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News / May 13, 2014

Biennale of Sydney CEO to Lead Harbourfront Centre

Incoming Harbourfront CEO Marah Braye, presently CEO of the Biennale of Sydney in Australia. Photo: Anthony Whelan. Incoming Harbourfront CEO Marah Braye, presently CEO of the Biennale of Sydney in Australia. Photo: Anthony Whelan.

A leader with strong experience in contemporary art is slated to direct the future of one of Toronto’s largest multidisciplinary arts venues.

Marah Braye, currently CEO of the Biennale of Sydney in Australia, has been announced as the next CEO of Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. She is due to begin the job August 5 following the conclusion of this year’s Biennale of Sydney.

Braye replaces founding Harbourfront CEO Bill Boyle, who has spent 23 years in the job and announced his plans to retire in August 2013. Prior to his role as CEO, Braye was also founding director of the Power Plant, which is part of Harbourfront Centre. Boyle will continue to lead Harbourfront until Braye arrives.

Marah Braye became CEO of the Biennale of Sydney in 2006. Prior to that, she was general manager of Sherman Galleries, an Australian commercial gallery. She has also worked in publishing as an editor at HarperCollins and elsewhere.

During Braye’s tenure at the Biennale of Sydney, the event expanded to include exhibitions on the World Heritage site Cockatoo Island and won awards including Australian Event of the Year.

Yet the biennale has not been without controversy; this year, nine artists pulled out due to concern about the involvement of Transfield Holdings, a company which in part supplies services to Australian immigration detention facilities. (According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, seven artists returned after “Transfield Holdings director and Biennale chairman Luca Belgiorno-Nettis resigned from the board on March 7.”)

In a release, Braye stated, ““I am very excited to have accepted this role. Harbourfront Centre is a landmark international institution and an extraordinary cultural centre.””

In the same release, Boyle said, “I look forward to handing over the organization to a new generation of cultural leader so that Harbourfront Centre can continue to be a driving force in contemporary international culture while celebrating the diverse cultures that comprise our city and our country.”