A GLOBAL search for a new Bendigo Art Gallery director has resulted in local curator Jessica Bridgfoot being appointed to the key role.
The City of Greater Bendigo yesterday announced Ms Bridgfoot, who has worked at the gallery since 2016, to the leadership position of Australia’s most acclaimed regional gallery.
Ms Bridgfoot said she was thrilled to take on the new challenge and looked forward to building on the successes of the past, including delivering blockbuster exhibitions focusing on fashion, celebrity and design, while growing the gallery’s fantastic contemporary and historic shows.
“I am beyond excited to step into the role of director.
“After almost three years as a curator at Bendigo Art Gallery, I am so looking forward to leading one of Australia’s most loved and successful regional galleries and maintaining its important role in supporting the regional tourism and creative economies,” Ms Bridgfoot said.
“I’m from a contemporary background and I would like to see more diversity and interactive experiences in the gallery. We have great exhibition spaces and the team will be working with new artists, artists from Australia and beyond to ramp up our program of curated contemporary exhibitions.”
Ms Bridgfoot said the gallery will need further long-term development to house its growing collection, exhibition and learning spaces, deliver dedicated First Nations programs and provide new interactive spaces.
“I am very much looking forward to building on the legacy of Karen Quinlan and Tony Elwood before me and working with our fantastic board, the City of Greater Bendigo and the arts community to chart this exciting future together and deliver contemporary experiences for our community and audiences.”
City of Greater Bendigo Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan congratulated Ms Bridgfoot and said the city was pleased to appoint her to such an important position within the organisation, the Greater Bendigo community and the Australian arts industry.
“Jessica’s achievements in delivering contemporary and innovative art programing, coupled with her vision to raise the gallery’s engagement and visitor experience through digital platforms, diverse programing and education made her a stand-out choice.
“Jessica is a Bendigo local and over her career has watched the gallery transform into a critical cultural institution. As a current staff member she understands the importance of the gallery to the Bendigo community and also its position as one of Australia’s leading regional galleries.”
Mr O’Sullivan said the gallery has a great history of promoting from within and growing the leadership, creativity and management skills of its staff.
“We look forward to watching Jessica’s unique contribution to the history of the gallery unfold.”
Ms Bridgfoot’s major achievements during her tenure at the Bendigo Art Gallery include securing funding for a First Nations Curator and managing a major repatriation project with the Dja Dja Wurrung, successfully co-curating a range of innovative exhibitions including New Histories and Gothic Beauty: Victorian Notions of Love, Loss and Mourning, and project curating Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise.
She has curated the current exhibition Defining the Australian Ugliness, is the lead curator for the upcoming Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition, and is also responsible for program development and maintaining strong working relationships with national and international arts organisations.
Ms Bridgfoot studied Visual Arts (Painting) at Monash University and completed a Masters of Arts Management at the University of Melbourne.
She has enjoyed working in both the public and private sectors, now assuming one of regional Australia’s key cultural leadership positions.