Another non-artist chosen to steer leading arts organisation

In today’s arts news, there is not much new.

Here is a release from the Victorian government:



Leading strategist and corporate consultant Tim Orton will take on the role of Chair of the Melbourne International Arts Festival Board, which will celebrate its 32nd year in October.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced the appointment today, naming Mr Orton as an ideal successor to Maureen Wheeler, who will retire from the Chair position at the conclusion of the 2018 festival.

Mr Orton is a managing director and founder of Nous Group – Australia’s largest locally-founded management consulting firm.

A Rhodes Scholar with a Master of Arts from Oxford University, he has provided expert strategy and planning advice to companies and government departments Australia-wide – consulting on projects across the creative, technology, health, environment, education, financial services and economic growth sectors.

He has also worked with a range of Victorian creative organisations including Melbourne Fringe, Snuff Puppets and Back to Back Theatre, as well as held board positions with the Australia Council for the Arts, and the Geelong Performing Arts Centre – which he chaired for 11 years.

Mr Orton joins the Melbourne International Arts Festival Board in the lead up to the 2018 festival, which will take place from 3-21 October. Following this year’s event, he will take the mantle from Maureen Wheeler who has served in the role for three years.

Find out more about the Melbourne International Arts Festival at

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

“Tim Orton is an ideal successor, bringing invaluable strategy and planning expertise to the role.”

Quotes attributable to incoming Chair Tim Orton

“From world-premiere performances, to public art, music, dance, exhibitions and more, Melbourne International Arts Festival celebrates all aspects of our Creative State.”

“The Festival has benefited enormously from Maureen Wheeler’s leadership and I thank her for her commitment and contribution over the last three years.”

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the Melbourne International Arts Festival board and team, and I feel fortunate to be following the outstanding leadership provided by Maureen Wheeler.”

“MIAF celebrates and reinforces Melbourne’s international cultural reputation, and as with everything in the arts, I look forward to being part of MIAF’s on-going development and change.”



Image: From Signs of Australia: Vintage Signs from the City to the Outback by Brady Michaels and Dale Campisi  (NewSouth Books). Photo by Brady Michaels.

4 responses to “Another non-artist chosen to steer leading arts organisation

  1. Being an artist and managing an arts organisation require different skill sets not necessarily found in the same person. This news is a non event

  2. There has only ever been one artist, in the sense I think Daily Review is using the word, as MIAF Chair (although at least three Chairs have written books; and, another one was a successful actor and director who would have been a very successful Artistic Director if appointed). But all of them have been appointed because of a combination of governance experience and passionate support for the arts. The reality is that the system has worked because the Festival has had GMs who are experienced arts administrators, festival directors (eg Robyn Archer) who hardly needed arts advice from Chairs and Chairs who brought various other skills to the job.


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