+ Just what is going on at one of the largest publicly funded contemporary arts organisations in Australia? Since the confirmation of New Zealander Robert Leonard as Director of Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art last month, both the Chair of the Board and the GM have left, and the only other member of the administrative staff has just departed … with over $600,000 a year in public funding receipts, one has to wonder if there is anyone left there who can manage to answer the phones, let alone run an organisation with an annual turnover of nearly $1M… Leonard’s previous directorial experience, it seems, was running a much smaller organisation in Auckland, with a turnover of only $400,000 NZD… and oooops, he had an administrator to take care of that for him…

+ The recent employment of Andrew O’Brien as head of commercial initiatives at the National Gallery of Victoria smacks of nepotism. Alan Myers is the chair of the trustees, the trustees decide who gets employed. The O’Brien family owned the Melbourne Aquarium and sold a large share to the Myer family. Funny isn’t it that Andrew O’Brien now has a job at the NGV.

Especially funny (and dire) since he has previously been the owner and operator of both the Flower restaurant/Hotel in Port Melbourne and The Victorian Wine Precinct at Federation Square, both of these had to close due to very poor business. I believe the Wine Precinct could not even pay it’s staff in the end and was indebted to over a millions.

Why on earth would the National Gallery of Victoria place someone in charge of their commercial operations with such a bad business history?
Questions need to be asked by the press about how the tax payers and government money is being spent, and open answers must be given.
Many levels of staff are talking and disgusted, and concerned for the gallery’s commercial future.

Peter Fray

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