Michael Snelling is an arts and management consultant and arts producer. He was founding Director of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and previously Chief Executive Officer of Major Brisbane Festivals; CEO and Artistic Director of the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane and the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide; and Director of the Australian Centre for Photography Workshop in Sydney. For five years he managed the visual arts and crafts National Infrastructure and Projects Portfolios in the Australia Council. He is also a photographer and has held lecturing positions at universities in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
He has been Artistic Director of organisations and events and curator of numerous exhibitions. He has devised and produced local and international projects and residencies with artists in several artforms. He was AJAN Resident at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. He was curator of Someone’s Universe: The Art of Eugene Carchesio for the Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art; Australian Commissioner for the 10th Indian Triennale; and the survey exhibition Tracey Moffatt, of which he was the curator, toured in Asia.
His artistic programs at the Experimental Art Foundation and the Institute of Modern Art featured local, national and international contemporary artists, writers, performers and curators drawn from many parts of the world. He is partial to both the established and the emerging, and to speculative practices underpinned by the traditions that enable experimentation. His expertise extends to exploring different modes of curating, understanding and experiencing art.
He has been publisher, editor and managing editor of over thirty books and numerous smaller catalogues in the areas of art history and criticism, monographs and exhibition catalogues.
His consultancy services provide strategic and business planning, project and event management and artistic direction. His clients include all levels of government and the commercial and not-for-profit sector.
He is currently the Chair of Artbank. He has also been a board member of the Bundanon Trust, La Boite Theatre, a selector for Australia’s representation at three Venice Biennales and the Indian Triennale, Chair of the New Media Arts and Acting Chair of the Visual Arts/Craft Boards, and a Councillor, of the Australia Council. He was also a member of the Task Force that restructured the Australia Council in 2004, a member of the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Arts Advisory Committee, the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency, the Brisbane Inner City Advisory Committee, the Cultural Network of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and Deputy Chair of ELISION Contemporary Music Ensemble.
He was President of CAOs (Contemporary Art Organisations of Australia), Chair of the Asialink Visual Arts Committee, Chair of the Queensland Government’s Visual Arts, Crafts, Design and Museums Panel and a member of the Queensland Government Cultural Advisory Council.
He played a lead role in the planning and establishment of the Lion Arts Centre in Adelaide and the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia.