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Head of the pack

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February 02, 2018

John Head has been appointed new chairman of the SAM Foundation.

A familiar face and wise head in the arts scene has been appointed new chairman of the SAM Foundation, the body tasked with philanthropic fundraising for Shepparton’s new art museum.

John Head yesterday took the reins as head of the foundation from outgoing chairman Peter Quinn, who said the new leader would inject energy into the foundation’s activities at a pivotal phase.

The fundraising entity has so far raised $3.5 million worth of philanthropic and private contributions.

The group’s targets include a total $4.5 million for capital costs, and then about a further $8 million towards the ongoing operational costs of the forthcoming facility.

‘‘At this juncture I think the opportunity to inject fresh energy and focus into the fundraising component of the project is too good to refuse and with someone like John, his credentials in the arts and broader community, it’s a great opportunity to take that to the next step, to bring this thing to fruition,’’ Mr Quinn said.

He said the foundation was on target for the capital component of the fundraising, while Mr Head said the first funding commitment goal would be to provide $1.7 million for the cost of building in June this year.

Mr Quinn said the foundation was developing a solid future fundraising strategy.

‘‘We’ve engaged appropriate resources to do that. It’s a very exciting phase,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll see some movement down at this site in the coming days.’’

A humble Mr Head said he had been impressed at the work the foundation had so far achieved.

He argued the new SAM would improve livability, creative and cultural tourism, which in turn would positively influence the economy, creating incentive for people to work and live in Shepparton.

‘‘I think Shepparton will start to stand up more as a cultural place,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a place people can come to, and say, ‘wow how did they do this?’’’

He said the facility importantly threw up an opportunity to take on prominent touring exhibitions, previously not possible in the Goulburn Valley.

Mr Head said the key role of the foundation’s activities was important to ensure the museum’s sustainability for the region.

‘‘There are always challenges with any sort of fundraising,’’ he said.

‘‘This is something the foundation has been working hard with.’’

He said people and families had been generous in a short period of time, but that the foundation was always open to talking about other possibilities.

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