The Urbach

The Theodore Urbach Landscape Prize and Studio Scholarship (“The Urbach”) is a new prize and scholarship offered at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). The Urbach is designed to encourage continued exploration of Australian landscape painting by contemporary artists. 

The Theodore Urbach Landscape Prize & Studio Scholarship consists of:  

  • $5,000 cash prize 
  • $5,000 scholarship stipend 
  • 3-month access to the SAM Artist Studio  
  • Tailored professional development opportunities throughout the 3-month program.

The Urbach is proudly supported by the Theodore Urbach Landscape Painting Scholarship and Prize Charitable Trust managed by Equity Trustees. 

For the 2024 launch of this program, The Urbach is open to artists living in the Goulburn Valley or Hume regions only. The program provides the recipient with a dedicated studio space at SAM to undertake creative exploration and professional development. The program is non-residential.  

Meet the 2024 Urbach artist: Ellen Lee

The recipient of the 2024 Theodore Urbach Landscape Prize & Studio Scholarship is Echuca-based visual artist Ellen Lee. Learn more about Ellen and her plans for the scholarship here.

To be eligible for the prize and scholarship, you must fit the following criteria: 

  • Applicants must be working with the subject of Australian landscape painting in oils, watercolours, tempera, or any other conventional medium. The term ‘painting’ is to be understood broadly. Work can incorporate drawing, photography, collage, printmaking, textile, or even sculptural elements but must explore the practice of painting. Installation or new media work is ineligible for this opportunity.  
  • Applicants must have studied visual arts at one of the universities in Victoria, the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), or any similar establishment in Victoria including any painting school, as well as art classes conducted by the NGV. Students currently undertaking study at an institution outlined above may apply. 
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older at the time of entering.  
  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.  
  •  Applicants cannot be full-time employees of Shepparton Art Museum, SAM Ltd Board, and SAM Foundation Boards and their advisory committees. 
  • Applicants must be available during the program period (May – July 2024) 
  • Applicants must be a resident of the Goulburn Valley or Hume Regions. 

Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements will not be considered. 

All applications to The Urbach must be submitted online via Formsite. 

Once the application period has closed, all applications will be reviewed by the SAM Exhibitions and Collections team to ensure eligibility. A shortlist of eligible applications will then be assembled for the judging panel.   

Shortlisted applicants will be notified and provided with feedback from their initial applications to aid them in strengthening their application and will have the opportunity to attend a workshop with the SAM Curator – Community to develop their presentation for the judging panel.  

Shortlisted applicants will present their work and program intentions to a judging panel the week beginning Monday 8 April 2024. The presentations and applications will be assessed by a judging panel, chaired by SAM CEO Melinda Martin.  

The judging panel will select one winner and two runners-up. SAM will contact the winning applicant to offer them the opportunity. Acceptance of the offer to participate must be made in writing within 3 days. After this time, SAM will approach the first runner up.  

Applications open: Monday 22 January 2024 

Info session: Thursday 15 February 2024 

Applications close: Thursday 29 February 2024 

Shortlisted applicants notified: Friday 8 March 2024 

Shortlisted applicant info session: Thursday 21 March 2024 

Judging panel review of shortlisted applicants: week of 8 April 2024 

Recipient notified: 19 April 2024 

Prize and scholarship program period: 1 May to 31 July 2024 

The Theodore Urbach Landscape Prize and Studio Scholarship (“The Urbach”), is a 3-month studio creative residency opportunity for an artist to immerse themselves and pursue self-directed study of their practice and the landscape of the Goulburn Valley and Hume regions. The program will run from 1 May – 31 July 2024, during which time the awarded artist will have exclusive access to the on-site SAM Artist Studio – a workspace attached to the art museum that offers a unique opportunity to engage with SAM and access its collection.

Eligible artists can apply for The Urbach through an open application process. The prize and scholarship will be awarded to one individual artist. Two runners-up will each receive a $2,500 cash award in recognition of their time and commitment in the development of their application. 

The awarded artist will use the SAM Artist Studio solely as an art studio/workspace. The studio space is not a residential accommodation. The space has its own private bathroom and kitchenette and will be accessible to the awarded artist from 8am – 6pm daily, 7 days a week for the three-month period.  

The purpose-built studio is located on the ground level of the SAM Building and is fully wheelchair accessible. Special arrangements for accessibility, including for audio/visual impairments, can be made with advance notice. 

There is no set deliverable outcome for this opportunity. Rather, the program emphasises professional development and engagement. Winners will be expected to engage in artist talks at the commencement and completion of their 3-month period of using the space and 2-3 professional development activities will be tailored to their needs to further their practice. 

To launch the program in 2024, the prize and scholarship is open to artists living in the Goulburn Valley or Hume regions only. The program provides the recipient with a dedicated studio space at SAM to undertake creative exploration and professional development. The program is non-residential.  

The Urbach program is generously supported by the Theodore Urbach Landscape Painting Scholarship and Prize Charitable Trust. The trust, established through the will of philanthropist and arts patron Theodore Urbach, was designed to provide prizes and scholarship opportunities to benefit artists and students working in the field of Australian landscape painting. 

What is the budget for? What can you spend the stipend on?  

The budget only needs to detail how the applicant will spend the $5,000 scholarship stipend. This money can be spent on anything to support their research and practice during the 3-month period of the program such as art materials, living expenses, and services like having your work professionally photographed, or an asset if it directly relates to the work to be undertaken or to the professional development 

How often is the winning applicant expected to access the studio space?  

The winner is expected to utilise the space regularly, such as 3-4 times a week.  

Can the program dates be changed? 

No, the dates cannot be changed. There may be some flexibility for when the awarded artist begins accessing the space and when they need to remove their materials from the space; however, the 2024 program dates remain as 1 May – 31 July 2024.  

What type of professional development activities will be available?  

Professional development activities are built into the application process as shortlisted candidates will receive support from the SAM Curator – Community to develop their presentation and present it to a judging panel of art industry members including artists and regional gallery curators. Winners will receive a set of headshots and photos of them at work in the studio taken by a professional photographer for use on developing their profile and will receive three tailored opportunities such as meeting with a curator or established artist and studio visits. We are also open to other forms of professional development if you have something specific in mind. 

Can I apply as part of a collaborative artist group?  

No, this opportunity is open to artists working as individuals only.  

I am currently studying, am I eligible?  


I have not completed a Bachelors, diploma, or certificate in fine arts – am I still eligible?  

Yes. You are eligible if you are currently studying and or have taken a class in the visual arts at a Victorian institution, you are eligible to apply.  

I have a BFA, but it is from a non-Victorian institution – am I still eligible?  

No. Unless you have also undertaken a class or program of study in the visual arts in Victoria in addition to that qualification, you are ineligible for this program. 

What materials and activities can be undertaken in the SAM Artist Studio space?  

Most conventional painting and drawing materials are permitted; however, some limitations will apply due to the studio being part of the museum. Please review The Urbach Guidelines (2024) for a list of approved materials for use onsite. If you have any questions, please contact the Curator – Community at 

I don’t have a driver’s license, am I still eligible? 

Ideally applicants should have access to a vehicle. If you do not have a driver’s license but are able to provide evidence that you will be able to come and go from the space, your application will still be considered. Please note that employees of SAM will not be able to pick up or drop off the awarded artist or assist in the transportation of materials. 

I recently exhibited at SAM, am I still able to apply? 

Yes. Having exhibited before at SAM or planning to apply to exhibit at SAM will not impact your eligibility for the program or to exhibit at SAM in the future.   

Do I need an auspice or ABN to apply?