Gallery director's roles expanded

Cam McCracken, who was yesterday named as the permanent director of the Toitu Otago Settlers...
Cam McCracken, who was yesterday named as the permanent director of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and the Dunedin Chinese Garden. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The director of Dunedin's art gallery has taken two more institutions under his wing, and says he is looking forward to building on their strengths.

Dunedin Public Art Gallery director Cam McCracken was yesterday named as the permanent director of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and the Dunedin Chinese Garden.

Mr McCracken has been Dunedin Public Art Gallery director since 2012, and took on the other two roles in an acting capacity in August last year, following the resignation of former museum director Jennifer Evans.

Yesterday, as his combined role was made permanent, Mr McCracken said he was "hugely thrilled''.

"I feel very privileged.''

The new role placed Mr McCracken in a "strategic leadership position'', overseeing 58 fulltime-equivalent (FTE) staff and combined operating budgets worth $10.7million a year.

He was also responsible for ``extraordinary'' collections across all three institutions.

"Dunedin is blessed with incredible riches in its collections ... They are all leading institutions in a New Zealand context.

"And when you go overseas they compare very favourably with anything that you see overseas.''

His aim was to consolidate those strengths while working with staff to deliver "great cultural experiences'' for the city.

"Running a cultural institution is something that requires you to constantly adapt.

"Audiences are always looking for new opportunities, looking for new experiences, and part of our role, and the challenge we will face, will be moving into that exciting new future,'' he said.

Attention would also turn to planning for a "refresh'' of the seven-year-old Toitu museum in time for its 10th birthday, he said.

"We've got a little three-year window to work on a plan for a 10-year refresh ... I'm really keen to see what opportunities exist in that space.''

Dunedin City Council ara toi group manager Nick Dixon said Mr McCracken had done "a great job'' in the acting position.

At one stage it was thought Toitu would retain its own director post.

However, over the past year it had become apparent the roles could be combined to provide integrated leadership, Mr Dixon said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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