• City of Newcastle

City of Newcastle presents a Key to the City

Veteran art director and curator Nick Mitzevich was bestowed a Key to the City of Newcastle by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes during an intimate ceremony yesterday at Newcastle Art Gallery.

The Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Mr Mitzevich began his career in Newcastle, studying a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle and gaining Graduate Diplomas in Education and Fine Art, serving as the Director of Newcastle Art Gallery for six years.

During his tenure, Mr Mitzevich brought community engagement, programming, marketing and collection development – particularly contemporary Australian art – to the fore, boldly transforming the Gallery in these areas.

Today, he remains a passionate advocate and supporter of the proposed $35.6 million Newcastle Art Gallery Expansion to key decisionmakers and governing bodies in Canberra, touting Newcastle as a creative arts hub that fosters creativity and produces world-class talent.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes commended Mr Mitzevich for his service to the arts and presented him with a Key to the City in front of esteemed friends, family and colleagues.

“The Key to the City is a significant honour under the City of Newcastle Ambassador Program, which recognises the efforts of Novocastrians, both residing in our City and in other parts of Australia and the world, in promoting our City,” Cr Nelmes said.

“While Mr Mitzevich’s impressive career has taken him to Queensland, South Australia and most recently the ACT, it is clear from his advocacy for Newcastle Art Gallery and the region as a whole that Newcastle has remained close to his heart, and we look forward to working with Mr Mitzevich as an ambassador for the City.”

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton wholeheartedly endorsed Mr Mitzevich’s induction to the Ambassador Program.

“It is wonderful to see my professional colleague and dear friend Nick Mitzevich, former Director of our beautiful Gallery and now the Director of the National Gallery of Australia, receive this prestigious award,” Ms Morton said.

“Nick continues to be a proud advocate and supporter of Newcastle’s much-loved Art Gallery and it is a pleasure to be hosting his Ambassadorship ceremony here.”

Chair of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation, Suzie Galwey, said the Foundation was pleased to submit Mr Mitzevich’s worthy nomination to the City of Newcastle Award Panel.

“Advancing Newcastle Art Gallery, its collection and its exhibitions, is at the core of everything we do at the Foundation. The Board is pleased to formally recognise Mr Mitzevich’s ongoing contributions to our mission, and we were delighted to be able to nominate him for the Ambassador Program,” Ms Galwey said.

“The Foundation shares the City’s ambition to further the Gallery's reputation as a world-class cultural institution, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Mr Mitzevich for the benefit of the Gallery and the City.”

Upon receiving the Key to the City, Mr Mitzevich thanked the City of Newcastle and acknowledged his role as a former Novocastrian in proudly promoting the City.

“It is an honour and a privilege to receive a Key to the City of Newcastle, my hometown which represents a significant chapter in my life and my career,” Mr Mitzevich said.

“In upholding the values of the Ambassador Program as the City’s newest inductee, this award reaffirms my continued commitment to the City of Newcastle and its rich arts scene.”

Mr Mitzevich is the eighth individual or organisation to receive a Key to the City of Newcastle since the program’s inception in 2017, joining the ranks with Naval Officer Anita Sellick, former University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen, Breast Cancer Trials, Newcastle Eye Hospital Foundation, The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, Youth With a Mission medical vessel The Ruach, and businesswoman and media personality Jackie Gillies.

Picture caption: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Nick Mitzevich and Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton.

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