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The National Portrait Gallery's Director, Karen Quinlan, receives Australia Day Honour

26 January 2019

The newly appointed Director of the National Portrait Gallery Karen Quinlan, was today recognised in the Australia Day Honours list for her significant service to the visual arts and to higher education.

Prior to her appointment as Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Karen had been Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery for eighteen years, serving as its Curator for three years before that. Under Karen’s leadership, the Bendigo Art Gallery had come to be recognised internationally for the quality of its exhibitions, many undertaken with overseas partners.

Helen Nugent AO, Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery says that she is thrilled Karen accepted the offer to lead the National Portrait Gallery into its third decade.

“Karen is a much admired arts professional and is already bringing her considerable élan to the National Portrait Gallery,” Helen said.  
“I congratulate Karen, who has today been recognised with an Order of Australia award in the Australia Day Honours. We are all delighted for Karen.”

Having commenced in the top job at the National Portrait Gallery on 10 December 2018, Karen says it’s a great honour to receive an Order of Australia.

“Having had the privilege of leading such a wonderful institution – the Bendigo Art Gallery - for so many years, and now embarking upon an exciting new adventure at the National Portrait Gallery, I feel incredibly honoured to be recognised for what I do and for what I love.”

Karen’s initial strong career interest in arts education and arts leadership is reflected in her additional current role as Professor of Practice at the La Trobe Arts Institute within La Trobe University, a position she has held since 2016.

Further, she has held a number of significant Non-Executive Director roles. She has been on the Board of the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, at the National Gallery of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria, where she was initially a member of the Building Project Steering Committee. She has also been the Chairman and a board member of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria and a board member of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Media contact: Julie Akmacic
Assistant Manager, Marketing and Communications  
(02) 6102 7080
0408 491 545

Related people

Karen Quinlan AM

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