The National Gallery of Canada welcomes Jean-François Bélisle as its new Director and Chief Executive Officer
The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is pleased to welcome Jean-François Belisle as its new Director and Chief Executive Officer. His nomination for a five-year term was announced earlier today by the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Mr. Belisle will assume his new role on July 17, 2023.
For the past seven years, Mr. Bélisle served as Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette (MAJ), where he oversaw programming that consisted of 16 to 20 temporary exhibitions each year, along with countless community projects and activities. Before that, Mr. Bélisle occupied managerial positions in the visual arts world in numerous countries, beginning in the mid 1990s.
Known for his sharp artistic vision and philanthropic innovation, Mr. Bélisle transformed the MAJ by leveraging employees’ creativity to build a harmonious and motivating team spirit, while growing the museum community, increasing in-person attendance by over 100%.
Mr. Bélisle has curated many regional, national and international contemporary art exhibitions, including the first edition of the Papier Art Fair in downtown Montréal. He also organized the official visual arts representation of Montréal at the Shanghai World Expo of 2010. In addition, he has published a number of essays and exhibition reviews in national and international publications.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jean-François to the Gallery. He is a proven leader with an ability to advance the National Gallery of Canada’s five-year roadmap, Transform Together,” stated Françoise Lyon, Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees. “Jean-François’ art-focused tenure will continue the transformation of the Gallery into a national museum that is open to all Canadians, regardless of their political, religious or cultural identities.”
“I believe that art can change society, and look forward to collaborating with the Gallery’s staff, as well as artists from across the country, to ensure our institution continues to be a fantastic force for good,” stated Jean-François Belisle, the Gallery’s Director and CEO. “I also intend to engage with donors; and undertake consultations with the Gallery’s partners and other important stakeholders, including various national arts institutions and associations.”
“In addition, we will continue to pursue collaborative national projects to ensure the Gallery plays a leading role in Canadian visual arts from coast to coast to coast,” added Mr. Bélisle. “I firmly believe that by working as one with museums, galleries and art collectives across the country, together we can make a difference. At the same time, we will continue to pursue international projects to increase the presence of Canadian artists on the international art scene.”
Mr. Bélisle succeeds Angela Cassie, who served as Interim Director & CEO since June 2022.
“As we begin this next chapter, I would like to reiterate my deep appreciation to Angela Cassie, who served the Gallery selflessly in her interim role as Director & CEO, and prior that, as Vice‑President of Strategic Transformation and Inclusion,” remarked Ms. Lyon. “Angela was a steadfast and determined leader who was completely committed to the important work for which she was hired in pursuit of major transformations at the NGC.”
Mr. Bélisle holds a B.A. and an M.A. in art history from Concordia University in Montreal. His master’s thesis focused on the international reception of the exhibitions shown in the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale between 1986 and 2005. His full biography may be found here.
About the National Gallery of Canada
Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Indigenous art, and the most important collection of Canadian, and European art in the country. With a mandate to share the visual arts with Canadians, the National Gallery works with artists and arts organizations across the country and around the world through digital media, and through onsite exhibitions to share our collective story through art.
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