Farewell from Creative Partnerships

As we prepare to merge Creative Partnerships Australia into the Australia Council, our CEO, Fiona Menzies, reflects on her ten years at the helm of CPA.

Words from CEO, Fiona Menzies

As the functions of Creative Partnerships are being transferred across to the Australia Council, soon to be renamed Creative Australia, I would like to thank the many people who have contributed to the achievements of Creative Partnerships over the last ten and a half years.


Creative Partnerships has been privileged to have been served by a dedicated Board of Directors, who have been committed to our mission to encourage and facilitate private sector support for the arts, in order to grow a more sustainable, vibrant and ambitious arts and cultural sector.  I would like to pay tribute to our inaugural Chair, Carol Schwartz AO, who helped guide the merger of AbaF and Artsupport to create a new organisation with a new focus on building the capacity of the sector; and to our outgoing Chair, Dr Richard Dammery, who has guided the organisation through the process of being integrated into the Australia Council, ensuring that our programs and services are well-understood and will be continued in the future.


Creative Partnerships’ staff have been dedicated to our values of leadership, innovation, collaboration and openness, and our overarching principle that our role is to serve the arts sector and add value to it.  I am pleased that the majority of Creative Partnerships’ staff will stay in their roles after the transfer and continue to deliver our programs and services, including the popular matched funding programs, Plus 1 and Match Lab, the professional development program and, of course, the Australian Cultural Fund, which this year has facilitated more than $10 million of donations to artists.  It is also pleasing that Creative Partnerships’ network of state-based staff will be maintained, and will continue to provide advice and coaching to artists and arts organisations around the country.  Having a presence throughout the country has been a fundamental part of our strategy to ensure that we are engaging with artists and arts organisations throughout Australia, both to deliver programs and services to them, but also to hear from them about their challenges and successes.


On a personal note, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this role has been the opportunity to meet a wide range of people all working towards a common good: artists and arts organisations developing work to share with their communities, and donors and the broader philanthropic community whose support, commitment and encouragement helps this happen.  The Creative Partnerships Awards recognise and celebrate the best of this and has been a highlight each year.  The videos created for these events provide insights into what makes these relationships successful and are always worth revisiting when in need of inspiration.


I was fortunate to inherit the legacy of the organisations that preceded Creative Partnerships – AbaF and Artsupport – and was able to build on the great work they had done.  I am confident that the next stage is in good hands at Creative Australia, where there is an opportunity to further grow the culture of private sector support for arts and culture.