Homage to Art 颂扬艺术

Claire Spencer
Chief Executive Officer of Arts Centre Melbourne

Born and educated in the UK, and swerving from a linear career path, this dimensional power house went from a Cambridge degree in Theology to be a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young before settling down to her vocation in the performing arts. “Performing arts is kinda my thing.”

“Don’t be anxious about starting at the lowest grade in an organisation.  Don’t be afraid to come in at entry level.” 

Spencer switched from accountancy to arts when there was an opportunity to work at the Sydney Opera House.  “Coming from England, it was all very exciting to me. By the third day, I realised that this was an incredibly complex business with many different stakeholders, revenue streams, clients and enormous potential.  That was what attracted me.” What started out as a short assignment turned into 11 years with the Sydney Opera House before Spencer took up the Chief Executive Officer position with the Arts Centre Melbourne (ACM). 

Neither an art nor creative practitioner, Spencer serves as a catalyst that allows artists to showcase their talents to audiences who enjoy and are impacted by the performing arts. “At ACM we try to create a sustainable business that supports creative output. We are fortunate to have assistance from the Victorian and federal government, and generous philanthropists who believe in optimising financial and artistic outcomes. There is creativity in both pursuits.”

Having custody over ACM’s properties is no small feat. The Hamer Hall, State Theatre, Playhouse and Fairfax Studio are symbols of creativity. “Melburnians love these venues and are very invested in what we do and how we look after these buildings. There is also a constant demand for ACM’s world class facilities which are always booked out. It is a great problem to have but juggling the schedules can be quite tricky.” 

“Art is in the eye of the beholder. It can be entertaining and profound or deeply unsettling and make you cry. The impact is what defines it.”

Albeit initial self-doubts, Spencer is successful and effective at the helm of ACM. “There is still much work to be done.  The Victorian state government recently announced a major redevelopment of the art precinct involving ACM and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – an ambitious ten-year project which involves two new buildings, a complete refurbishment of the old buildings, a new public park that will encircle the ACM and NGV.  My intent is to stay as long as Melbourne will have me and to create an art centre that will serve the next two generations of Melburnians. That’s my passion.” 

在英国出生和受教育,Claire Spencer却偏离了直线性的职业道路,这名多维度的活力人物从取得剑桥神学学位,到成为安永会计师事务所(Ernst & Young)的特许会计师,再涉足表演艺术。“这也确认表演艺术才是我的归宿。”




作为ACM产业的管理人并非易事。Hamer Hall、中心剧院、表演厅和Fairfax Studio皆是艺术创造力的象征。“墨尔本人热爱这些场馆,对我们如何维护与看管这些建筑给与投资和响应。ACM世界级表演场馆设施总是被预订一空,从中可看到源源不断的需求。这里有个棘手问题,就是兼顾时间表的难度非常高。”



By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik