New Chair of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia Board

The Morrison Government has appointed Mrs Penny Fowler as Chair of the Board of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA) for a 3 year term, commencing on 1 January 2022.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said Mrs Fowler’s appointment as Chair will provide continued leadership of the Gallery with her extensive experience in the media and arts sectors and her significant knowledge of the Gallery as member of the Board over the past 5 years. 

“Like many arts institutions across Australia, the National Portrait Gallery has adapted to the challenges posed by the impacts of COVID-19 and embraced new opportunities to engage with audiences. Mrs Fowler has extensive media, marketing and governance experience and will be a valuable asset to lead the Gallery towards recovery from the COVID-19 impacts,” Minister Fletcher said.  

Mrs Fowler is the current Chair of the Herald and Weekly Times, Director of the Australian Ballet, Chair of the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, Deputy Chair of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and member of the Tourism Australia Board and Visy Advisory Board.

Minister Fletcher thanked the outgoing inaugural Board Chair Dr Helen Nugent AO for her contribution to the NPGA over the last 12 years. Dr Nugent has served as Chair of the NPGA Board since its commencement on 1 July 2013, and prior to that as Chair of the NPGA Advisory Board. Dr Nugent will leave the NPGA Board from 31 December after serving the 9 year statutory limit for members.

“Dr Nugent has made a truly outstanding contribution in developing the newest National Collecting Institution into a highly successful and much loved public institution. Her numerous achievements include successfully advocating for the Gallery’s transition to a statutory authority, establishing the Foundation to grow private support and financial resilience for the Gallery, and more recently her leadership in guiding the Gallery through the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 disruptions.”

Dr Nugent will continue her role as member of the Foundation Committee for a further 3 year term from January. 

The Government has also appointed the Hon Heidi Victoria as member of the Board for a 3 year term, commencing on 5 November. Ms Victoria has over 30 years’ experience of engagement in the arts, not-for-profit, and public service sectors. She has previously served as Victoria’s Minister for the Arts, Consumer Affairs and Women’s Affairs; the President and Director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation; and Director of the National Council of Women. She is an accomplished photographer, specialising in environmental portraiture and documentary photography.

Media contacts:

Christine Byllaardt | 0409 433 357 |