3 August 2022

One of the state’s most respected arts leaders will return to Victoria, leading Australia’s busiest arts centre complex to further success after taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer at Arts Centre Melbourne.

woman standing with arms crossed

Karen Quinlan AM. Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery


Karen Quinlan AM, the game-changing former director of Bendigo Art Gallery and current CEO of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, has been appointed to lead Arts Centre Melbourne  –  which includes the spire-topped Theatres Building, Hamer Hall and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. She commences in the role on 3 October.

Known for her transformative role as Director of Bendigo Art Gallery from 2000 until 2018,  Ms. Quinlan built the gallery’s reputation on the world stage though major international partnerships and blockbuster exhibitions.

Under her leadership, Bendigo Art Gallery became a major driver of cultural tourism and boosted the region’s  economy. Over the past four years, Ms. Quinlan has steered the National Portrait Gallery through a period of change and renewed ambition, extending its national reach and profile.

Formerly Chair of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria and serving on boards including Melbourne Fashion Festival and State Library Victoria, Ms. Quinlan was also a member of the 2015 Creative Industries Taskforce which informed the Victorian Government’s first Creative State strategy.

In 2019, Ms. Quinlan was awarded an Order of Australia medal for services to the arts. She joins Arts Centre Melbourne as it embarks on a major upgrade as part of the $1.7 billion Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation project which includes the refurbishment of the historic State Theatre.

, the game-changing former director of Bendigo Art Gallery and current CEO of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, has been appointed to lead Arts Centre Melbourne  –  which includes the spire-topped Theatres Building, Hamer Hall and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. She commences in the role on 3 October.

Known for her transformative role as Director of Bendigo Art Gallery from 2000 until 2018,  Ms. Quinlan built the gallery’s reputation on the world stage though major international partnerships and blockbuster exhibitions.

Under her leadership, Bendigo Art Gallery became a major driver of cultural tourism and boosted the region’s  economy. Over the past four years, Ms. Quinlan has steered the National Portrait Gallery through a period of change and renewed ambition, extending its national reach and profile.

Formerly Chair of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria and serving on boards including Melbourne Fashion Festival and State Library Victoria, Ms. Quinlan was also a member of the 2015 Creative Industries Taskforce which informed the Victorian Government’s first Creative State strategy.

In 2019, Ms. Quinlan was awarded an Order of Australia medal for services to the arts. She joins Arts Centre Melbourne as it embarks on a major upgrade as part of the $1.7 billion Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation project which includes the refurbishment of the historic State Theatre.