The Board of Directors at Heide Museum of Modern Art (Heide) have announced that will Dr Natasha Cica will take the helm at Heide as the new Director and CEO of the museum, following the departure of Kristy Grant last year. Dr Cica does not come directly from an art curatorial background and the press release describes her as a ‘thought leader’ (always a rather meaningless term in my opinion). Her educational background is more legal and policy focused than arts or curatorial (she is an adjunct professor in the ANU College of Law), but she certainly has a strong background in the cultural sector in Australia and internationally. Is this part of a shift away from appointments art gallery directors exclusively from the ranks of senior curators? For instance the recent-ish appointments at the Monash Gallery of Art of Kallie Blauhorn in 2015 (now departed) and Christine Tipton at Gertrude Contemporary last year seem to suggest some organisations are looking to senior curators to guide exhibitions and collection management, while the director oversees business operations, strategic direction, etc.
The new director takes over this April and will oversee the Autumn-Winter program for 2017, which includes Charles Blackman: Schoolgirls and Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art.
The press release from Heide below:
Dr Natasha Cica is the founding director of Kapacity.org, a global consultancy whose clients include leading cultural and educational organisations. Her professional experience spans public administration (including as an adviser to Australia’s national parliament), crisis management, corporate law, and the higher education and non-government sectors. She has held leading roles at think tanks and start-ups in Australia and Europe – and is an award-winning author, broadcaster and public commentator.
Chair of the Board, Steven Skala AO, said Dr Cica, – who was recognized by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac banking group in 2013 as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence – is a thought leader who will steer Heide strategically during its next period of growth.
“I congratulate Natasha on her appointment to this exciting and challenging role at one of Australia’s most beloved cultural institutions,” Mr Skala said.
“Natasha is an experienced and effective advocate for the cultural sector, and will provide strong leadership to ensure the museum’s ongoing national and international profile, programming excellence, financial sustainability and audience development.”
Dr Cica has served as an adviser to the Tasmanian Government on developing a cultural policy for Tasmania; as a juror of the Australian Institute of Architects Architecture Awards; as adviser to the Alcorso Foundation fostering cultural exchange between Europe and Australia; and as a member of the steering committee of Arts Tasmania’s Design Island program. Her innovative THINKtent project has been presented as part of the Ten Days on the Island arts festival, at the Sydney Opera House, at the Museum of Old and New Art, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, and as part of the Danube Dialogues, the Euro MBA at Audencia Nantes School of Management, and the Human Cities initiative supported by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Dr Cica is the author of Pedder Dreaming: Olegas Truchanas and a Lost Tasmanian Wilderness (UQP, 2001) and co-editor of GriffithREVIEW39: Tasmania – The Tipping Point? (Text, 2013).
Dr Cica was founding director of the Inglis Clark Centre at the University of Tasmania, and in 2011 was an inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellow. She holds degrees in law and arts from the Australian National University and the University of London, and a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. She is an adjunct professor at the Australian National University, and has been a visiting scholar at the Alvar Aalto Academy in Finland and the University of Belgrade in Serbia.
Of her appointment, Dr Cica said: “Heide Museum of Modern Art is a greatly loved Melbourne institution, whose modernist legacy has influenced Australian culture in profound and enduring ways. I look forward to working with the museum’s talented team to ensure the Heide story and its possibility continue to inspire and attract visitors to this distinctive collection and special site.”