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Art Gallery names new Projects and Team Facilitation Manager

22 August 2006

The Christchurch Art Gallery is on the cusp of building a new direction which embraces change and promotes a dynamic new culture, says Neil Semple, who today was named the new Projects and Team Facilitation Manager for the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Mr Semple, who takes up the key management role in mid-October, said he was excited about joining the organisation and being part of the new gallery management team responsible for implementing the Paradigm Shift of the Five-year Strategic Plan.

Mr Semple is the second key appointment made at the Gallery in the last six days. Blair Jackson from Dunedin’s Public Art Gallery was last week named Visitor Experience Manager.

Mr Semple joins the Christchurch Art Gallery from Wellington’s City Gallery where he has worked since 1997, the last five years as Exhibitions Manager. The City Gallery has developed a reputation for its cutting-edge contemporary and international art exhibitions, which draw in large visitor numbers from throughout New Zealand. His appointment completes the new management team for the Gallery.

In announcing Mr Semple’s appointment today, Christchurch City Council General Manager Community Services Stephen McArthur said the new management team will build relationships with key stakeholders and work to foster a positive environment in which team work, innovation and creativity will flourish.

“The new Projects and Team Facilitation Manager role will bring together multidisciplinary project teams from across the Gallery to work more efficiently and effectively to deliver the Gallery’s schedule of exhibitions and programmes.

“This role will be pivotal in ensuring the Gallery’s dynamic new exhibition programme is not only delivered on time but within budget.”

Mr McArthur said Mr Semple brings a wealth of experience to the role, having built and led multidisciplinary project teams in previous roles, as well as facilitating the development of project plans for national and international exhibitions. Mr Semple has worked closely with many leading artists and curators from New Zealand and overseas on major public exhibitions.

Among the major projects Mr Semple has worked on are Bridget Riley – Paintings and Preparatory Work 1961-2004 (in partnership with the MCA Sydney), Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance (a partnership with the people of Parihaka Paa), and The Exhibition of the Century – Modern masterpieces from the Collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Originally trained as a painter and decorator, Mr Semple has worked in the exhibitions area of museums and art galleries since 1988. He was selected to attend the Strategic Leadership Programme for the museum sector run by Te Papa National Services, in 2002.

Mr Semple said he was looking forward to moving south to Christchurch, where he has family, and taking up the new challenge.

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