Executive appointments complete Australia Council leadership team

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by anonymous on Thursday 19 September 2013.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski today announced the appointment of two new executive directors to complete the organisation’s senior leadership team.

Following an extensive executive recruitment process, Mr Grybowski said Lissa Twomey had been appointed Executive Director, Arts Organisations and Wendy Were appointed Executive Director, Arts Development.

The re-establishment of the leadership team comes after the appointment of previous executive directors Libby Christie and Rose Hiscock to other senior positions outside the organisation.

“Both Lissa and Wendy are outstanding arts administrators, leaders and advocates across various fields and their combined talents, knowledge and experience will be an enormous asset to the Australia Council in this exciting period of change,” Mr Grybowski.

“They each have extensive multi-arts expertise drawn from the successful delivery of major events and festivals, and they possess a great working knowledge of international and Australian arts culture, including our unique rural and regional arts.

“Lissa and Wendy join a highly professional and energetic leadership team at the most dynamic period of transformation in the Australia Council’s 40 year history. We congratulate them on their appointments and look forward to their arrival.”

Originally from country NSW, Lissa Twomey studied piano performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and internationally, as well as performing extensively as a musician and dancer.

In two decades in arts administration, Lissa has developed an enviable reputation as an Artistic Director specialising in multi-arts festivals. She directed New Zealand’s premier cultural event – the New Zealand International Arts Festival – between 2006 and 2012 and the inaugural Wellington Jazz Festival in 2009. She was also integral in delivering the Sydney Festival from 1998 to 2005.

Lissa will join the Australia Council immediately and lead the Arts Organisations team that actively manages Council’s relationship with more than 200 regularly funded organisations across the spectrum of our arts sector.

Perth-based Wendy Were has an exceptional record in championing the development of sustainable career paths for Australia’s artistic workers and in developing creative and cultural industry policy.

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the West Australian Music Industry Association, the peak music body responsible for supporting, nurturing and growing all forms of contemporary music in WA, and was previously a business advisor and mentor to artistic companies at the Creative Industries Innovation Centre.

Wendy is a leading festival director and arts manager, and from 2006 to 2010 she was the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Sydney Writers Festival, overseeing an increase in participation and revenue.

Wendy will commence her new role of leading the development of markets and audiences for Australian artists from late January 2014. Mr Grybowski praised Collette Brennan for her contribution as Acting Executive Director, Arts Development and confirmed she would remain in that role until the end of January.

Mr Grybowksi said the executive appointments completed an extensive period of rebuilding across the Australia Council that included the appointment of a new skills-based Board on 1 July, and the ongoing evolution of peer assessment and strategy panels to ensure Council was more responsive to the needs of artists and organisations.