SFU galleries welcome new director
On her first day preparing for her new position, Melanie O’Brian’s predecessor showed her how to hike up through the woods to the top of Burnaby Mountain and her office at SFU’s Burnaby campus.
Now the new director of SFU’s Audain, Teck and SFU art galleries plans to blaze new trails at home and abroad while transforming the galleries into a vibrant focal point for both the university and Metro Vancouver.
“I’m excited because I care deeply about the Vancouver art community and its position within the Canadian and international art scenes, and I think SFU can be a much bigger part of all that than it is now,” says O’Brian.
“Outgoing director Bill Jeffries did an amazing job of bringing the SFU Gallery in Burnaby and the Teck Gallery in Vancouver into the light. And I think there’s a huge opportunity to make them and the Audain Gallery at SFU Woodwards even more visible.”
A seasoned curator and administrator, O’Brian has a master’s degree in art history from the University of Chicago and comes to SFU from The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto where she was curator and head of programs.
She says she is thrilled to be back in Vancouver where she developed her curatorial and critical practice responding to the ever-evolving art and cultural landscape of the Lower Mainland.
As director/curator at Artspeak in Vancouver, one of Canada’s leading artist-run centres, she increased the institution’s visibility and funding to support its programming. Prior to that she was assistant curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“Melanie’s new role will be key to the promotion and implementation of a long-term vision for the galleries at SFU,” says VP-external relations Philip Steenkamp, “and I am confident that her expertise and experience will add significantly to this endeavour.”