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MacKenzie Art Gallery hires John Hampton as permanent executive director, CEO

The MacKenzie Art Gallery board of trustees announced the appointment of John G. Hampton as executive director and chief executive officer. File / Global News

The Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina has announced John G. Hampton as its executive director and CEO, the first Indigenous person to fill that role in a public art gallery in Canada.

Hampton was filling the role on an interim basis as of August 2020, but will take over full-time.

“I am humbled and incredibly proud to take on this work with such an inspiring team and community. The MacKenzie is my hometown gallery, and it has played an integral role in shaping some of my earliest understandings of the role of art and culture in our society,” Hampton said.

Read more: Shaping Saskatchewan — John Hampton

“I am honoured to be asked to continue the trailblazing work of forerunners like Bob Boyer, Lee-Ann Martin, Kate Davis, and so many more, as we work to live up to our role as caretakers of culture in this territory.

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“The MacKenzie has an exciting future ahead of it, and I intend to bring a spirit of interdependence, innovation, trust, wonder, and respect as we celebrate the deep art history of this land in tandem with the most innovative practices and conversations happening in Canada and beyond.”

Artist and search committee member Sherry Farrell-Racette said it was Hampton’s vision for the future that made his hiring an easy decision.

“We are particularly happy to see the MacKenzie follow its groundbreaking path in Indigenous curation— it was, as you know, the first public gallery to hire an Indigenous head curator—and now, we make history again by hiring the first Indigenous executive director and CEO of a public art gallery in Canada,” Farrell-Racette said.

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Hampton has spent two years working at MacKenzie and has focused on strengthening gallery programs around radical diversity, cultural health, writing art histories and transformation.

He also helped build a new digital lab, helped develop a Mitacs partnership with the University of Regina, and oversaw the restructuring of the Indigenous advisory circle and the appointment of the gallery’s first elder in residence, Betty McKenna.

Hampton chaired the newly formed equity task force and also worked alongside the U of R and artist Divya Mehra on the first-ever repatriation from the Norman MacKenzie collection of art.

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“John’s direction of the programming department has seen the implementation of new innovative digital programs and activities—work that has become even more vital over the past year, enabling us to continue to create transformative experiences of the world through art for our communities, even amidst the challenges of a pandemic,” said Nathan Schissel, MacKenzie’s board of trustees president.

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“John’s leadership and achievements at the Gallery have been invaluable over the past several years, and we are confident in his ability to enhance the MacKenzie’s strategic initiatives and objectives, inspire our community, and strengthen our role as a community leader in Saskatchewan and across Canada.”

Hampton joined the gallery as the director of programs in October 2018.

Click to play video: 'Shaping Saskatchewan: John Hampton' Shaping Saskatchewan: John Hampton
Shaping Saskatchewan: John Hampton – Sep 25, 2020
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