Wendy Whiteley has made a $500,000 bequest to her alma mater, the National Art School (NAS).

“I’m trying to tidy up loose ends towards the end of my life because I don’t want to live another mess. There has been enough messes around Whiteley wills.”

Whiteley’s latest promise is her most personal, coming a month after Whiteley disclosed her intention to leave the proceeds from her Lavender bay home, and her collection of Brett Whiteley paintings- numbering almost 2000 artworks – to the Art Gallery Of NSW and the Brett Whiteley Foundation .

The Wendy and Arkie Whiteley Endowment Fund, honouring her late daughter, will be used to support female students and alumni of NAS, including help with exhibitions, residencies and  acquisitions of their work for the NAS Collection.

Whiteley says she wants to encourage female creatives like herself who came to art school without financial wherewithal: “I had to work at the same time as I went to art school. I worked at a coffee shop at night to earn the money because I didn’t have parents who could pay for me.

“My mother was worried about me being a starving artist in the attic, that sort of thing, and not finishing high school properly. It was regarded as a tricky occupation being an artist, especially for a woman.”

Being an artist will always be a tricky vocation but with the generosity of benefactors like Wendy Whiteley young artists will have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.


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