Footscray Community Arts Centre announces new leadership team

Footscray Community Arts Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of Robyn Gawenda to the position of Executive Director and Daniel Santangeli to the position of Artistic Director.

Robyn Gawenda joined Footscray Community Arts Centre in 2018 as General Manager and since joining the organisation has led the development of robust governance, finance and staffing systems, and was successful in gaining the role after a competitive recruitment process.

Robyn is a champion for robust governance and business practices within the independent arts sector in Australia, previously having held roles in government and the independent arts sector. Until recently Robyn was Deputy Chair of L2R, a charity dedicated to providing opportunities for young people to participate in dance. In 2018 Robyn received a Victorian Government Women’s Board Leadership scholarship, enabling her to complete a Foundations of Directorship with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Daniel Santangeli joins Footscray Community Arts Centre from Midsumma Festival, Australia’s leading queer arts and cultural festival, where he has been Program Manager for three years. Daniel brings a strong commitment to CACD practice with diverse communities alongside governance experience and understanding of organisational culture.

Daniel is currently Chair for Outer Urban Projects, a performing arts company working with emerging artists from Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs and he is a current participant in Australia Council for the Arts and Leadership Victoria leadership programs. Prior to his time at Midsumma Festival, Daniel was Program Producer and Program Coordinator at Next Wave (2012 – 2016), and has an independent theatre practice.

Chair of the Footscray Community Arts Centre, Jason Rostant, said the organisation is delighted with the appointments following a rigorous search.

‘The Board and I are extremely excited about the establishment of a new, vibrant leadership team for FCAC to lead us into the next phase of our journey”, Jason said.

‘Robyn and Daniel’s energetic leadership, clear commitment to our communities of interest, and to grounded community arts practice will stand us in good stead as we consolidate our many successes and continue to prepare for the challenges and opportunities before us.’

Incoming Artistic Director, Daniel Santangeli says ‘I am thrilled to be working with Robyn to build on FCAC’s vibrant 40-year history, and to lead one of Australia’s most significant contemporary and community-engaged arts centers into the future’.

Incoming Executive Director, Robyn Gawenda says ‘FCAC plays a pivotal role in ensuring that communities of the west have access to lead, create and experience extraordinary contemporary arts experiences. I look forward to working alongside Daniel and the community to build on this incredible legacy’.

Robyn and Daniel are appointed to the roles of Executive and Artistic Director as part of a new leadership model announced by Footscray Community Arts Centre in July 2019. This new structure will underpin the development of the Centre’s 2020 – 2024 strategic plan, support the future needs of the artists and local community, and be responsive to changes within the broader arts industry.

The AD is responsible for developing the artistic direction and framework underpinning FCAC’s program, including further developing FCAC’s reputation in the local, national and international arts sectors as a leader in community engaged arts practice.

The ED is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the framework for FCAC business, operations, governance and strategy including the management of core funding relationships.

Both roles succeed the former Director and CEO, Martin Paten, who finished at FCAC in early September to take up a new role as Manager Arts and Culture with the City of Greater Geelong.

Robyn commences in her role immediately while Daniel will fully transition into his role by mid-November 2019.


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Robyn Gawenda and Daniel Santangeli. Image of Daniel Santangeli by Eugene Howard.