Rebecca Coates steps down as director of Shepparton Art Museum


Rebecca Coates announced today that she will step down as Artistic Director and CEO of the Shepparton Art Museum after six years of transformation at the helm. Dr Coates leaves after the triumphant opening in November 2021 of the new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) building designed by renowned Australian architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall and its nine inaugural exhibitions.

Dr. Coates notes “I had three goals when I first started in this role. First, build the art exhibits, collection and engagement so that it earns the participation of the local community and a national reputation. Second, to construct a new truly world-class building that would attract visitors, enable a first-class museum operation and be a symbol of civic pride. And third, building a stronger community in Shepparton, with the museum as an agent of social change, celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion. The three objectives have indeed been achieved.

SAM’s exhibits are now widely recognized across Australia and internationally, building on SAM’s focus on ceramics and indigenous art and engagement. Over the past six years, Dr. Coates has organized and co-organized 29 exhibitions and oversaw a total program of 111 exhibitions. Two of the exhibitions organized by SAM (Craftivism and Raquel Ormella) were toured nationally.

Dr Coates also revamped the SAM Ceramic Art Awards to strengthen the profile of contemporary artists working in ceramics. And she has partnered with a number of Australia’s top galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Bundanon Trust, and the Art Gallery of South Australia. As part of a new partnership, Art and Conflict, a major exhibition curated by the Australian War Memorial, will premiere in March 2022 at the new Shepparton Art Museum, its only Victorian venue, at the start of a national tour.

The SAM collection has grown throughout Dr. Coates’ tenure, adding 588 works of art valued at $ 3 million. Donations from artists have increased tenfold, including donations from artists Ben Quilty, Danie Mellor, Karen Black, Richard Lewer and Felicity Law and Tony Albert. The museum also formalized the donation of the Carrillo and Ziyin Ganter Collection, valued at approximately $ 4.5 million.

Dr Coates played a central role in the new Shepparton Art Museum which now sits at the entrance to Shepparton. She was the driving force behind using a rigorous process approved by the Australian Institute of Architects to identify an architect and a design. Dr Coates said this was “essential to ensure Shepparton has a world-class museum, and not just another infrastructure project.”

Over the past six years, SAM’s education programs have grown, supported by a significant learning and engagement partnership with the University of Melbourne, and program partnerships with La Trobe University and the Yulgelbar Foundation, presenting SAM Edulab (an intensive four-week artist-led program that has attracted 600 local elementary and high school students previously), an artist-led school vacation program, the SAM Scholars Program (which provides support mentoring approximately 25 VCE art and design students per year) and Fresh (a VCE art and design exhibition). Additionally, $ 500,000 in funding from the Buckland Foundation supported a new Ambassador and Volunteer program, engaging 60 youth over five years to work with SAM.

Dr Coates said that for her “it was crucial that SAM made a substantial contribution to indigenous reconciliation at both local and national level”. SAM has developed an Indigenous engagement plan supported by funding from Creative Victoria and deep engagement with the local community and the arts sector. Dr. Coates created the museum’s first Indigenous curator position through a one-year residency funded by Creative Victoria, and secured ongoing funding for the position through a learning and engagement partnership with the University. from Melbourne. Over the past 12 months, SAM has secured more than $ 250,000 in RISE funding from the federal government to create nine new Aboriginal internship positions. The recent Lin Onus exhibition is the culmination of this indigenous engagement, with local indigenous communities closely involved in the exhibition, the first time that a collection of Lin Onus’s work has been shown in the country.

Dr Coates added: “I would like to thank the staff of SAM whose contributions have contributed to the success of SAM over the past six years, as well as the donors and supporters of SAM, skillfully organized by the SAM Foundation, and the ‘huge contribution from Carrillo Gantner AC.

“I am very grateful for the support of many artists and my colleagues at art museums and galleries who continue to create and show works that matter, despite the challenges.

“It’s been six great years, and the past two years have involved the triple challenge of pivoting through a global pandemic, of shifting the governance of the organization from being a member of the Board to becoming an autonomous, non-profit organization. lucrative, and to open a new world-class museum with a much larger footprint.

“I now look forward to a well-deserved rest and to contribute more to Australian arts and culture in future roles. “

Related Articles

November 19, 2021 – New $ 50 million Shepparton Art Museum set to serve as cultural beacon

September 23, 2021 – The Shepparton Art Museum will open in November

February 11, 2021 – Shepparton Art Museum announces new development team

February 27, 2019 – Kane Constructions announced as builder of Shepparton Art Museum

September 11, 2017 – Victorian government approves development of Shepparton Art Museum

April 20, 2017 – Denton Corker Marshall wins Shepparton Art Museum’s new architectural competition

January 20, 2017 – Design concepts unveiled for the new Shepparton art museum

March 3, 2016 – Shepparton Art Museum redevelopment project receives $ 10 million boost

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