A stalwart at the coalface of arts advocacy, Tamara Winikoff has announced her retirement from two key peak arts organisations.
Tamara Winikoff in 2017 in the One Year Studio Artist Tom Polo's Artspace studio. Photo Maja Baska
For 22 years Tamara Winikoff OAM has lobbied for artists. Today, she announced her resignation as Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the peak national body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector.
The move follows her recent decision to step down as Co-Convenor of ArtsPeak, where she had been a driving force for 18 years.
James Emmett, Chair of NAVA paid tribute to Winikoff: ‘Tamara's contribution to NAVA, to Australian artists and to the sector as a whole has been extraordinary … Her passion, expertise and tireless energy will be heartily missed.’
Winikoff described her time at NAVA as a joy and privilege. She has garnered a reputation as a fierce cultural commentator, most recently with the #freethearts campaign through ArtsPeak, which ultimately resulted in the axing of Catalyst.
NAVA lost its multi-year organisational funding under Federal government cuts to the arts.
She said: ‘As an arts activist and campaigner I have had to navigate some fascinating challenges because the environment for the arts in Australia is very volatile. But that is what has kept me addicted for so long.
‘Looking back over the years, I feel tremendously proud of what our small, committed, expert organisation has achieved on behalf of Australian arts and artists.'
Winikoff has announced she will pursue independent consultancy work.
Winikoff’s achievement at NAVA include securing 15 years of substantial increases in government funding for the whole sector as a result of the Myer Inquiry which continues to the present; development of the Code of Practice which sets best practice standards for the visual arts industry; being the founder of the Australian Design Alliance and co-founder and co-convenor of Artspeak, (the confederation of national peak arts organisations); leading the push for the introduction of the Artists Resale Royalty and Artists Moral Rights; with National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), securing the mandating of visual arts in the national curriculum for schools; and launching a 30 year vision document, the National Agenda for the Visual Arts at NAVA’s 30th anniversary celebration event at Parliament House in Canberra.
In 2004 she was awarded the Australia Council's Visual Arts/Craft Emeritus Medal for outstanding achievement and contribution to the visual arts and craft in Australia, and in 2014 she was awarded an Order of Australia.
Winikoff will remain a part of the ArtsPeak membership and on the Interim Executive. She founded and co-convened the organisation with Julie Dyson.
Winikoff concludes at NAVA on 30 June. The organisation will be conducting a national recruitment campaign to find a new leader.