Director appointed for Hamilton Art Gallery

First change of leadership in 27 years

Art Announcement from Australia. Published by anonymous on Wednesday 30 September 2015.

Ms Sarah Schmidt image

Southern Grampians Shire Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Schmidt as Director, Hamilton Art Gallery. Sarah, from Queenscliff Victoria, will be the first female Gallery Director in the Gallery’s 54 year history. Her commencement will also mark the first change of leadership at the Gallery in more than 27 years.

Sarah has worked for over a decade in public gallery management, including as Director of a Commonwealth collection of art held by Australia Post, Director of Ararat Art Gallery and Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat. She has also worked as a Unit Lecturer in arts management at the University of Melbourne.

The Hamilton Gallery’s outstanding $22 million art collection and her love of living in regional areas were what attracted Sarah to apply for the position as Director. Sarah said “I am looking forward to taking up the appointment and working with the local community, especially the Gallery community – the Friends, the Trustees, the Staff, and the general public, building on the Gallery’s wonderful achievements over the past fifty-four years”.

Sarah is an artist, curator and art history researcher who will be finalising field research in Central Australia in the area of Aboriginal art in the weeks prior to her commencement in Hamilton. She has a strong background in bringing engaging exhibitions and special programs of interesting people and events to her gallery communities. At Ararat, she organised a number of splendid exhibitions including Celia Rosser’s Banksia series, Australia’s only regional showing of the Mirka Mora retrospective, and an exhibition of Patricia Piccinini highlighting Olympic cyclist Shane Kelly from Ararat.

Sarah plans to bring a regular program of interesting people and art forms to the Hamilton public and says she will “focus her energies on a Gallery redevelopment befitting the stunning decorative arts collection” for which the Gallery is renowned. “The Gallery collection has significant promise for attracting tourists if the articles are presented in an exciting manner”.

A mother of three soccer loving sons, Sarah looks forward to a broad involvement in the Greater Hamilton community. Her grandmother was born in Hamilton and her great grandfather farmed in the area where Monivae College now stands.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Acting CEO, Michael McCarthy, said he was excited that Council was able to attract a high calibre field to choose from for the Director’s position and looks forward to working with Sarah to develop and leverage from the Gallery’s deserved reputation. “Sarah has an obvious love for all things art, has exciting ideas about building the profile of the Gallery and a commitment to accessibility and quality exhibitions. Sarah’s passion, professionalism and experience will bring a new energy and direction to the Gallery’s operations. I very much look forward to working with Sarah as Council moves forward to implement its strategies around art and culture.”

Sarah will commence the key leadership role in Hamilton on 27 October after completing her research in Alice Springs.