June 27, 2023

Philanthropic Grant Enables Senior Arts Leadership Pathways 

Announcing two new arts leadership positions.

To support an equitable arts industry and to strengthen opportunities for arts leaders from our focus communities; culturally and linguistically diverse, queer, First Nations and/or d/Deaf and/or Disabled, newly created senior leadership positions have just been announced at Footscray Community Arts. 

The initiative will see the creation of two arts leadership roles; General Manager and Artistic Program Manager, and form part of the senior leadership team for the next two years. The roles will receive mentoring from Footscray Community Arts Co-CEOs, Bec Cole and Daniel Santangeli, in addition, other professional development opportunities and structured mentoring will support success for emerging or mid-career arts leaders.  

With only 9% of leaders in our cultural institutions identifying as culturally or linguistically diverse (Diversity Arts Australia), only 9% of people in the creative industries identify as living with disability (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and less than 1% of executive leadership positions identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Australian Financial Review), the leadership opportunities will prioritise applicants from these communities. 

“Pathways into leadership have historically excluded people who are from our focus communities,” said Bec Cole, newly commenced as Executive Director and Co-CEO of Footscray Community Arts. “My own career path as a palawa person has been adversely impacted by models of leadership that don’t prioritize the perspectives and ways of working that come with diverse lived experience. We hope to actively redress that imbalance in our organisation with this initiative”.  

This announcement comes at an exciting time, sitting alongside the recent investment of $8.7million from the Victorian State Government for major upgrades to the Footscray Community Arts precinct. A master plan is currently in development, which includes a new outdoor performance space, further positioning Footscray Community Arts as one of Melbourne’s leading contemporary community arts precincts. 

Located on the Maribyrnong River, Footscray Community Arts was established by the local community almost 50 years ago and is one of the country’s longest-running independent arts precincts, and the only arts organisation that is also a NDIS service provider. Our artistic program is reflective of our focus communities, platforming contemporary works in performance, music, exhibitions and comedy, as well as industry and cultural development programs, and kids and school’s workshops. 

“Footscray Community Arts has always been about building representation and generating new kinds of cultural leadership,” Daniel Santangeli, Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Footscray Community Arts. “If you are an arts leader ready to take the next step in your career, this is an opportunity to take up a major leadership role in the arts sector and for-purpose industry.” 

These positions have been funded through a partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Australia’s largest independent community foundation. Their mission and purpose is to respond to social, economic, educational, environmental and other charitable needs of the community for benefit of the public.  

“As the community foundation for Greater Melbourne, we are delighted to be able to provide funding to Footscray Community Arts to develop an equitable, diverse and vibrant arts community for Melbourne’s west,” Dr Catherine Brown OAM, Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.  “The grant has been funded by the Eldon Foote bequest. We congratulate and support Footscray Community Arts’ management and vision to grow arts leadership opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds including First Nations.” 

Applications are welcomed from people who identify with one or more of our focus communities and are open until Friday 21 July.  

To discuss either role, please contact Bec Cole for a confidential chat via bec.c@footscrayarts.com  

To view position descriptions, and read more information about the application process visit our Work with Us webpage.

Image credits: 1) Footscray Community Arts building, Moreland St Footscray, Gianna Rizzo 2) Footscray Laughs, Gianna Rizzo