WA Arts and Culture sector leaders have welcomed the announcement of Sam Walsh AO as the new chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government's arts funding and advisory body. Mr Walsh is currently the chair of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and commissioning panel chair of the Australian representation for the Venice Biennale. Formerly a chief executive of Rio Tinto, Mr Walsh retired in 2016. He has been the director of the Royal Opera House and Ballet while based in London, and former chair of Black Swan State Theatre Company, chair of the WA Chamber of Arts and Culture and chair of the Australian Business Arts Foundation.
The Chamber of Arts and Culture Executive Director Henry Boston welcomed the announcement: "The Chamber is delighted that someone with a deep understanding of the cultural landscape in Western Australia will now guide the next steps of the Council".
"Sam's board experience across a number of art forms as well as the global nature of Rio Tinto's business will bring to the Council a view that will assist the development of a truly national arts strategy; one which acknowledges and seeks to address the challenges of a large country with its disparate population," said Boston.
"The Chamber looks forward to continuing a strong dialogue with Council under the new leadership."