26/07/2013 - 13:53

King joins arts council

26/07/2013 - 13:53

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King joins arts council
DECISIONS: Mary-Ellen King says the council’s new model will enable it to be more flexible and make quicker decisions. (Photo: Attila Csaszar)

Perth-based arts manager and Bethanie Group chief operating officer Mary-Ellen King is the sole Western Australian among the 12 new appointees to the Australian Council for the Arts board.

The council operates as the federal government’s chief funding and advisory body for the arts and is currently undergoing significant structural changes.

Through various sub-committees, the council has overseen 28 performing companies throughout Australia, including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Black Swan Theatre Company.

Under its new structure, peer assessment panels overseen by the new board will replace the sub-committees.

“[Previously] it was very difficult to change anything when it was needed, whereas the new process means the governing board can be much more flexible and make quicker decisions,” Ms King told Business News.

The new model has already shown signs of success, with the Visual Arts and Literature peer assessment panels reaching determinations on a combined total of 900 applications for funding support within the first week of operation.

Ms King is currently on the board of the Perth International Arts Festival and has previously held the positions of Opera Australia Melbourne manager and Melbourne International Arts Festival general manager.

Ms King acknowledges she has focused more on her aged care role in recent years, although she said her work in the arts provided a valuable counterpoint.

“Aged care is my day job, that’s my professional career now, and the arts it now my out of work passion,” Ms King said.

“I love that balance, it’s a fantastic balance to have.”

Other Australian Council for the Arts board members include CEO and classical music aficionado Tony Grybowski, chairman and heir to retail franchise Myer Rupert Myer, and author and presenter Waleed Aly. 

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