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Appointment of new Curator/ Exhibitions Manager, Serena Bentley

The Tauranga Art Gallery Trust is pleased to announce a range of new appointments in early 2022. 

Most recent is the appointment of its new Curator/ Exhibitions Manager, Serena Bentley. Bentley, who has been Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) since 2017, takes up a newly developed role in May 2022. 

Having resided in Australia for 14 years, the New Zealand-born curator is excited to be returning home to take up the position. Bentley, who will be joined by her partner Justin and three-year-old daughter Theda, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to return home and make an impact on the art and culture in Tauranga. 

Observing from afar, Bentley says: “It is evident that the Gallery occupies an important role central to the cultural life of the city and the wider Bay of Plenty. I'm excited to be working with the Director and the Gallery team to build on the Gallery's rich programming and reputation by curating exhibitions and programmes that resonate with local, national and international audiences”.

An experienced curator and art writer, in addition to the ACMI Bentley has worked in a range of high-profile organisations in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Next Wave Festival, and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. In addition she has been an Australia Council for the Arts peer assessor, the recipient of a travel grant from the Ian Potter Foundation, and a curatorial resident at Cemeti Art House in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She has also worked in leading private galleries in both Australia and Aotearoa, including Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, and Starkwhite, Auckland.

Tauranga Art Gallery Director Stephen Cleland looks forward to welcoming Serena to the team. “Serena brings exceptional experience, talent and drive to the role. The international connections she brings to Tauranga, especially across some of Australia’s largest and most important cultural organisations will greatly support our ambitions to deliver world class exhibitions in the Bay of Plenty. We’re excited that we have lured one of Aotearoa’s most talented curators back to our shores.”

Other new appointments to the Gallery

Other new appointments to the Gallery include Megan Cleverley as Business Development Manager and we also welcome Leiona Tupou as our new Front of House Manager.
An active volunteer in the community, Cleverley has substantial leadership experience across various roles and organisations in the Bay of Plenty, including Sport Bay of Plenty and Tauranga City Council. At Council, she worked alongside community organisations to support them and build their operational and governance practices. In her new role she is excited about building the capacity of the organisation to continue offering quality art experiences for the community. She also “loves how the Gallery not only gives artists the opportunity to showcase their talents but also develops education programmes, which enable people of all ages and abilities to develop their creativity.”
Visiting the Gallery you will likely be greeted by newly appointed Front of House Manager Leiona Tupou, who in 2021 graduated from with a Bachelors of Creative Industries, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Tupou is enthusiastic about her new role and is “pleased to be able to offer leadership and training to the Front of House team.

“Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Patea River te awa
Ko Aotea te waka 
Ko Te Atiawa te iwi
Ko Pariroa te Marae
Ko Tupou tōku whānau
Ko Leiona tōku ingoa.” 

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