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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

NPG Announces departure of Director, Karen Quinlan AM

3 August 2022

National Portrait Gallery Chair Penny Fowler announced today that NPG Director Karen Quinlan will leave the Gallery in September to take up a new position as Chief Executive Officer of Arts Centre Melbourne.

“On behalf of the board and, indeed, all of us at the Gallery, I extend my sincere congratulations to Karen. This is a significant role in the arts and we are delighted for her. Karen has steered the NPG through a period of change and renewed ambition since she took on the role of Director four years ago. Her big-picture vision has had a marked impact on the gallery’s national profile, access and visitation.”

Penny said that Karen’s legacy at the NPG will be felt for a long time to come. “Karen is leaving the NPG in great shape. The recent international exhibition Shakespeare to Winehouse from the National Portrait Gallery in London is the most successful ticketed exhibition ever staged at the gallery.

“In addition, new online and exhibition programs developed during the pandemic mean more people than ever can access the NPG programs and collections. Recently launched exhibitions, including the Darling Portrait Prize for Painting and the popular, long-running National Photographic Portrait Prize, will be followed in October by Who Are You: Australian Portraiture, a collaboration between the NPG and the National Gallery of Victoria, one of the most comprehensive explorations of Australian identity and the portraiture genre,” she said.

Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP said Canberra’s loss is Melbourne’s gain. “Karen Quinlan has been a fantastic Director of the National Portrait Gallery and I know she’ll be just as effective at Arts Centre Melbourne. I look forward to working with her in her new role, particularly as we develop the Albanese Labor Government’s landmark National Cultural Policy.  I was pleased that Karen recently agreed to join one of the review panels we announced to help shape our National Cultural Policy, with a focus on strong institutions,” the Minister said.

Karen said the NPG was unique in Australia. “With a remarkable collection of artworks that capture the essence and spirit of Australia and all Australians, and the increased popularity of its exhibition, education and public programs, the NPG’s future looks bright.

“I thank the NPG Board, Foundation, the gallery’s donors and my incredible colleagues who have wholeheartedly supported my vision,” Karen said.

Interim arrangements, and the commencement of the recruitment process to fill the role of Director will be announced shortly.

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency