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Shepparton Art Museum appoints acting CEO and Artistic Director

The Shepparton Art Museum Board of Directors has appointed Senior Curator, Dr Shelley McSpedden as Acting Artistic Director and Business Manager, Andrew Gooley as Acting CEO as the Board prepares for a national search for the next Director of the Shepparton Art Museum. 

SAM Ltd Board chair, Stephen Merrylees said: “The Board of Directors are delighted to appoint both Shelley and Andrew into the roles of acting Artistic Director and CEO, respectively. Together they bring a wealth of knowledge across the cultural and business sectors and will support and lead the team into this next chapter. We look forward to the recruitment process of the next Director of the Shepparton Art Museum and the opportunities that come with this. The next Director will bring new vision for the Museum and will be a new chapter for the institution.” 

Shelley McSpedden joined the Shepparton Art Museum team in 2020 and has played an integral role in developing the artistic calendar for 2021 and 2022. Shelley is an established curator, writer, and arts educator, with over 15 years of professional art museum and gallery experience. 

She brings a wealth of knowledge to the region, having held curatorial positions at a number of leading Australian cultural institutions, including the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Monash University Museum of Art. Shelley holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from Monash University. 

With extensive business experience and previously with The University of Melbourne, Andrew Gooley commenced with the Shepparton Art Museum in May as Business Manager. Andrew stepped into the role and has further developed many business initiatives to ensure future success of the new state of the art purpose-built Museum. 

Both Shelley and Andrew are committed to steering the Museum forward as SAM embarks on this exciting new phase delivering its first suite of exhibitions and engagement programs over the next 12 months. 

Together Shelley and Andrew said: 

“We are delighted to take over the reins and co-direct the strong and committed team at the Shepparton Art Museum. The next year’s artistic program and series of program and events were designed with the community at the forefront, and we look forward to continuing to welcome new visitors and returning visitors to our new home.” 

Preparations for recruiting for the position of Artistic Director and CEO of the Shepparton Art Museum will start in early 2022. 


Media enquiries, please contact: Gabriella Calandro, Engagement Manager, SAM p: (03) 4804 5020 e: 

Applications now open for SAM Squared.

Applications for the Shepparton Art Museum’s new program SAM SQUARED opens Tuesday 14 December 2021. 

Drawing inspiration from SAM’s much loved and celebrated ‘SAM Local’ suite of exhibitions, SAM SQUARED celebrates local creativity all year round in the dedicated exhibition space, the Williamson Community Gallery at the new Shepparton Art Museum. 

Local artists and creatives will have opportunities through the SAM SQUARED program to present their work in a professional museum context and connect with new audiences. SAM SQUARED aims to promote, foster, engage and celebrate creativity from our vibrant creative community in the Goulburn Valley. 

Shelley McSpedden, Acting Artistic Director and Senior Curator said “We have an extraordinarily rich and diverse creative community in the Goulburn valley region. From spinners and weavers, to painters and makers in more traditional forms. The SAM Squared program is designed as a permanent space to support, promote and celebrate creativity in all its many forms.” 

Jessica O’Farrell, Exhibitions Curator said: “SAM SQUARED celebrates the diverse creative community we have in the Goulburn Valley. We welcome all creatives from around the Goulburn Valley to consider applying or encouraging others to submit for an opportunity to showcase their work in our new dedicated space.” 

SAM SQUARED is an annual program and will seek artwork and exhibition submissions in three open callout opportunities: 

SAM OPEN: An all ages, open exhibition celebrating the creativity of our community Applications open: Now Open Applications close: Friday 28 January 2022 Application fee: $40 which includes entry and a Friends of SAM single yearly membership. $10 for current members. 

SAM EOI: Artist, curator, creative practitioner or community group led exhibitions via an expression of interest proposal 

Applications open: Now Open Applications close: Friday 11 February 2022 

SAM SPOTLIGHT: A solo exhibition showcasing the talent of an emerging local artist 

Applications open: Monday 13 December 2021 Applications close: Friday 25 February 2022 

Application fee: $40 which includes entry and a Friends of SAM single yearly membership. $10 for current members. 

To apply, applicants must live or must demonstrate a strong connection to in the following areas of the Goulburn Valley and the Hume Region: 

Alpine, Benalla, Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, and Wodonga 

Interested artists, creatives and arts groups are encouraged to visit SAM’s website for more information and application forms. 


Media enquiries, please contact: 

Gabriella Calandro, Engagement Manager, SAM p: (03) 4804 5020  e: 

Rebecca Coates to step down as Director of Shepparton Art Museum

Rebecca Coates to step down as Director of Shepparton Art Museum 

Victoria, Australia: Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) Artistic Director and CEO, Rebecca Coates, announced today that she was stepping down from the role after six transformational years at the helm. 

Dr Coates is departing following the triumphant opening in November 2021 of the new SAM building designed by acclaimed Australian architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall and its nine inaugural exhibitions. 

“I had three goals when I commenced in the role. First, to build the artistic exhibitions, collection, and engagement so that it earnt the participation of the local community and a national reputation. Second, to build a genuinely world-class new building that would attract visitors, enable a first-class museum operation, and be a symbol of civic pride. And third, to build a stronger community in Shepparton, with the museum as an agent for social change, celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion. All three goals have been well and truly achieved,” said Dr Coates. 

SAM’s exhibitions are now widely recognised across Australia and internationally, building on SAM’s focus on ceramics and indigenous art and engagement. In the past six years Rebecca has curated and co-curated 29 exhibitions and overseen a total program of 111 exhibitions. Two of the exhibitions curated by SAM (Craftivism and Raquel Ormella) have toured to national acclaim. Dr Coates also revamped SAM’s ceramic art awards to build the profile of contemporary artists working in ceramics. And she built partnerships with a number of Australia’s largest galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, Bundanon Trust and Art Gallery of South Australia. Under a new partnership, Art and conflict, a major exhibition organised by the Australian War Memorial, will premiere in March 2022 in Shepparton’s new art museum, its sole Victorian venue, at the beginning of a national tour. 

The SAM collection has grown through Dr Coates’ tenure, adding 588 artworks valued at $3 million. Donations by artists have grown by a factor of ten, including donations by artists Ben Quilty, Danie Mellor, Karen Black, Richard Lewer and Felicity Law and Tony Albert. The Museum has also formalised the gift of the Carrillo and Ziyin Ganter Collection, valued at around $4.5M. 

Dr Coates was pivotal to the new Shepparton Art Museum that now stands at the entrance to Shepparton. She was the driving force to use a rigorous process endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects to identify an architect and design. Dr Coates said that this was “vital to ensuring that Shepparton got a world class museum, not just another infrastructure project.” 

In the past six years SAM’s education programs have expanded, supported by a major learning and engagement partnership with the University of Melbourne, and program partnerships with La Trobe University and the Yulgelbar Foundation, presenting SAM Edulab (an artist-led intensive four week program that attracted 600 local primary and secondary students previously), an artist-led school holiday program, the SAM Scholars Program (which provides mentoring support to around 25 VCE art and design students per year), and Fresh (a VCE art and design exhibition). In addition, funding of $500,000 from the Buckland foundation has supported a new Ambassadors and Volunteers program, engaging 60 young people over five years to work with SAM. 

Dr Coates said that for her, “It was crucial that SAM contributed substantially to indigenous reconciliation both locally and nationally.” SAM has developed an Aboriginal Engagement Plan supported by funding from Creative Victoria and deep engagement with local community and the arts sector. Dr Coates set up the museum’s first indigenous curatorial position through a one-year residency funded by Creative Victoria, and secured ongoing funding for the position through a learning and engagement partnership with the University of Melbourne. In the last 12 months SAM has secured RISE funding from the Federal government for over $250,000 to create 9 new indigenous traineeship positions. The recent Lin Onus exhibition is the culmination of this indigenous engagement, with local indigenous communities closely involved in the exhibition, the first time that a collection of Lin Onus’ work has been shown on Country. 

Dr Coates added, “I would like to thank the staff of SAM whose contributions have been to SAM’s success over the past six years as well as SAM’s donors and supporters, ably organised by the SAM Foundation, The Friends of SAM and the enormous contribution of Carrillo Gantner AC. 

“I am very grateful for the support of numerous artists and my colleagues in art museums and galleries who continue to make and show work that matters, despite the challenges. 

“It’s been six big years, and the past two years have involved the triple challenge of pivoting through a global pandemic, transitioning the governance of the organisation from being part of Council to becoming a stand-alone not-for-profit organisation, and opening a new world-class museum with a much larger footprint,” said Coates. 

I am now looking forward to a well-earned rest, and to contributing further to Australian arts and culture in future roles,” concluded Coates. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Gabriella Calandro, Engagement Manger, Shepparton Art Museum, 

ABOUT SAM: Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is one of Australia's outstanding regional art museums, showcasing our exhibitions and collections in new and exciting ways and creating a welcoming, inclusive and engaging space for all audiences. Artists are central to our work. Our programming is designed to be locally relevant and engage with global contemporary ideas. SAM is recognised for its significant Australian ceramics collection, and our nationally significant collection of Indigenous art. As the only public art museum in Greater Shepparton and north central Victoria, our mission is to present great art in Shepparton, and to contribute to the cultural enrichment, community engagement and economic prosperity of the region.