Maria Balshaw Officially Confirmed as New Director of Tate

Nicholas Serota’s successor is the institution's first woman director.

Maria Balshaw is new director of Tate. Photo Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for The Art Fund.
Maria Balshaw is new director of Tate. Photo Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for The Art Fund.

The rumors were true: Tate has officially appointed Maria Balshaw—currently director of the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries, as well as director of culture for Manchester City Council—as new director of Tate.

The organization sent a release this morning confirming that Balshaw’s appointment has been approved by the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May.

“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,” Lord Browne, Chairman of the Trustees of Tate, said in a statement.

Balshaw, the first woman to be appointed to the role, will take up the post on June 1. Meanwhile, Serota is taking up a part-time role as chairman of the Arts Council England on February 1.

“I am honored 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.” Balshaw said in a statement. “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.”

Balshaw, who is 46 years old, became the director of the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2006, leading a £15 million ($18 million) redevelopment of the university gallery. The Whitworth reopened February 2015, and that same year it won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year award.

In 2011, Balshaw also became director of Manchester City Galleries, and she’s been board member of Arts Council England since 2014.

Some of the most pressing tasks that the new director will have to tackle include completing the fundraising for the expansion of Tate Modern—with £20 million ($24 million) still required out of the total budget—as well as the reopening of Tate St Ives this March, which is also undergoing an expansion and renovation.


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