Farewell to Pam Bigelow, IACA’s inaugural Manager

After a decade of working tirelessly for Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Indigenous Art Centres, it is with much sadness we announce that Pam Bigelow will end her tenure as Manager of the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA).

Under Pam’s leadership, IACA has developed into a strong, independent, and effective advocacy organisation, working together with Indigenous Art Centres based in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait. IACA Chair Harold Ludwick reflects, “Pam has been a huge asset to IACA and she was instrumental in founding this important peak body. Having a dedicated and hardworking manager in place for the past ten years is the reason behind IACA’s success. It’s also important to acknowledge that managing a peak body has many challenges, emotionally and physically, and to have done this for ten years really shows Pam’s dedication to the Indigenous artists in our region.”

The decision to leave has been a difficult one for Pam, however she says, “IACA is now in a very secure place, with steady funding, an experienced Management Committee and amazing staff. I feel that now, while IACA is thriving, it is an appropriate time to step down and hand over the reins to a new manager.” Pam has prioritised succession planning, ensuring adequate time for recruitment and a comprehensive handover.

When Pam first began as Manager, the art centres in Far North Queensland were isolated from the national industry and were navigating operational challenges independently with no peak body to represent their interests.

Pam reflects, “The most rewarding aspect of being part of this amazing organisation is watching the Indigenous Art Centres develop and to see them come together as a whole under IACA. They are such a great bunch of people, and they all treat each other with great respect which really shows when we all get together at conferences and art fairs.”

Under Pam’s leadership, IACA has:

  •  IACA was Incorporated with a majority Indigenous Board within 12 months of operation.
  •  Managed over 20 IACA Professional Development Conferences.
  •  Published more than 20 IACA News.
  •  Established the IACA Arts Worker training program.
  •  Managed two major arts development exhibitions, Kinship and Belonging.
  •  Implemented Story Art Money (SAM) best practice software across the network.
  •  Represented IACA on national boards including DAAF and the Indigenous Art Code.
  •  Implemented research in economic and training needs for artists and artsworkers.
  •  Established essential services for art centres including HR, art storage, art fair support, IT support, counseling, legal support, and a members only dedicated resource web page.

Phil Rist Committee member and former IACA Chair says, “It is with mixed emotions I say goodbye to Pam Bigelow as our longstanding Manager of IACA. Pam arrived at a time when the type of leadership she brought to the table was needed. Her professionalism, her unwavering commitment and absolute tenacity to the cause was without question. As a previous Chair of the organisation I found our relationship was based on these fundamental principles. What I loved about Pam was her humour. Some would say what humour? Well there was this crazy little thing I felt helped us deal with issues more lightheartedly but at the same time, with an underlying seriousness. Pam has taken our organisation to another level and that will be in large part the legacy she leaves with us.”

Main image credit: Pam Bigelow at October 2019 IACA Conference.

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IACA programs and events receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, from the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, the Australia Council for the Arts and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government initiative. IACA supports the Indigenous Art Code.

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