Regional Arts Victoria announces new strategic plan and executive leadership

RAV Executive TeamRegional Arts Victoria announces a renewed strategic direction for the organisation, with a strong focus on Partnerships, Programming and Projects. This marks a transition from nurturing the creative places of regional Victoria, to facilitating and fostering creative practice, as their key artistic focus.

To accommodate this new framework, an internal restructure has created three new Director roles and one Executive Director role as the organisation’s new CEO.

  • Liz Zito, Regional Arts Victoria’s Cultural Partnerships Manager since 2012, takes on the new role of Director of Partnerships. Liz will oversee our network of Regional Cultural Partners and Creative Arts Facilitators, as well as Membership, with a long-term view on creative capacity-building.
  • Justin Murphy, Regional Arts Victoria’s Performing Arts Touring manager since 2016, takes on the new role of Director of Programming. Justin will oversee programming across touring in performing arts and other artforms, as well as our Arts & Education and Connecting Places programs, with a long-term view on regional connections.
  • Esther Anatolitis, Regional Arts Victoria’s Director since 2012, takes on the new role of Director of Projects. Esther will oversee Small Town Transformations and Artlands, as well as taking a long-term view on devising future projects.
  • Joe Toohey has been appointed Regional Arts Victoria’s new Executive Director.

“I’m delighted to announce Regional Arts Victoria’s new strategic focus and new leadership,” said Bruce Esplin AM, Chair of the Regional Arts Victoria Board. “I thank our Members and key stakeholders who have offered their wisdom as we have planned through this new focus.”

“Joe Toohey has proven his passion and expertise time and again, and the Board is confident that regional arts will thrive in our state during his tenure. Succession planning has been an ongoing conversation at governance level, and with that in mind, we recruited Joe to ensure that Regional Arts Victoria’s strengths in advocacy and leadership would remain strong into the future.”

“Esther Anatolitis has been an inspirational change agent for the organisation, and I look forward to her continuing contribution as Director of Projects. I am equally thrilled to present both Liz Zito and Justin Murphy in roles of senior leadership that build on their capabilities. This leadership team of four offers regional arts a sophistication of collaboration, insight and creativity.”

Joe Toohey brings a wealth of administrative and management experience to this role, gained at SYN Media, Express Media, Macleod YMCA, Victoria University, and Footscray Community Arts Centre, whose board he serves as Treasurer.

Born and raised in Albury, Joe has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing / Music Industry) and Master of Arts Management, and is an alumnus of the Australia Council Emerging Leaders Program. Joe has held the executive leadership role of General Manager at Regional Arts Victoria since 2013, and has been involved with the company since 2008.

“I’ve been working at or with Regional Arts Victoria for close to 10 years now,” Joe Toohey said. “My passion for the work we do with artists, audiences, communities, Members, staff and board has only deepened over this time; I feel part of something big, exciting and important.”

“A key reason I’ve enjoyed working here has been the strong leadership of the organisation,” continues Joe. “This new leadership team builds on this strength, with Esther Anatolitis turning her considerable expertise to the development and delivery of major projects; Justin Murphy overseeing our newly formed and focused Programming team; and Liz Zito managing critical partnerships across the state.”

During this exciting time for Regional Arts Victoria, they are planning their next major project: Artlands Victoria (5 – 9 September 2018), the presentation of the long-running Regional Arts Australia biennial, with key locations to be announced in coming months. In 2019, the organisation celebrates its fiftieth year – looking forward to a time of reflection, celebration and reinvigoration.

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Justin Murphy, Esther Anatolitis, Joe Toohey, and Liz Zito – courtesy of Regional Arts Victoria