Criena Gehrke, who currently leads Council’s arts and culture unit has been appointed the CEO / Director of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct.
The announcement was made by the Board of The Arts Centre Gold Coast – which will soon become the board of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct today.
Criena was responsible for the City’s Culture Strategy and has been a catalyst for much of the cultural growth the city has experienced since the Strategy’s launch. During her time at Council, Criena has had an open office for many of the City’s cultural organisations (including Blank Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Music Awards), so this new appointment is welcomed by many.
Chair Robyn Archer AO said the panel was delighted with the enthusiasm of so many respected cultural leaders for the role.
“A rigoursly competitive selection process has resulted in the appointment of someone with lively and current local knowledge and experience,” she said of Criena.
Tom Tate also backed the announcement saying he looks forward to seeing Criena shine in the role.
“Criena has been a breath of fresh air for the arts and culture community across our city,” the Mayor said. “Her passion and drive is obvious from the time you meet her and she has a real belief in the direction of the arts and culture movement.”
The new role encompasses the provision of leadership not only for the continuing successful life of The Arts Centre, but also its gradual transformation into the Cultural Precinct.
The precinct promises a much broader visitor experience with a new outdoor space (currently under construction), landscaped gardens, and a new Gallery (currently in concept design phase), adding to existing theatre, cinema and function activities.
Criena welcomed the new challenges of the role.
“The Gold Coast really is the land of opportunity,” she said. “Our local artists are becoming nationally recognised, residents and visitors are experiencing more great arts and culture than ever before, and there is substantial investment being made by local government in artists and infrastructure.”
“The Arts Centre Gold Coast has been a cornerstone of the arts on the Gold Coast, supporting local talent and bringing some of the best national and international arts experiences to the city.”
“The opportunity to be involved in growing this already great organisation into the cultural heartland of the Coast is a rare privilege,” she said.
Criena starts in the new role on 20 February 2017.