COFA Talks Online
COFA Talks - Elizabeth Ann Macgregor - MCA: A History
Watch this on your iPod - Vodcast available here
Elizabeth Ann Macgregor is most passionate about is linking artists with audiences. As the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, she has transformed the MCA into a thriving public gallery, with artists at its heart.
Elizabeth began her career in the art world as curator and driver for the Scottish Arts Council's travelling gallery. Using a converted bus to take exhibitions to local villages, inner city estates, schools, hospitals and prisons, she discovered her love for introducing new audiences to the work of living artists. Indeed it was meeting a group of young Scottish artists that fired her passion for contemporary art, having trained as an art historian at Edinburgh University. Her next stop was the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1985, and in 1989 she became director of one of the UK's leading contemporary art galleries, the Ikon Gallery. Under her leadership, the gallery moved to new premises and developed a reputation for showing artists from around the world and from different backgrounds, responding to the cultural diversity of the city of Birmingham.
In 1999, Elizabeth moved to Sydney to take up the directorship of the Museum of Contemporary Art at a time when the Museum was facing great challenges. She negotiated a sponsorship deal with Telstra in 2000 to introduce free admission and since then attendances have increased dramatically, doubling initially and continuing to climb each year. A new funding deal with the NSWGovernment and the Australia Council to replace the University of Sydney gave the Museum financial stability and encouraged further private sector support. But it was all about art: her passion for bringing artists work into the wider public arena has led her to establish programs not only at Circular Quay but also in Western Sydney and across the state.
This talk was shot on Tuesday July 24th as part of the COFA Talks series.