The NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin has selected the Chairs of the Artform Assessment Boards at the heart of the NSW Government’s new arts funding process, Create NSW has announced. The boards will assess applications made to Create NSW’s Arts and Cultural Funding Program, provide recommendations to the Minister – who will have final say on any funding decisions – and advise on strategic directions for the sector.

Naseema SparksNaseema Sparks

“This process has demonstrated the extraordinary depth of talent we have in the NSW arts and cultural sector,” said Harwin. “I’m pleased to announce that nearly 40 per cent of our Board members are from regional NSW and Western Sydney. This will ensure robust advocacy for artists outside of central Sydney.”

Naseema Sparks, Chair and Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales (Sydney Living Museums) as well as SLM Foundation Director, will Chair the Classical Music Board, which includes the Sydney Opera House’s Classical Music Producer Casey Green, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Artistic Director Paul Dyer, Four Winds Executive Director David Francis, composer and Deputy Dean at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Matthew Hindson, Executive Director at Arts North West Regional Arts Board Caroline Downer, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Illawarra On Pointe Productions Ryley Gillen, and former Musica Viva Australia CEO Mary Jo Capps.

The Opera, Musical Theatre & Chorus Board will be led by Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes, and will consist of theatre producer John Frost, Belvoir’s Head of Development (and former Pinchgut Opera CEO) Sarah Gilchrist, director Kate Gaul, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ General Manager Hannah Mason, Sydney Chamber Opera’s Artistic Director and conductor Jack Symonds, and producer and director Sally Blackwood.

Sydney Dance Company’s former chair Karen Moses will lead the Dance & Physical Theatre Board, Sydney Festival’s Artistic Director Wesley Enoch will lead the Aboriginal Arts & Culture Board, NIDA Chairman and Executive Producer at the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Noel Staunton will lead the Theatre Board, while the Chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Simon Mordant AM will lead the Visual Arts Board. The Dean of the University of New South Wales’ Art & Design and Chair of Arts and Culture Ross Harley will lead the Multi-arts & Festivals Board, while journalist and television present Jennifer Byrne will lead the Literature Board. The Director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay will Chair the Museums & History Board.

“All Board members will be required to declare their interests to ensure the management of any conflicts, in line with the Artform Advisory Assessment Boards Code of Conduct,” the Create NSW website states.

“From focused Aboriginal perspectives to live music experts and publishing excellence, philanthropy, visual arts and international business prowess, our leaders have a tremendous amount of knowledge to share,” Harwin said. “Our ten Artform Boards represent the very best of the NSW arts and culture sector and will deliver the strategic thinking we need to nurture new talent and propel our established artists even further.”