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Steven Lowy to retire as President of Art Gallery of NSW

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM to succeed Steven Lowy as President

Friday 13 September 2013

Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris, today announced that Steven Lowy AM will retire from his position as the President of the Art Gallery of NSW at the end of this year.

Mr Lowy’s retirement comes after eight years as a Trustee of the Gallery and seven as President. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM, a Trustee since 2007, will succeed him as President.

Mr Souris said Mr Lowy’s decision to stand down was made to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership as the Gallery implements the next phase of its Sydney Modern Masterplan.

Mr Souris praised Mr Lowy’s tenure at the Gallery which has seen major achievements in lifting its profile as a leading cultural institution and for major events.

“The Art Gallery of NSW plays a leading role in the State’s cultural life, housing significant collections valued at $1.1 billion, supporting the arts directly including its range of scholarships, prizes and awards, and making an important contribution to the economy,” Mr Souris said.

“The Gallery offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to experience art, attracting around 1.4 million visitors each year with internationally acclaimed exhibitions and popular, engaging public programs.

“Last year about 300,000 people participated in the Gallery’s public and education programs which extended and enriched their engagement with art. And over 110,000 school students participated in the Gallery’s programs that support the NSW education curriculum.

“Through the Gallery’s involvement in the highly successful Sydney International Art Series, it has staged major exhibitions such as the Picasso exhibition which was visited by more than 366,000 people.

“This series, which has generated more than $80 million for the State over the past three years, brings world class exhibitions to Australia, and exclusively to NSW, boosting visitor numbers and reinforcing Sydney’s place as Australia’s cultural capital.”

“Steven has served the Gallery with distinction. He has overseen the appointment of its new director, Dr Michael Brand, and the development of an exciting plan to expand and modernise the Gallery.

“The appointment of Mr Belgiorno-Nettis, who chairs the Gallery’s strategy and development committee, will ensure continuity and stability over the next few years as planning for the expansion accelerates.

“On behalf of the NSW Government I want to thank Steven for his contribution to the arts and to the cultural life of our State,” Mr Souris said.

Mr Lowy said it had been a privilege to serve as a Trustee and President of the Gallery.

“The Art Gallery of NSW is one of Australia’s finest cultural institutions, treasured by our community, and respected both domestically and internationally,” Mr Lowy said.

“I am fortunate to have been able to serve this great Gallery and to do so alongside such talented and committed Trustees and staff. I am also grateful to Premier O’Farrell and Minister Souris for their support of the Trustees’ vision for the Gallery and the vital role it plays in our community.

“Collectively we have made an important contribution and now, with our Sydney Modern Masterplan moving to its next stage of planning, it is time for new leadership.

“I am delighted that Guido is to be appointed President. He is eminently qualified to assume the role at this critical time in the history of the Gallery.”

Mr Belgiorno-Nettis said it was an honour to take on the presidency, particularly at such an important and exciting time for the Gallery.

“I am looking forward to working with the NSW Government, Dr Michael Brand, and the AGNSW stakeholders and supporters to deliver the Sydney Modern Masterplan expansion,” Mr Belgiorno-Nettis said.

Art Gallery of NSW director, Dr Michael Brand, acknowledged Mr Lowy’s contribution to the Gallery during a period of great transition.

“Steven has provided invaluable strategic guidance to the gallery while also strongly supporting its art acquisition program,” Dr Brand said.

“I greatly look forward to working with Guido to ensure the success of Sydney Modern to serve our audiences in even more creative ways.”

Mr Souris also paid tribute to another long-serving Trustee, Vice-President Sandra McPhee AM, who will retire when her term expires at the end of the year.

A decision on the two new Trustee appointments to replace Mr Lowy and Ms McPhee will be made later this year.

Media contact

Susanne Briggs
Tel +61 2 9225 1791
Mob 0412 268 320
susanne.briggs@ag.nsw.gov.au