for Arts Tasmania's programs of investment.


  1. Photo of Vita Brown standing in her studio
  2. Vita Brown's studio, showing a collection of her artwork
  3. Vita Brown's studio, showing a collection of her artwork