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Australia’s National Art School to Remain Independent Institution

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Following talks between the National Art School, Western Sydney University, and the government of New South Wales, the school, Australia’s oldest art education institution, will remain independent. An academic partnership between Western Sydney University and the National Art School had been floated as a way of bolstering the school’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs and a rehabilitation of the school’s Darlinghurts Gaol campus after years of uncertainty about the school’s future. In 2017, the National Art School had been suggested as a partner institution for the beleaguered Sydney College of the Arts and the University of New South Wales.

New South Wales arts minister Don Harwin commissioned Ernest & Young to produce a study outlining long-term funding strategies to ensure the National Art School’s independence, Linda Morris reports for the Sydney Morning Herald. Ernst & Young’s recommendations included the “development and implementation of commercial, academic, and philanthropic strategies” to “achieve the school’s ambitions and secure its long-term future.” Full-time enrollment and tuition revenue at NAS have doubled since 2013. National Art School has operated in various forms since 1843 and counts many prominent Australian artists as alumni, including Margaret Olley, Max Dupain, and Tim Storrier. The government of New South Wales provides $5.5 million AUD to the school annually.

“As arts minister, I am prioritizing a sustainable future for NAS that maintains its rich heritage and identity for decades to come. We not only want NAS to be Australia’s best art school but one of the best arts school in the Asia-Pacific,” Harwin said. “The caliber of the alumni at NAS shows what this school is capable of achieving—we want to secure its future growth and build on its pedigree.”

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March 12, 2018