Scholarship Programme


In 2013 the Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust established a new Scholarship programme within Mercury Bay, which they believe will give the necessary support and encouragement to young emerging artists, allowing them to progress to the next level of professional artistic development. 


Working closely with Mercury Bay Area School, the programme will assist the recipients with their personal creative development; build their confidence and give them a new insight into skills developed and practised by professional artists who are involved with the Art Escape. The Scholarship was awarded to the top year-12 students who were keen to pursue a creative career, or show serious promise within the Arts and would benefit from external guidance. 


The programme lasted for 6 months (during the recipients’ year 13 at school), starting from February and included, among many other aspects: 


  • Private tuition and mentorship from some of Art Escape’s top members 

  • The opportunity to attend workshops and art courses aimed at developing specific skills 

  • A written package containing comprehensive advice on promoting and marketing artwork 

  • The opportunity to assist with curating and setting up Art Escape exhibitions  


Previous Scholarship programme recipients, Cosette O’Connell, Caitlin Stoyel-Wiggens and Emily Boswell, all from Mercury Bay Area School, have all gained valuable skills, knowledge and experience from the programme


Emily Boswell being awarded the Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust Scholarship for 2015 by Chairman Stuart Christie

Scholarship Winners

2019 Winner

Year 12 Student Hannah Coleman-Smith was announced as the recipient of the annual Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust Scholarship at the Mercury Bay Area School prize-giving ceremony in November 2018.


2018 Winner

Year 12 Student Charlotte Murphy was announced as the recipient of the annual Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust Scholarship at the Mercury Bay Area School prize-giving ceremony on 7th November 2017.

Charlotte has been interested in art since she was young and it is something she has always enjoyed doing in her spare time. Usually, she likes drawing or taking photos.

She does not have a particular style of art but likes experimenting with different styles and techniques at home and finding different artists in photography, design and painting as inspiration.


The thing she likes about photography and design, in particular, is that to her it is something that can be practical and applied to many different things, while still being creative and allowing her to express herself.

She hopes to continue with art even more in her spare time to grow her skills and further into the future in possible career choices.


2017 Winner

Year 12 student Ra Kuchlein was announced as the recipient of the annual Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust Scholarship at the Mercury Bay Area School prize giving ceremony on 3 November 2016.


Ra enjoys being surrounded by the creative arts and was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age. “There are so many techniques and ideas that can be discovered and learnt within art, so I am hugely excited to keep learning and improving my knowledge and practice of artistry, at the same time seeing how others explore and express their creativity” said Ra.


As part of the scholarship programme Ra selected several Mercury Bay Art Escape artists members to meet and learn from.


Ra reflects on this experiences saying, "it was an absolute privilege to be privy to the inner workings of some of the local artists, and to learn from their experiences and the tips and tricks they have learnt from their own artistic journey."




Charlotte Murphy the 2018 Scholarship winner.

Ra Kuchlein and Trustee Anne Innes at prizegiving.

L-R Janet Hoogwerf, MBAS Curriculum Leader Visual Arts, 2016 Scholarship winners Renee Royal and Joseph Morcom, MBAE Trustee Jane Parson.
(Image courtesy of The Informer.)

2016 Winners

Two Year 12 students Joseph Morcom and Renee Royal were announced as the recipients of the annual Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust Scholarship at the Mercury Bay Area School prize giving ceremony on 5 November 2015.


Both are studying Level 2 Painting. Joseph chose a theme of landscapes, reflecting the seasons and time of day and recently won the Teen category of the Thames-Coromandel District Libraries Design your Library Card Competition. Renee chose a landscape theme, depicting the construction and deconstruction of buildings.  “Both winners have a strong understanding of colour, tone and composition and will benefit greatly from receiving the scholarship” said Janet Hoogwerf, Curriculum Leader of Visual Arts at Mercury Bay Area School.

2015 Winner

Mercury Bay Area School Year 12 painting student, Emily Boswell, was awarded the Mercury Bay Art Escape Scholarship for 2015 at the schools annual prize giving ceremony on 6 November 2014.


Emily has enjoyed art, particularly drawing since she was a child. She has always taken art at school, her favourite subject, with her main media being pencil, water colours and acrylic. She describes her style as realism, abstract and cartoons. She is interested in exploring sculpture and combining traditional art with digital form.

Janet Hoogwerf, Head of Department Art MBAS says of Emily "Emily is extremely talented but especially at painting". 

2014 Winners

The winners of the 2014 Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust scholarships were Caitlin Stoyel-Wiggens and Cosette O'Connell. 


They took part in a painting workshop by MBAE member Wendy Walls on March 6th in Whitianga. The workshop, entitled 'Give it a Go' is part of a programme that Wendy regularly runs in Whitianga, Pukekohe and other locations in the North Island, and draws participants from a wide geographical area. Intended as a "loosening up" workshop, where 'anything goes', Wendy's popular class encourages experimentation with a wide variety of acrylic paints and mixed media/collage materials.


Established, successful artist and long-term MBAE member Paula McNeill opened up her studio to offer a day of private tuition for our 2014 MBAE Scholarship winners. Cosette and Caitlin spent a full day at Paula's Pumpkin Hill studio near Tairua, and were taught colour theory and the importance of being able to balance shapes and colours within an artwork.   


On Friday May 9th 2014 the inaugural Mercury Bay Art Escape scholarship programme came to a close, with the completion of its practical aspect, as the two scholarship winners finished taking part in a total of four mentoring sessions and workshops with Art Escape members. The final workshops were with Rachel Olsen, who showed Caitlin and Cosette her painting techniques and the girls also attended two drawing workshops run by Art Escape Administrator Charlotte Giblin, held in Whitianga. 


The inagural Scholarship programme recipients Cosette O’Connell and Caitlin Stoyel-Wiggens gained valuable skills, knowledge and experience from the programme in 2014.