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Departing Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski celebrated for long term focused thinking and leadership

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Tony Grybowski’s tireless commitment to building a stronger more inclusive arts sector is honoured as his 11 year tenure at the Australia Council draws to a close.

The Australia Council Board, staff and executive thank Mr Grybowski for more than a decade of service to the Australia Council, including five years as CEO, and previously as an Executive Director.

Australia Council Chair Sam Walsh AO thanked Mr Grybowski for his leadership and service:

“Over the last year and a half, both as a member of the Australia Council Board and now as Chair, I have worked closely with Tony and observed his passion for the Australia Council, the arts sector and the arts more broadly. His work over the past 11 years, including five years as CEO, has steered us toward a strong and ambitious future for the arts.”

Former Chair Rupert Myer AO also paid tribute to Mr Grybowski’s strong commitment to the arts:

“Throughout his term, Tony’s early training as a musician and orchestra member has contributed to his deep engagement with the arts sector and individual artists. Combined with his sharp focus on strategy and its implementation, as well as his ability to work effectively with staff and colleagues, government, benefactors and arts leaders, Tony has been an outstanding leader of the Australia Council.  He has combined these attributes with detailed work across the whole country, in regional centres as well as the capital cities, and has always placed artists at the centre of his considerations. I congratulate him on his many achievements,” he said.

On behalf of the Australia Council’s Executive team, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Advocacy Dr Wendy Were, said Mr Grybowski had been instrumental in driving change that will continue to benefit the arts sector well into the future:

“Tony’s steadfast commitment to a more inclusive and sustainable arts sector has been central to his leadership. He has successfully led significant reform across all facets of the Council, which has had great impact in increasing the diversity and accessibility of Australian arts. No small part of his legacy has been his championing of the Australia Council’s capacity building programs which have benefited hundreds of arts leaders, supporting them to achieve their potential, and empowered new leaders to emerge from increasingly diverse communities. This is foundational work that will reap long term benefits to the artistic community and to all the Australians who reap the benefits of a thriving cultural sector,” she said.

NAVA’s Executive Director Esther Anatolitis also congratulated Mr Grybowski on his impressive record:

“Tony’s commitment to First Nations arts through policy, protocols, fellowships and other programs, his commitment to disability arts and accessibility, the introduction of valuable new initiatives such as the Arts and Disability programs announced recently at Meeting Place and his focus on cultural diversity. These initiatives speak to Tony’s vision for lasting impact that’s sustained by a strengthened sector,” she said.

CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre Douglas Gautier AM also offered thanks:

“Tony’s recognition of the arts centres and collecting institutions as key to the creative and multicultural fabric of our country has been much appreciated,” he said.

The Australia Council has benefited from Mr Grybowski’s enthusiasm and commitment to the arts and his decades of experience, including his work as a professional musician and an impressive 30 year career in arts administration, which includes management positions with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia and seven years as General Manager of the Australian Youth Orchestra. He has also worked with the State Government of Victoria at Arts Victoria.

Tony Grybowski’s speeches:

2018 National Forum on Arts and Disability Meeting Place, Alice Springs. 
“Five years ago, our then Chair, Rupert Myer, and I visited a visual art exhibition in Perth HERE&NOW13. This project was the result of an exceptional partnership between the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at University of Western Australia and DADAA. It brought together eleven of Western Australia’s outstanding artists with disability to explore processes of communication, embodiment and narrative through a variety of art forms including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, performance and the digital medias.”. Read more…

Australian Regional Development 2018 Conference, Tweed Heads. 
“I like to think of the arts, culture and creativity as like legs on a proverbial three-legged stool. They are interlinked, and separate, but, without one, the stool topples over. They work closely together and form a strong platform for future generations”. Read more…

Performing arts centres Australia (PAC) 2018 Conference, Karratha.
“Two weekends ago I was in Melbourne at the opening of a show, by visual artist, Danie Mellor, in a commercial gallery. Known for his large contemporary pieces evoking landscape and cultural history, he created a significant and inspiring new work stretching across an entire wall, titled ‘Land Story’,  using infra-red photography showing hidden stories of the past in the present image”. Read more..



Brianna Roberts


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