The State Government will look for a new head of the Art Gallery of WA as the top arts venue struggles with falling visitor numbers and dwindling donations.
The Weekend West understands the Government has decided not to renew the contract of director Stefano Carboni, who has led the institution since 2008.
It is believed Dr Carboni’scontract is due to expire in the middle of next year.
He was given a short extension last year but it is unclear whether he will leave the gallery before his contract officially ends.
The West Australian reported last month that donations to the gallery had plunged more than 70 per cent in the past financial year, with the Government pointing the finger at the sluggish economy.
Gallery visitor numbers have also fallen and concerns have been raised in State Parliament about poor storage of the institution’s $300 million artwork collection.
Dr Carboni was previously a senior administrator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Figures provided to Parliament show that gifts to the gallery’s foundation came to less than $250,000 in the 12 months to June this year, down from more than $850,000 the year before. The previous year the gallery received gifts of more than $1.1 million.
The collapse in receipts prompted shadow arts and culture minister Tony Krsticevic to claim he had concerns about the Government’s management of the gallery.
In August former Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh quietly stepped down as chairman of the gallery halfway through a three-year appointment.
The Government has committed $10 million to a project to renovate the rooftop and reinvigorate the gallery, creating new display spaces and a bar and cinema.
Forecasts in the 2018-19 State Budget predicted gallery income would fall to less than $3 million, down from $3.5 million in 2017-18.
The lower income has led to suggestions the Government could charge visitors to the gallery.