The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

Wired In: April 2015

Find out who's coming and going in the arts for April 2015.

In the News

Following the Meeting of Cultural Ministers late last year, the Australian Government has announced a renewed commitment to the national Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) in partnership with the states and territories. The Australian Government's commitment of $27.3 million from 2015-16 to 2018-19 will be matched by the states and territories, making a total $54.6 million investment in the sector over the next four years. Since 2003, the VACS has played a fundamental role in supporting practitioners and organisations to achieve a strong and dynamic visual arts and craft sector in Australia. While it is intended to supplement the base funding for the sector, support from many states and territories has been diminishing and NAVA is currently investigating the extent of this drop in support.

Art Money is a new interest free loans scheme introduced in NSW through participating commercial galleries. It provides interest free loans to assist people to buy the work of living artists worth between $750 to $20,000. After paying a 10% deposit, purchasers can take home their chosen artwork and pay the remaining balance in equal installments over 9 months, interest free. Based on successful loan programs in the UK, the Netherlands and Tasmania, Art Money helps people to support local artists. Backed by private investors, the scheme is intended to be expanded around the country.

In Departments

The appointment has been confirmed of Dr Alex Reid in the position of Deputy Chief Executive at Department of State Development - South Australia.

Alex was previously the Group Executive Director, Arts and Cultural Affairs in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, SA. Prior to this, she was the Director, Strategy, Policy and Initiatives at Arts SA.


NAVA congratulates artist and film maker George Gittoes who has been awarded the prestigious 2015 Sydney Peace Prize in recognition of his 45 years chronicling every major conflict around the world during that period in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe. His documentary film 'Soundtrack to War' gave an authentic account by American soldiers of their experience during the war in Iraq in 2003-4 and demonstrated the role of music in the contemporary battlefield. Several scenes were used by film director Michael Moore in 'Fahrenheit 9/11'. Gittoes has recently established an artist collective in the city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Bringing the individual art form awards together for the first time, the 2015 Australia Council Awards ceremony held at Carriageworks in March paid tribute to the remarkable contributions made by 10 Australians to our arts and cultural landscape.

NAVA warmly congratulates all the winners including:

- Judy Watson who is an internationally recognised Indigenous contemporary visual artist with work shown at exhibitions and held in collections in Australia and around the world;

- Will Stubbs who is coordinator at the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirrkala, NT, and a passionate advocate of Indigenous arts and Australia's unique arts centres;

- Stelarc who is a winner of many prestigious prizes and an internationally recognised performance artist using medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems, the internet and biotechnology. Stelarc is currently Distinguished Research Fellow and Director of the Alternate Anatomies Lab, School of Design & Art, Curtin University, Perth.

In Galleries

Alan Boxer a former guide at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has bequeathed to the gallery a gift of 20th Century Australian paintings valued at $8 million. Boxer, who died last year was a retired bureaucrat who had worked in the Treasury in Canberra from 1975. The Alan Boxer Bequest is for 19 paintings by some of Australia's leading artists including Roy de Maistre, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, John Olsen, Charles Blackman, John Perceval Donald Friend, Stanislaus Rapotec, and Brett Whiteley.

Previously CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, Janet Carding has taken over as the new Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). Originally from the UK, she began her museum career 20 years ago as a curator at London's Science Museum and was later Assistant Director, Public Programs and Operations at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Carding will replace Acting Director, Jennifer Storer, who has been in the role since Bill Bleathman announced his retirement as Director of TMAG in December 2013.

Lisa Slade has been elevated from the position of Project Curator at the Art Gallery of South Australia to the new role of Assistant Director, Artistic Programs with responsibility to oversee staff and activities in both curatorial and public programs. Lisa brings to the job strong experience in both these areas as well as in education.

Danny Lacy is leaving after nearly three years as Director of West Space in Melbourne, to undertaking an Asialink residency in Singapore and work independently on his own curatorial projects. Over the previous 10 years he has worked at Shepparton Art Museum, Monash University Museum of Art, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Gertrude Contemporary.

The National Portrait Gallery Board announced the appointment of Sidney Myer AM as the inaugural President of the newly established National Portrait Gallery Foundation.

Queensland ArtGallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) has appointed Tarragh Cunningham to the role of Assistant Director, Development and Commercial Services. She has previously held the position of the Gallery's Exhibitions Manager since 2008.

In Organisations

At the end of March, Louise Walsh stepped down from being the highly effective CEO of Philanthropy Australia. Chris Wootton, Victoria and Tasmania Manager, takes up the position of Acting CEO during the search for a replacement.

Performance Space in Sydney has appointed Terese Casu as its new Executive Director taking over from Steph Walker who is leaving after two and a half years. Teresa was previously Director, Arts Organisations at the Australia Council for the Arts. She will work in partnership with Artistic Director Jeff Khan. Performance Space also appoints lawyer and arts lover Jonathan Casson as its new Board Chair who takes over the role from Clare Petre.

Professor Ted Snell has been elected Chair for two years of University Art Museums Australia. Ted is currently Director Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia and chair of the Australian Experimental Arts Foundation in Adelaide.

Ahead of the opening of its new premises in William Street Sydney, Object has welcomed three new board members: biomedical engineer and health technologies entrepreneur Dr Jordan Nguyen; Rowena Westphalen, an expert and advocate for design thinking; and Sacha Coles, Director of ASPECT Studios, a landscape architecture and urban design practice.

PACT Centre for Emerging Artists in Sydney has welcomed its new General Manager, perform artist Danielle Taylor replacing Viv Rosman who was acting in the role. Danielle has previously developed and managed projects and events for government, not-for-profit and corporate clients both in Australia and the UK.

The new Marketing and Publicity Coordinator at NAVA is Yu Ye Wu who leaves her two part time positions as Marketing & Communications Coordinator at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and at PACT where she worked in arts administration, marketing and communications. Yu Ye has a First Class Honours degree in Art History and Theory and English Literature from the University of Sydney and has worked on publicity, branding and digital strategy.

In Publications

Helen Davies, Manager at Artlink magazine in SA has resigned.


NAVA extends its condolences to the family and friends of the following arts luminaries:

Betty Churcher AO, a most gifted communicator. She was a teacher, writer and art critic for The Australian newspaper and presenter of several television series on art. Churcher was the only female director of the National Gallery of Australia for seven years in the 90s, the first woman to lead a tertiary institution as Dean of the School of Art and Design at the Phillip Institute of Technology (now RMIT), Victoria in the 80s and also the first woman to direct a state gallery, the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Churcher studied art in London but stopped making her own artwork when she married artist Roy Churcher, though came back to drawing in her later years. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1996 and awarded a Visual Arts Emeritus Medal by the Australia Council, where she was an earlier chair of the Visual Arts Board.

A dedicated supporter of and advocate for Australian craft, Moira Kerr was appointed as the first senior program officer of the Crafts Board, when it was established as one of the seven artform boards which formed the Australia Council in 1975. Prior to this, the formation of the Crafts Council of Australia (CCA) in 1970 on the basis of a grant from the then Prime Minister, John Gorton, was attributable to the work of a zealous Steering Committee of which Moira Kerr was a very active member. This group who came together from the mid 60s worked to form state crafts organisations through which a national contemporary crafts organisation could work.