AFTER 14 years at the helm, longtime Bundanon CEO Deborah Ely will step down from her role in mid-2021.
Ms Ely's departure will coincide with the physical completion of Bundanon's ambitious new arts infrastructure, designed to house the $43 million Boyd art collection, and set to transform the cultural tourism.
"This is the right time to bring in new leadership to guide the company on the next stage of its journey," she said.
"I feel exceptionally privileged to have directed the company for over 14 years.
"Bundanon has grown exponentially in that time and that trajectory will continue with the opening of the new art museum.
"Working with Kerstin Thompson Architect's (KTA) on the conceptualisation and resolution of the infrastructure project has been a once in a lifetime opportunity."
The Artists in Residence and Learning programs have been expanded to include more than 300 artists annually from across the globe and thousands of school students who participate in unique residential creative learning programs throughout the year.
Visitation has quadrupled, touring programs expanded and unique public events, such as Siteworks, gained national and international recognition.
Chairman of the Bundanon Trust, Jennifer Bott said Deborah had "taken a small heritage jewel and built it into a diverse, challenging, creative hive of activity - embraced locally, nationally and internationally".
"For over a decade she has also driven the Masterplan project to create a world class art museum at Bundanon, embedded in the Australian bush," she said.
After 14 years it is time for new leadership to launch, direct and program the reimagined Bundanon.Bundanon CEO Deborah Ely
The new development incorporates radical solutions to a changing climate, with a net zero energy target, and will be defendable against fire and flood.
A key achievement of her time in office has been successfully fundraising for the $33m project, which has attracted substantial investment from the Australian Government ($22m), from the NSW Government ($8.6m) as well as from individual benefactors.
The new art museum, accommodation bridge and cafe are due to be opened to the public in early 2022.
"Deborah has been a visionary leader and is held in high esteem as an exceptional arts director," Ms Bott said.
"She will be always be honoured by Bundanon, board members and staff, donors and all stakeholders for her tireless work, her vision, her commitment and for the extraordinary exhibitions and events she has programmed."
Deborah has taken a small heritage jewel and built it into a diverse, challenging, creative hive of activity - embraced locally, nationally and internationally.Bundanon Trust chairman Jennifer Bott
Ms Ely said it has been an incredible opportunity to work with a number of "remarkable artists".
"The creative freedom of the role has been a gift," Ms Ely said.
"It's been a joy to work in such an environment, and I would like to thank the board and staff for their support in helping to realise the Masterplan and programs."
An international recruitment search will take place in early 2021 for a replacement, with Ms Ely to work with the board and staff to ensure a smooth transition in the lead up to the opening of the new art museum.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.