Northern Territory Government Newsroom

National Aboriginal Art Gallery: National Reference Group Appointed

Another important step towards delivering the job creating National Aboriginal Art Gallery was achieved today with Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss announcing members of the National Reference Group.

The Group will provide advice on delivery of the project, advocate nationally and help progress the recommendations outlined in the expert steering committee report on the implementation and operation of the Gallery.

Built in the heart of Australia, the National Aboriginal Art Gallery will become a globally significant institution that celebrates Aboriginal art and culture and create jobs and economic opportunities. 

This is a project that will capture the hearts and minds of the nation as an emblem for a shared future between our first peoples and the broader Australian community.

The expressions of interest process returned a significant number of individuals with expertise in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, Aboriginal tourism development, corporate fund-raising and philanthropy.

The National Reference Group members include local Arrernte traditional owner Mr Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens, (Apmereke artweye for Mparntwe, Alice Springs), co-Chair of the Initial Scoping Steering Committee, Desart CEO, Mr Phillip Watkins, the most recent director of the National Gallery of Australia, Mr Gerard Vaughan, AM, and Chairperson of the Aboriginal Tourism Advisory Council, Ms Helen Martin.

Based on a two-year term, 15 members will be appointed from across Australia including:


Local (Alice Springs):

Meanwhile, other critical project planning activity is underway including recruitment for a Project Implementation team (which will work with and take guidance from the National Reference Group) to be located in Alice Springs, and developing an Aboriginal Workforce and Enterprise Development Plan to achieve majority Aboriginal management and workforce by the time the Gallery opens in 2022.

For more information visit: 

Quotes from Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss

“The Gallery will showcase and celebrate a globally significant, Australia-wide art collection from the world’s oldest continuous culture.

“It will attract thousands of visitors from across the globe every year and will create hundreds of local jobs during construction and create and support hundreds of ongoing jobs once complete. It will deliver significant flow-on benefits to local business.

“The Territory has been overwhelmed with support and encouragement, to deliver on what will certainly become a globally significant institution dedicated to the celebration, display and interpretation of incredible artwork drawn from across the continent.

“We promised this Gallery and we will deliver an exciting and important institution that will celebrate culture, attract visitors, and create new business and jobs in Alice Springs.” 


Media contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242