Melanie O’Brian, the new director of Simon Fraser University’s Audain, Teck and SFU art galleries, plans to transform 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 Philip Steenkamp, “and I am confident that her expertise and experience will add significantly to this endeavour.”
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Melanie O’Brian, 778.782.4266; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.4323/9017; email@example.com
Simon Fraser University
Public Affairs/Media Relations (PAMR)