Tate has a new Director: Maria Balshaw

Tate announced today that Maria Balshaw, currently Director of the Whitworth (University of Manchester) and Manchester City Galleries, and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council, has been appointed the new Director of Tate.

The appointment by the gallery’s Board of Trustees has been approved by the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP. The appointment of the gallery’s ninth director follows the decision by its current Director, Nicholas Serota, to take up the part-time role of Chairman of Arts Council England on 1 February 2017. Maria Balshaw will take up her new post on 1 June 2017. She is the first woman to be appointed to the role.

Maria began her career in academia before working for Arts Council England in Birmingham and then becoming Director of the Whitworth in 2006. She quickly became a key figure in the transformation of Manchester’s cultural sector, curating radical and popular programmes and expanding the city’s art collections. In recent years she spearheaded the Whitworth’s £17m transformation, which won Museum of the Year and was nominated for the Stirling Prize, and has been working towards the launch of Factory, a new arts venue and permanent home for Manchester International Festival. She was awarded a CBE for services to the arts in 2015.

Lord Browne, Chairman of the Trustees of Tate, said: ‘On behalf of the Trustees I am delighted to announce the appointment of Maria Balshaw as Tate’s new Director. The Trustees and I know that Maria has the vision, drive and stature to lead Tate into its next phase of development. We enthusiastically look forward to working with her as she does so.’

Maria Balshaw said:
‘I am honoured to be asked by the Trustees of Tate to become the new Director. Under Nicholas Serota’s leadership, Tate has changed forever how we all think about art and artists and has made visual art a central part of a vibrant cultural life in the UK. I am tremendously excited to be leading Tate in the next chapter of its life. I look forward to developing Tate’s reputation as the most artistically adventurous and culturally inclusive gallery in the world.’


Sir Charles Holroyd (1897–1906)
D S MacColl (1906–1911)
Charles Aitken (1911–1930)
James Bolivar Manson (1930–1938)
Sir John Rothenstein (1938–1964)
Sir Norman Reid (1964–1979)
Sir Alan Bowness (1980–1988)
Sir Nicholas Serota (1988 to present)
On 8 September 2016 it was announced Nicholas Serota would step down as Director of Tate in 2017.

Tate’s mission is to increase the public understanding and enjoyment of British art and international modern and contemporary art. Founded as the National Gallery of British Art by Sir Henry Tate in 1897, Tate is now a family of four galleries with over 7 million visitors a year: Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool in Merseyside and Tate St Ives in Cornwall. These are part of a wider network of partner institutions – the Plus Tate network – which champion the visual arts across the UK. One of the national museums funded by the Government, Tate is a non-departmental Public Body, whose prime sponsor is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Tate also manages a growing national collection of over 70,000 works of art, from paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints to photographs, films, installations and performances. These are acquired and cared for on behalf of the public and shown in venues throughout the country and across the world.

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