Gallery director Karen Quinlan will cement her position as the city's most powerful arts administrator today when she adds leadership of La Trobe University's Art Institute to her portfolio of responsibilities.
The new initiative, announced at the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre on Tuesday morning, was an effort to strengthen the university's arts offerings, vice-chancellor John Dewar said.
“We already have a successful partnership with the Bendigo Art Gallery and this new initiative will enable both institutions to link their substantial collections and curatorial expertise with the intellectual capital and teaching expertise of one of Victoria’s top three universities,“ he said.
“The opportunity to build new links with our world class academics and researchers will enhance arts offerings and experiences for the wider community in Bendigo, regional Victoria and at our Melbourne campuses in Bundoora and the CBD."
The institute is responsible for the exhibition and maintenance of La Trobe's art collections in Bendigo and Melbourne.
Ms Quinlan, who has led the Bendigo Art Gallery for 20 years, will now be charged with building external arts partnerships, creating community engagement and overseeing the quality of La Trobe’s arts events, teaching and research offerings.
The newly minted director said her first step was to develop an arts strategy for the university that made best use of its resources.
“Art galleries and institutions throughout the world are looking for new ways to add richer experiences for their local communities," she said.
"Working hand in hand with the extensive intellectual, teaching and research capital of La Trobe University will break new ground in the Australian arts industry."
City of Greater Bendigo futures director Stan Liacos said the announcement set Bendigo apart from its regional competitors.
“We are confident Bendigo has the best art gallery in regional Australia, however it is essential that the gallery and the city continue to be redefined,” Mr Liacos said.
“This collaboration makes excellent business and artistic sense and although today’s announcement follows many years of discussion, especially over the past 12 months, the outcome is truly wonderful for Bendigo’s overall future," he said.