BEN WYATT TO CHAIR NEW-LOOK PERTH FESTIVAL BOARD
Former Treasurer of Western Australia Ben Wyatt has been appointed Chair of Perth Festival. Mr Wyatt succeeds Tim Ungar, whose term has expired after he successfully steered the Festival through the most challenging period in its 70-year history.
Starting on 1 April, three new members also join the Board after the appointments were confirmed by the Senate of The University of Western Australia, as Perth Festival’s founder and parent organisation.
New Board members Paul Downie, Delwyn Everard and Simon Yeo replace departing members Adrian Fini and David Flynn along with Mr Ungar.
Perth Festival Executive Director Nathan Bennett paid tribute to the departing board members for their contribution to the WA arts sector through the Festival and applauded their healthy appetite for creative risk, which has been a key driver of the Festival’s recent success.
‘The leadership of Tim, Adrian, David and their Board colleagues enabled the Festival to overcome Covid-related shutdowns, reduced revenues and many other challenges presented by the pandemic,’ Mr Bennett said.
‘As Board Chair since 2019, Tim has been a warm, caring, supportive leader, a fierce advocate of the Festival and a champion of the communities that we serve. He is deeply passionate about developing art in WA and about levelling the playing field to ensure all members of our community have access to great art.’
Mr Wyatt, who joined the Festival board in 2021, said he was thrilled to take on the role as Chair.
‘I’ve been coming to the Festival since I was a teenager, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to be Chair of this wonderful and innovative world-leading organisation,’ Mr Wyatt said. ‘I look forward to getting down to work with the Board and the Festival team to further embed Perth Festival in the hearts of all Western Australians and position Perth as a culturally vibrant destination for visitors from Australia and around the world.’
Mr Ungar said: ‘It has a been my immense pleasure to serve the community through Perth Festival, and for my family to be philanthropic supporters to improve life in Western Australia though the arts. I find myself continually in awe of artists across all fields of creativity and I am proud to have played a part in helping develop the local arts sector and enabling more people to experience the arts in WA.’
Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia Professor Amit Chakma welcomed Mr Wyatt as the new Chair and thanked Mr Ungar and outgoing Board members Mr Fini and Mr Flynn.
‘Mr Ungar and his fellow Board members led a drive to diversify Perth Festival’s funding and secure its long-term sustainability for the benefit of artists, audiences and the Western Australian public as a pillar of the University’s engagement with its community,’ Professor Chakma said.
'I congratulate them on their achievements in helping The University build a creative and connected community through the Festival and wish Mr Wyatt and the team all the very best in shaping a bright and inspiring future beyond this 70th anniversary year of Perth Festival.’