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Painter to inspire next generation of North East artists

A Northumberland born painter and philanthropist has established a traveling scholarship to inspire the next generation of young North East artists, supported by a matchfunding scheme run by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Edwin Easydorchik was born in Stannington and spent his childhood in Newbiggin-by-the-sea. He emigrated to Sydney, Australia, 29 years ago but has never forgotten his North East roots or the philanthropy that helped him get started as a young artist. In 1971 he was awarded the Sir James Knott Travelling Scholarship from the Royal College of Art, allowing him to tour Italy for six months.

Edwin said: “My traveling scholarship has such a profound effect on me and it proved to be a pivotal moment in my career. I was 22, had never been abroad and my grand tour of Italy has had a massive effect on my life and on my art. It opened my eyes, I met some tremendous people, learned Italian and enjoyed the most magical experiences and opportunities that have influenced my whole life.

“I wanted to do something similarly special for young artists back home in the North East and decided to set up the Edwin John Easydorchick Travelling Scholarship at the Community Foundation to give them the same experience and opportunities that I’d had.

“The Community Foundation told me about their Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match where my donation would attract additional funds which has enable me to grow the fund more quickly.”

Using Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match – which still has funds available until the end of April 2018 – Edwin saw his total investment of £80,000 to date grow to over £120,000.

The scholarship fund will make one award per year and has just made its first grant to 24-year-old Gateshead artist Jon Cornbill, who will travel to the rustbelt of America.

Edwin added: “I plan to leave my house to the scholarship fund so I’m hoping that in the future we can increase the number of scholarships to help two young artists every year.”

The renowned painter has showcased his art in over 18 solo exhibitions and 84 group exhibitions around the globe – and his work is displayed in collections of the British Council, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the University of Western Sydney as well as numerous international private collections.