Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE


Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE
CEW Member

Museum Of Contemporary Art

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor was born in Dundee, Scotland, educated at Stromness Academy Orkney and completed an MA History of Art (Hons) at Edinburgh University in 1979 and a Diploma in Museum and Gallery Studies at Manchester University in 1980.

Macgregor spent the first three weeks of her career in the arts sitting her HGV [heavy goods vehicle] licence. As curator and driver of the Scottish Arts Council's travelling gallery, she organised exhibitions and toured them on board a converted bus to Highland villages, inner city estates, schools, factories, hospitals and prisons. This experience informed what has become the driving force of her career - making contemporary art accessible to a wider audience. Macgregor moved to the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1985 with responsibility for funding to regional galleries. She set up a new program to encourage galleries outside London to promote the work of living artists and develop education programs aimed at new audiences. In 1989 she was appointed Director of Ikon Gallery, one of the UK's leading contemporary art galleries. Under her directorship Ikon presented major international exhibitions and supported work by British artists from a range of cultural backgrounds. The Gallery's community touring program and off-site projects played a key role in increasing access. Macgregor took up the Directorship of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in September 1999. One of Macgregor's key objectives in moving to Sydney was to develop broader and new audiences for contemporary art. In 2001 Macgregor successfully negotiated long-term funding for the MCA with the NSW State Government, securing the Museum's long-term viability. Since then the Museum has gone from strength to strength, with visitor figures incresing to over 0.5m. The MCA has presented high profile exhibitions from overseas as well as major exhibitions of Australian artists. An extensive touring program takes exhibitions to regional and international locations. Macgregor is also committed to taking the work of the Museum out to new audiences. She initiated a new programme called C3 West working with businesses in Western Sydney to employ artists. . Macgregor is a regular contributor to conferences, seminars, radio and television programs on arts issues. She is currently on the board of the Australian Children's Music Foundation, Fauna and Flora International Australia and the Council of Art Museum Directors. In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the Australian public and contemporary art and in 2007 she won the Significant Innovation category in the Equity Trustees Not for Profit CEO awards. In 2008 she was awarded the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award and the Australia Business Arts Foundation Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Arts Business Leadership Award. Recently the MCA has successfully negotiated a $53m building redevelopment for completion in 2012. The project has been funded by all levels of government with major philanthropic support. Having established a strong local audience and an international reputation for its exhibitions, the MCA will now be transformed with a National Centre for Creative Learning, connecting artists with audiences across Australia and around the world.

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