National Art School. 
The Dobell School Program The Dobell School was initiated in 1988 by the National Art School and the Curriculum Support and Performing Arts Units of the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET). It is generously sponsored by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.

AGNSW. Works by William Dobell (Collection)
Works by William Dobell at the Art Gallery of NSW.

AGNSW. Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial
Drawing is fundamental to the practice of each of the ten contemporary artists in this exhibition. Their works range from watercolour to film, performance and sculpture, highlighting how the art of drawing can often defy classification. The exhibition reveals how the process of drawing itself allows these artists to engage with the landscape – urban, rural, natural or constructed – and the importance of a tangible subject to their work.

ART EXPRESS is an annual series of exhibitions of exemplary artworks created by New South Wales visual arts students for the Higher School Certificate examination.

Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie is the Nation Heritage listed Dobell House, the home and studio of the late Sir William Dobell, one of Australia’s most famous painters. The home and its contents offer a unique experience of the life and work of Wangi’s “Gentle Genius”.


Dobell Drawing Prize #22
26 June to 14 August 2022

The Dobell Drawing Prize is an unparalleled celebration of drawing technique and innovation. This National Art School touring exhibition showcases 43 of the 64 finalists from the 2021 Prize and includes Euan Macleod’s winning work, chosen by guest judge and acclaimed artist Lucy Culliton. Presenting a range of material approaches – from animation, collage and paper weaving, to charcoal, ink and watercolour – the exhibition demonstrates the remarkable vitality and scope of contemporary Australian drawing.

William Dobell’s love of drawing was recognised in 1993 when the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation (SWDAF) initiated a drawing prize in his name at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. For twenty years, the annual Dobell Prize for Drawing encouraged excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship among Australian artists. Past winners include Kevin Connor, David Fairbairn, Virginia Grayson, Nicholas Harding, Ann Pollak, Gareth Sansom, Jan Senbergs, Garry Shead and Aida Tomescu.

Where better than to punch out the parameters of drawing in our times than an art school? The National Art School takes the lead in establishing a centre for experimentation and engagement.
By Gina Fairley, Saturday 7 November 2020

This week, the National Art School (NAS) – Australia’s longest-running independent fine art school – announced it was joining an international trend with the formation of the National Centre for Drawing (NCD).

A gallery spokesperson told ArtsHub: ‘It’s more of a concept bringing together lots of elements centred at NAS than an actual place, but we do have a new gallery dedicated to drawing.’

Opening on 4 November, the centre, which is part of the city's National Art School, is modelled on the the Drawing Centre in New York and London’s Drawing Room

By Elizabeth Fortescue, 28 October 2020


The National Art School in Sydney’s inner suburb of Darlinghurst will open on 4 November a National Centre for Drawing with a charter to become internationally recognised for “nurturing a curiosity around drawing that is grounded in precedent but extends towards the unknown”.

The National Centre for Drawing will be an Australian first, and will “establish a permanent, flexible and responsive space for drawing, both physical and online, that originates on the NAS campus and reaches beyond its walls”, its mission statement says.

The centre will be modelled on The Drawing Centre in New York and London’s Drawing Room, according to National Art School director Steven Alderton. As the site of exhibitions, residencies, conferences, drawing projects and other events, and attracting eminent practitioners worldwide, the National Centre for Drawing will push back against the global trend in art schools to marginalise the art of drawing, Alderton says.

Museum & Galleries of NSW - 12 December 2019.


We are pleased to announce Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) as the recipient of the Dobell Exhibition Grant for 2020 for their exhibition Notes from the Field.

The Dobell Exhibition Grant, supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, offers $40,000 in funding to one regional NSW gallery per annum.

Notes from the Field explores the practice of fieldwork as a vital creative process by examining ways artists deploy fieldwork to undertake research, formulate ideas and express creativity.

The exhibition will be presented from 19 June – 30 August 2020 and is a collaboration between MAMA and the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture’s [B–CSC], celebrating its tenth anniversary and its significant contribution as a regional arts initiative. The exhibition is curated by Madelynne Cornish (B-CSC), Philip Samartzis (B-CSC) and Michael Moran (MAMA). Notes from the Field will include new artworks from national and international artists working across various disciplines including printmaking, photography, installation, moving image, sound, music and dance.

Central Estern Daily:

October 10 2019, By Alex Crowe


Playback, the third Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, will open at the Orange Regional Gallery on Friday.

The exhibition presents work by eight contemporary Australian artists, exploring history through crossovers between drawing and the moving image.

In Playback works by Vernon Ah Kee, Laura Hindmarsh, Locust Jones, Dorota Mytych, Jason Phu, Lucienne Rickard, Nick Strike and Sharon Goodwin, respond to images found in art history, archives, newspapers, cinema and online.

The ANU School of Art & Design is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Chris McAuliffe to the Sir William Dobell Chair in the Centre for Art History and Theory (School of Art & Design). The Chair is supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, in memory of the Archibald prizewinning Australian artist. With a track record as an art historian, museum director and curator, Chris will contribute to CAHAT's teaching and research focus on Art History and Curatorship.

By Matthew Westwood, Arts Correspondent.

The spirit of William Dobell was at large last night when a photographic artist won the prestegious Dobell Prize for Drawing - near the site of a celebrated court case in which Dobell was accused of bending the rules in the 1943 Archibald Prize.

The Dobell Drawing Prize was won by Justine Varga, who used a photographic negative as the medium for her abstract drawing called Photogenic Drawing.

The annual ARTEXPRESS exhibition is one of the most dynamic and popular at the Art Gallery NSW.

Featuring a selection of outstanding student artworks developed for the artmaking component of the HSC examination in Visual Arts 2018, ARTEXPRESS 2019 provides insight into students’ creativity and the issues important to them.

In September 1979 Newcastle Region Art Gallery hosted the exhibition SODEISHA: Avant-Garde Japanese Ceramics featuring 32 members of the Sodeisha group of artists including founding members Kazuo Yagi (1918-1979), Osamu Suzuki (1926-2001) and Hikaru Yamada (1924-2001). The exhibition was an initiative of the Australian Gallery Directors Council in association with the Crafts Board of the Australia Council and toured six other capital city galleries until May 1981. At the conclusion of the tour, the Sodeisha group elected to gift 58 of the 62 works of art to Newcastle Art Gallery. Consequently, the Gallery holds one of the largest collections of Sodeisha ceramics by this important group of artists outside of Japan.

Newcastle Art Gallery - SODEISHA: Connected to Australia

In 1981 Newcastle Art Gallery was gifted the largest collection of Japanese Sodeisha ceramics in the southern hemisphere. The Gallery has invited ten contemporary Australian and Japanese ceramic artists to exhibit their work in response to this collection, including orginating member of the Sodeisha movement Satoru Hoshino who will deliver workshops and a major installation for the exhibition. The exhibition aims to re-contextualize this significant collection through the inclusion of living contemporary ceramic practitioners from Australia and Japan who will feature alongside the collection to form a dialogue between this important post war avant-garde movement and contemporary ceramic arts practice today.

Locust Jones’ news-inspired artwork takes plague proportions in AGNSW Dobell drawing show

Blue Mountains artist Locust Jones pictured with one of his artworks at Sydney Olympic Park last year. Picture: supplied


THERE are news junkies, and then there’s Locust Jones.

By Linda Morris, Sydney Morning Herald - 27 February 2018

One of Australia's most prestigious prizes for drawing is to be revived after it was discontinued six years ago.

The National Art School will become the new home of the Dobell Drawing Prize when it is reinstituted from March 2019 during a 10-week ''mini festival'' dedicated to the art form.

Longer term, Australia's oldest art school is keen to develop a national centre for drawing to underline the importance of the fundamental visual skill in traditional art practice as well as conceptual, performance and digital art, video and film.

Once seen to be a dying art, even photo media artists are now putting drawing at the heart of their work.

The National Art School today announced the revival of the Dobell Drawing Prize. The new biennial Prize will be presented at NAS Gallery from March 2019, alongside a new drawing symposium that explores the importance of drawing in all its diversity.

The Prize is a biennial competition by submission and will showcase the expanded field of drawing. The inaugural exhibition at the National Art School of The Dobell Drawing Prize will take place from 28 March to 25 May 2019, with the Prize to be announced at the exhibition launch on Wednesday 27 March 2019.

Steven Alderton, Director of the National Art School said:

“The National Art School is delighted to be working with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation on this very important Prize and exhibition. Drawing is absolutely central to the National Art School’s curriculum, so the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the many facets of contemporary drawing practice is welcomed. We are very much looking forward to working with the Foundation on the Prize and exhibition, and offering artists another forum to explore the dynamic medium of drawing.”

 Karen Smith (Principal of Wyndham College) and Charles Lloyd Jones from the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation with the winners of the award to a school that’s HSC Visual Arts performance.

For more on Art Express 2018 click HERE

Photo media and the male figure which will be presented at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery from 6 October 2017. Curated by Richard Perram OAM, the Gallery’s director, it will be drawn from Australian and international collections.

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery will be celebrating summer with Board, curated by Gallery staff member, Meryl Ryan, and opening in December 2017.

Penrith Regional Gallery
& The Lewers Bequest
3 September – 27 November 2016


By Craig Judd,

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time searching out gullies and large stones in the nearby bush. Probably influenced by a confluence of half understood stories of NASA’s latest success or failure, Astro Boy and Sally Field’s Flying Nun, when the wind was blowing in the right direction I would do a massive running jump off said gully edge and stone rampart so that I could feel, even for a millisecond a sense of flight or weightlessness. Call me an old fashioned modernist but I still get excited at just the thought of catching a plane.

Curated by Lee-Anne Hall, Director of Penrith Regional Gallery, and Katie Dyer from Sydney’s Museum Of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) Gravity (and Wonder) is an impressive exhibition. Roughly divided into four sections Motion and Acceleration, Measurement and Understanding, Space and Time, Mass and Attraction, this broadly encompassing schema was full of wit, wonder, intelligence and romance.

Full Article HERE


Recipient of this year's SWDAF Award for Excellence in Visual Arts Teaching at the Art Express exhibition at AGNSW.


Bossley Park High School, winners of the Dobell Excellence in Visual Arts Teaching Award, Art Express 2016


Visual Arts teachers at Bossley Park High School say they are honoured to receive the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation Award for the schools success in Artexpress.

The foundation is the official patron of Artexpress, an annual exhibition that features the best major works submitted by HSC art students. Last year the school had five students selected –the highest amount in south-west Sydney – and now the teachers are being rewarded for their hard work.

Former head art teacher and now deputy principal Ann-Maree Ager said the high quality of student work could be partly attributed to a gifted and talented program she started with the help of colleague Melanie Duff.

“Six years ago we initiated a gifted and talented program,” she said.

“We’ve been running that program for six years and this class is the first group of years sevens to get through to year 12 so that’s partly why they’re so great.

“We actually had workshops after school with specialist teachers such as Ty who’s great at drawing.

“We did a lot of skill building over the six years so by the time they got to senior class they were masters.”

Relieving head art teacher Melanie Duff said the students were working beyond their stages, and hopes the program will continue to help art students improve their craft.

“One thing that we do differently than other faculties and other schools is that we work collaboratively as a department,” Ms Ager said.

“It’s not just ‘it’s my class so I’ll shut the door and it’s my time with those students’, we have an open door policy so everyone’s always in and out.

“We can play off each other and we basically have a wider breadth of knowledge that we can share with the kids.

The Visual arts faculty will be presented with the award at the Sponsors’ Preview event at the Art Gallery of NSW on Wednesday night.

As Deputy Principal, Ms Ager will now work to roll out collaborative teaching with other departments throughout the school.

“It’s wonderful to get the recognition for the work we’re doing out here for public education,” she said.

“It’s really good to have some acknowledgement that our program is successful.”

From the Bossley Park High School Website

The new MAG-NET Artist-in-Residence Program was a highly successful collaboration between Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney Harbour National Park, Michelle Belgiorno, A.R.T Foundation (Tokyo) and ArtsPeople, and was generously supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.

Selected from 26 applicants, Japanese artist Miku Sato was an enthusiastic and committed artist who made the most of her 4 weeks at Middle Head from 31 March to 29 April 2015, exploring the area and engaging with the local history and environment. In particular her interest in the Japanese submarine attack on Sydney Harbour during World War II, resulted in the first stage development of a new video work.

Her residency period culminated with a collaborative work – a ‘Soup Making’ workshop – whereby 6 artists/curators created soups particular to their cultural heritage. This became a celebration of the residency’s success and confirmation of the positive impact such programs have on our community.

Building on this successful pilot, plans are now underway to launch the MAG-NET program as an ongoing exchange residency between Mosman and its friendship city in Japan, Otsu.


Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest receive the inaugural Dobell Exhibition Grant for the development of Gravity (and Wonder).

Curated by Penrith Regional Gallery in collaboration with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Gravity (and Wonder) will explore the history and philosophy of this fundamental law of the universe through contemporary art and related objects, instruments and papers in the MAAS collection.

The exhibition, scheduled for 3 September – 27 November 2016 will introduce audiences to new ways of thinking about the multi-dimensionality of matter, time and space through a range of loaned and newly commissioned sculptural and kinetic works. Over a dozen contemporary artists will participate in the presentation of new and existing works. Contributing artists include, Richard Serra, Timothy Cook, Amy Joy Watson, Sandra Selig, David Haines and Joyce Hinterding.


Launched today, the Dobell Exhibition Grant (DEG) will allow the development of new, curated exhibitions of visual arts in NSW regional galleries.

With a generous gift from the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, Museums & Galleries of NSW (M&G NSW) will offer $40,000 in funding to one NSW regional gallery per annum. The program is expected to run for up to 6 years. Funding will be targeted towards the development and delivery of curated exhibitions that significantly support artists, extend public appreciation and engagement with the visual arts and expand curatorial skills and creativity.

In addition to the support provided by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, M&G NSW will offer successful applicants the opportunity to develop a national tour of their funded exhibition.

The gift is the result of the Foundation’s vision and began with a consultative process with arts organisations and institutions in 2014. Their goal was to invest in the right program that furthered their aims to develop audiences and appreciation for the visual arts in NSW. By then, M&G NSW had identified a growing need for exhibition development in the regions.