Art Fund appoints Sandy Nairne as new Chair

Sandy Nairne

Art Fund is delighted to announce today that Sandy Nairne will succeed Lord Smith of Finsbury as Chair of Trustees this autumn.

Sandy Nairne CBE FSA was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 2002-15. Over the course of a 45-year career in museums and galleries he has held positions at Tate, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Institute of Contemporary Arts as well as working in television and writing. His extensive governance and advisory experience includes roles with St Paul’s Cathedral, Maggie’s cancer care, Courtauld Collection, Seafarers Hospital Society, Clore Leadership Programme, National Trust, Mayor’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, The Wolfson Foundation and the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee.

Sandy Nairne said: “I am honoured to be appointed as Chair of Art Fund and to follow Chris Smith, who has led it with such distinction through a period of successful development. This is a dynamic, independent organisation that I admire tremendously. Art Fund is doing crucial work across the visual arts, particularly at a time when renewing collections, investing in expertise and extending engagement are vital to the culture and heritage of this country.”

Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, said: “I am delighted to welcome Sandy Nairne to Art Fund. He brings to the role of Chair a deep knowledge of the museum and gallery sector and a wealth of curatorial, operational and strategic experience. His insight will be invaluable as Art Fund continues in its mission: to enrich UK museum collections; build an ever increasing and more diverse audience for art and culture; and advocate for a thriving museum and gallery sector.

“All of us at Art Fund are hugely grateful to Chris Smith for his leadership of the charity since 2014. Although Chris has to retire from the board this autumn, we know that he will remain an important friend and ambassador for Art Fund and we look forward to celebrating his contribution over the coming months.”

Chris Smith, Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chairman, Art Fund, said: “I can think of no-one better than Sandy to take the work of Art Fund forward over the coming years. Over the last decade, we’ve led the way in saving the Wedgwood Collection for the nation, in rescuing Derek Jarman’s cottage at Dungeness, and in recently helping to secure the Reynolds portrait of Mai for the National Portrait Gallery. We’ve helped hundreds of museums and galleries up and down the country. We’ve supported scores of curators. We’ve enabled our 135,000 members to experience the joy and inspiration museums can bring. I’ve been so proud to lead this great organisation, and I warmly welcome Sandy to the role, and wish him well in carrying on Art Fund’s great work.”

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