ACE Open (ACE) is pleased to announce the appointment of two new roles, Patrice Sharkey as Artistic Director and Louise Dunn as Executive Director to co-lead the organisation.
Since its founding in 2017, ACE has focused on presenting a dynamic visual arts program that engages diverse communities and addresses pertinent cultural and social issues. It has become a critical pillar in sustainably supporting and developing a house of artist careers and contributing to contemporary Australian art discourse, such as interstate visibility for local Elyas Alavi through our partnership with Next Wave and firstdraft (2018), and the group exhibition Waqt al tagheer:Time of Change (2018) by Australian Muslim artist collective eleven- the first ever exhibition of this important collective.
Under ACE’s new leadership, we will see a breadth of skills and experience lead the organisation into an ambitious plan for 2020 and advance support for contemporary artists, starting with the extensive South Australian Artist Survey that recently completed its successful fundraising campaign of $80,000.
Patrice Sharkey’s role will transform from ACE’s Curator to Artistic Director, drawing on a decade of experience in the visual arts sector, including working as the Director of West Space in Melbourne (2015-2018) where she curated the group exhibitions Real Life Fantasies and The Drawing is Just Not There (with Christopher L G Hill). She commissioned several solo projects by artists that include Fiona Abicare (Rose Moon, 2019) and Jason Phu (my parents met at the fish market, 2017), which toured to ACE Open in late 2018. Patrice has published writing in Art Monthly Australia and Discipline, and is a previous member of un Magazine’s Advisory Committee and Board Member of the artist-run space TCB art inc (2012-2015).
I feel honoured and extremely happy to step into the position of ACE Open’s Artistic Director. This new role will allow me to actively build upon the curatorial perspective I have developed since joining the organisation earlier this year, to lead a creative vision that extends across all of ACE’s programming. I can’t wait to start working alongside Louise, the ACE team, as well artists and audiences, to continue to grow ACE’s reputation as a leading space for contemporary art, experimental practice and diverse voices in South Australia and beyond. – Patrice Sharkey
Louise Dunn is a veteran to the South Australian arts scene, most recently leading Nexus Arts as Executive Director for the past seven years (2012-2019), where she focused on rebuilding the organisation to become a leader in contemporary culturally diverse arts practice. At Nexus Arts, Louise devised and delivered the Ruby Award winning Barngarla Stories of Resilience project, initiated new artist development programs benefiting over 40 South Australian artists, increased audiences and stakeholder engagement, and more than tripled funding levels. Louise has held multiple Board and committee positions in the arts sector locally and nationally, most noteworthy as Deputy Chair (2014 -2016) and Chair (2016- 2017) at Diversity Arts Australia (formerly Kultour).
I am thrilled to take on this new role as Executive Director of ACE Open and have the opportunity to work for this flagship organisation in an exciting collaborative leadership partnership to deliver transformative art experiences to new audiences. – Louise Dunn
The move to a new dual-leadership structure sets up ACE for success with “ambitious plans realised through strong artistic vision and strong organisational leadership. From this the growth and transformation we have planned will follow,” reflects Kate Irving, Chair of Board, ACE Open.
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