Bree Pickering, director of the innovative Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA), has been appointed the new director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Canberra.
Ms Pickering has held that role in Albury since 2016 from the position of executive director of Vox Populi, a not-for-profit contemporary art space in Philadelphia and Cultural Program Manager for the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.
At MAMA, she created the vision for the newly refurbished museum, establishing it as a nationally recognised destination while also deepening its collaboration with the local community.
She created the museum’s first strategic plan since its launch in 2015 and was instrumental in establishing its creative arts program, with a particular refocus on its original content.
Her role at MAMA also included governance and fundraising.
She is also known as a curator with a distinguished catalogue of past exhibitions and programs behind her, and she advocated for the fair treatment of artists and arts workers.
Ms Pickering replaces outgoing director Karen Quinlan, who left the NPG in 2022 to take up a new position as CEO of the Melbourne Arts Centre.
Ms Pickering said she was thrilled and honoured to take on the NPG role.
“I join the gallery at an exciting time with the recently launched National Cultural Policy promising a reinvigoration of the arts and culture sector,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to contributing to the gallery’s continued success in its 25th year and beyond.”
NPG chair Penny Fowler said Ms Pickering had a proven track record as an “ambitious and transformative arts leader who steered the refurbishment and relaunched MAMA into a dynamic operational stage”.
“Her vision and ideas had positive impacts across all aspects of the business, from education to governance to building the collection and establishing a dynamic exhibitions and public program,” she said.
“Bree’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for the NPG as it enters its 25th year, and we know she will bring energy, ideas, an appetite for innovation and a passion for growth and expansion into this important role.”
Ms Pickering is expected to take up her appointment in Canberra in April.