Responses to Tamara's resignation

Following on from Tamara Winikoff's announcement of her resignation as Executive Director of NAVA, we share some of the messages from the sector celebrating her achievements and contributions to the visual arts sector.

Yes I thought I heard the NAVA walls come crashing down this morning. Well, it's a big change for you and for NAVA. You have been an absolute gem. We will surely stay in touch.
- David Throsby AO
Distinguished Professor of Economics at Macquarie University, Sydney, and Founding Chair of NAVA

Oh dear, Tamara, I’m a bit overcome with sadness. You have been the champion of champions for the arts for so long it’s like losing a mountain from a treasured view. The only upside could be that I might actually see more of you!

- Barry Keldoulis
CEO Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, and previous NAVA Chair

I didn't want the day to pass without getting in touch to acknowledge your email and to congratulate you on your many achievements at NAVA and Arts Peak. You are a passionate advocate for the sector that you have represented and I want to thank you for the many occasions when you have supported me personally, and also when you have supported the Australia Council, especially over the last two years. I would like that we all reflect on your achievements of the last decades especially the greater recognition of artists and the continuing VACS funding models.

- Rupert Myer

Chair Australia Council

Big news! Congratulations on 22 years and best of luck for what’s next.

- Denise Ryan

Arts Adviser to Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts.

When I opened my Facebook feed, the news of your retirement was the last thing I expected to see! Many, many thanks for your untiring work to support and grow opportunities for artists and audiences. Feisty, smart and indefatigable. A formidable advocate. As a government official I was always glad to have a straight talker to engage with, and someone who put artists and equity at the centre of all. You should be very proud of your achievements. I know that you made a huge contribution to the lives of many artists.

- Mary Darwell

Former Director Arts NSW

Having read of your retirement from NAVA, I want to congratulate and thank you for all the years of hard work you've put in, not just for the visual arts, but for the whole sector. I hope the next phase of your career is equally stimulating for you, but perhaps less taxing!

- Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares AO

Former Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia

Former Chair Australia Council

Crossing many fingers that NAVA will find a successor who is at least something of an echo of you. Very hard act to follow. In fact, hard to think of anyone in the field who has done as much as you have, not least because you pioneered how to do it, and did it so well for so long.

- Terry Smith

Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory
Henry Clay Frick Department of the History of Art and Architecture
Kenneth P Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh, USA

I received the news yesterday that you are leaving NAVA. I’m so sorry to hear that, as Australian artists have really had the benefit of your leadership over the years. I wish you all the best, and I hope we may be able to stay in touch.

- April Britski

National Executive Director, CARFAC, Canada

It has been a terrific pleasure to work with you and I thank you too for your wisdom and sage counsel over the years. You have made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts professional field with NAVA. I am most grateful that we were together for the journey with the Australian Arts curriculum. I’ll always remember your insight and diplomacy as we rebranded NAAE and carefully navigated with the Australia Council, the National Curriculum Board and then with ACARA and Art Education Australia. What memories from our planning and plotting! NAAE is most privileged to have had you alongside, leading and collaborating with your passion, tenacity and good humour.

- Jeff Meiners

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences University of South Australia

What big news!! It sure is the end of an era. You have done such extraordinary wonderful things for artists and for NAVA. An incredible contribution to the arts in Australia over many years. There will be an enormous Tamara shaped hole to be filled. Very sad at your leaving but happy for you too. I'm sure - like me – you'll be looking forward to a little more ease in your life. And time and space to work on other projects.
- Kathy Freedman

Director of the Freedman Foundation, and Director Stills Gallery

Tamara has been an inspirational leader in the visual arts community - her advocacy, enthusiasm and forthright opinions have been a guiding force! I whole-heartedly wish Tamara all the best in her future endeavours.
- Kath Fries
Artist and Viscopy Director

I just got the email this morning that you are standing down from NAVA! My goodness. I just wanted to send a quick email to wish you the very best of luck for the future. But most importantly, to thank you for just being such a fabulous champion of the arts - I can't even imagine what the cultural landscape in Australia would look like without your advocacy. Please stay in touch, and do look me up if you are ever in London.

- Kate McMillan


Thank you Tamara for all you have done ! NAVA has supported me many times over the years and it has been great to have an organisation that values and supports artists like NAVA does. As an artist who has been with you since the beginning I am so happy and proud to see your organisation endure progress and flourish!! Thanks to you Tamara!! You have kept the light on for us who sometimes feel like we are working away in the dark!! All the best for all your future endeavours!!

- Sue Anderson


I have been profoundly impacted by Tamara’s good deeds, generosity and intelligent leadership. I had come to rely on Tamara being at the helm - like many people I trusted her to always deliver the best outcomes, no matter what the challenge. I have recently rejoined the organisation, kick starting another phase of creativity, and I was so grateful to have NAVA there to support my endeavours and to have my back. I hope the party is a great one!!

- Barbara Wheeler


I’ve just read that you are retiring from NAVA and wanted to congratulate you on the marvellous job you have done in promoting issues and giving audiences a focal point. Heaven knows, there have been so many issues in the last short time and not the least being to fight for the very existence of NAVA. I know how wearing that is.

- Jane Burns

Previous Director of Craft Australia

Tamara's contribution to the Australian arts sector over the past two decades has been phenomenal, and I would like to wish her all the very best for her future.

- Joe Bugden

A/CEO Salamanca Arts Centre, Tasmania

Just read your news. So sad to see you step down but many congratulations on your achievements. I know you will continue to be an advocate in other ways. When is the party?

-Lisa Cahill

Director, Australian Design Centre, and Co-chair of Australian Craft and Design Centres

Congratulations - you are about to embark on the next phase of your life.

Thank you very much for all your hard work for the arts sector over many many years. You must be very proud of all that you and your team have achieved.

I hope the next phase of your life is deeply enriching, happy and relaxing.

- Antonia Syme

Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop

The phrase ‘end of an era’ can be seen as hackneyed but in your case it is truly the end of a very large chapter in your life. I’m looking forward to the next iteration of Winikoffia. The arts, and the visual arts especially, have benefited from your determined, eloquent and tireless advocacy. You have given so selflessly to the cause and vision of creating a better world through a vibrant arts and culture community.

- Henry Boston

Executive Director Chamber of Arts and Culture WA

Can I be one of the first to thank you for absolutely everything you’ve done to support the sector, and your colleagues in the service sector. I’m sure you’ll just refocus, as I have done, but I hope we can find a way to stay together in some of our campaigns. With much love and admiration!

- Julie Dyson

Chair National Advocates for Arts Education, Former Director Ausdance National, and Former Co-convenor ArtsPeak with Tamara

You’ll be a great loss to NAVA and a great loss to the industry, not to mention [AdA]. It’s been my absolute pleasure working alongside you over the last few years, and I’d very much welcome the opportunity to keep in touch – I’ll even shout coffee.

- Brent Jackson

Executive General Manager - Public Affairs and Marketing, Engineers Australia, and Chair of Australian Design Alliance

Can I add my congratulations to the avalanche of colleagues who must thank you for such a lively, lovely and articulate advocacy career over the last couple of decades. Let's hope that new consultancy role is in the Senate!

- John Stafford

Director Creative Move

Former Director, Visual Arts, Craft & Design, Arts Queensland

I just read of your resignation. This is a great loss for the Visual Arts sector, but I wish you all the very best and congratulations on such a fantastic job you have done all these years.

- Paul Greenaway OAM

Director, Gag Projects

Image: Tamara Winikoff in 2017 One Year Studio Artist Tom Polo's Artspace studio. Photograph by Maja Baska