Our Board of Management

The BAF Board is a hard-working voluntary body made up from members of the local community with experience and expertise across the arts, business, education and community development, gained in Australia and overseas. We recognise that continuing to review the organisation’s direction and governance is key to achieving our goals in a credible way. In 2016, a new strategic direction was adopted to ensure future viability and sustainability. The skill and experience of Board Members and Associates are focused in committees dedicated to three functional areas:

  • Finance & Governance

  • Grants & Alumni

  • Fundraising & Communications

In this model, the Finance and Governance committee oversees the strategic and administrative operations of the organisation. The Board meets on a monthly basis to coordinate the annual program, with focus committees working on their respective projects in the interim. An Executive Assistant, in a paid position, underpins the work of the Board. Additionally, BAF enjoys the expertise of an Honorary Legal Officer to ensure adherence to relevant industry regulations and standards.


Paula Nicholson


Paula has always had a keen interest in performing arts. She studied singing, piano and music theory throughout her education, has been involved in musical theatre and has performed with bands and in duos. After obtaining a degree in science, her career took her into customer service management and human resources. Through voluntary community based activity, she gained extensive experience in fundraising and event management. She enjoys using her skills to contribute to the local community as a member of various boards and committees of not-for-profit organisations. Paula believes her membership of the BAF Board allows her to encourage the broader community to be involved with the local arts community to help artists to launch their careers, and in turn, enjoy the rewards that the arts offer.


Andrew Henwood

Treasurer / Vice Chairperson

Andrew is a graduate of the University of Ballarat (now Federation University), and holds a Diploma in Accounting, and an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management. He is a graduate from the LBWR Community Leadership Program and he has extensive experience in the Not-for-Profit (NFP) sector working closely with disadvantaged sections of the Ballarat community, including in a financial management role in one of Ballarat’s largest NFP organisations. Andrew is currently Operations Manager for a boutique hotel management business based in Ballarat and he plays an active role in the management of his family-owned bakery. In addition to his role as Treasurer of BAF, Andrew is a Board Member of the Ballarat National Theatre, and a Committee Member for Leadership Ballarat and Western Region. His board membership of BAF allows him to contribute to the community through his expertise in accounting and finance.



Ben Brown

Public Officer

Ben, whilst not being an artist himself, has a great appreciation and admiration for the abilities and the cultural contribution that performing and visual artists contribute to the social fabric. Ben has extensive experience in business management, strategy, organisational governance and development, and qualifications in Computing and Network systems. Ben considers BAF to be an important component of the community, in its commitment to supporting emerging artists.



Wendy Rechenberg

Board Member

Wendy has been immersed in music and education her whole life. After graduating from the VCA where she found a love of accompanying, she worked 20 years in England working as a piano teacher and accompanist, collaborating with singers from most of the major opera companies and performing in all major venues. Since returning to Australia, Wendy has performed with many well-respected artists including Jane Rutter, Jacqueline Dark, and Patron of Ballarat Arts Foundation, David Hobson. She has accompanied and coached hundreds of local students for AMEB and VCE examinations. Her passion for music and education is reflected in her Master in Visual and Performing Arts, which explored the challenges of being a music director in an educational institution. Wendy has lectured in repertoire and was music director at the Arts Academy, Federation University for 12 years. She teaches piano at Ballarat Grammar and is an accompanist and piano teacher at Sacré Cœur School in Glen Iris.



kiri Smart

Board Member

Kiri moved to Ballarat in the mid 1990’s to study sculpture with Peter Blizzard and Adrian Mauriks. She has a BA in Sculpture from the University of Ballarat (now Federation University) and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the University of Melbourne. Kiri has worked in various community and private arts organisations including Anachronism Access Gallery, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Ballarat Winter Festival and Grainery Lane Theatre and Gallery. In addition to the BAF Board, Kiri is on the Board of Ballarat Arts Alive. Currently employed at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Kiri is passionate about the local arts scene and keeps up her own art practice in her spare time.


Tara Poole

Board Member

Tara is a senior communications specialist with a strong passion for delivering campaigns that make a difference. She has over twenty five years experience in developing complex and award-winning communications strategies across traditional and online media outlets. She has worked on sensitive behaviour change issues right across to retail promotion. Tara is also the co-founder of The Lost Ones Contemporary Art Gallery in Ballarat, focusing on developing high standards of contemporary art within the regions. Her passion is to celebrate the skills and knowledge of an artists' practice, to make contemporary art accessible and to introduce challenging thinking to the traditional gallery model. She believes high art, film-making, illustration, performance, digital media, street art, oil painting and taxidermy all cross over in a basic urge within all of us to make and create.


Bronwyn Blaiklock

Board Member

Bronwyn is an innovator who brings together strategic leadership skills with high profile activity and achievement in professional writing and performing arts. Over the last 20 years, she has worked in the arts and tertiary education sectors in three states as a pianist, artistic director, arts administrator, adjudicator, writer and educator. Bronwyn has contributed to statewide literary initiatives as a Board member of Writers Victoria (2009-2014) and the National Advisory Council for Australian Poetry (2011), and also local not-for-profit organisation, Ballarat Writers Inc. (Chair 2007-2012). She is the brainchild of the Pure Poetry Project, which has fostered and premiered new collaborative performance works by emerging and established writers and musicians since 2004. Bronwyn is also a published poet. She has read her work at the Overload Poetry Festival, The Newstead Short Story Festival, and Clunes Booktown work among others, and her poetry has appeared in numerous Australian anthologies. Bronwyn currently works in two areas at Federation University: academic skills advising, and community engagement in the Arts Academy.



associate professor sam henson

Board Member

Dr. Sam Henson is Head of Campus (Ballarat) at Federation University Australia. His position entails broad oversight of the five Ballarat campuses including the historic SMB (Lydiard St) and Arts Academy (Camp St) campus precincts.

Sam has been an honorary research associate with the Centre for Regional Innovation and Competitiveness (CRIC) and has research interests in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), sustainable community and regional development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement strategies.

Whilst laying no claim to any personal artistic talent, Sam was surrounded by music and art as a child. His grandmother was an accomplished soprano and pianist, and his mother paints, writes, and plays the piano and guitar.

Michael Whitehead.jpg

Michael whitehead

Board Member

 Mike, initially schooled in Ballarat, studied Medicine in Melbourne, specialised in Anaesthesia, and returned to Ballarat in 1986. He has been involved in the local musical theatre community as President of Ballarat Lyric Theatre since 2007. He also has an interest in visual art with a tendency to modern Australian and overseas artists. His other ‘cultural’ pursuits include thoroughbred horses,, AFL and Real/Royal Tennis. He advocates for the exposure and advancement of local talent in all of the art forms to achieve their goals both locally and beyond. He was a recipient of the Ballarat South Rotary-BAF Denis Bateman Award for contribution to the Ballarat Arts community.