Arts leader appointed CEO of ARTRAGE 

Published: Mon, Aug 7 2023
Posted in Media Releases
Arts leader appointed CEO of ARTRAGE 
Experienced Artistic Director and Arts Leader Jo Thomas has been appointed as the CEO of the not-for-profit arts organisation, ARTRAGE. 

Ms Thomas is currently the CEO/Artistic Director of Metro Arts, an established Brisbane arts presenter that is an incubator and launchpad for some of Australia’s finest new artists.  

The new CEO of ARTRAGE brings to the organisation her considerable experience as an organisational leader, performance-maker, creative producer, Churchill Fellow, Telstra Business Woman of the Year, and member of the Asian Producers Platform. 

Ranked as the largest arts organisation in Western Australia for earned revenue, ARTRAGE is the producer of FRINGE WORLD Festival, Rooftop Movies, Girls School, regional tours and other major events that enliven and benefit our state. 

ARTRAGE Chairperson Kyle Jeavons said that Ms Thomas is a fantastic appointment to achieve the organisation’s goals of supporting artists and reaching new audiences. 

“We are thrilled to have Ms Thomas at the helm of ARTRAGE as we enter the organisation’s 40th year of operation. ARTRAGE delivers arts experiences unlike anything else on offer in WA, and has proved hugely valuable to the State delivering a massive $137 million in economic impact, entertaining more than 600,000 attendees and facilitating paid work for more than 2,500 artists and creatives in the 2022/23 FY,” Mr Jeavons said. 

Ms Thomas said, “I am looking forward to joining the ARTRAGE team in the wonderful West and working with local artists and organisations. ARTRAGE is a powerhouse of creative activity and we will be rolling out many more fantastic offerings for locals and visitors alike over the next few years. I can’t wait to get started.” 

ARTRAGE gives its heartfelt thanks to Anthony Robinson, who has served as the Interim CEO since April. The term as Interim CEO caps off Dr Robinson’s considerable contribution to the organisation, having served as a Board Member and Chairperson for more than a decade.  

Ms Thomas commences at ARTRAGE in early October. 


Key results from the ARTRAGE 2022/23 Impact Report:   

  • Ranking: ARTRAGE proudly ranks among the top 10 arts organisations in WA, seventh in total revenue, number one in earned revenue, and tenth for total government support. 
  • Government Support: ARTRAGE total state government support equates to $3 per attendee, the next lowest arts organisation receives more than $30 per attendee from the state government, while support tops out at over $100 per attendee for other arts organisations. 
  • Economic: Economic analysis by Culture Counts assessed that the Festival delivered $48 million in direct economic impact and that for every $1 invested by the WA state government into ARTRAGE, $26 was stimulated and spent in the local economy.  
  • FRINGE WORLD Festival 2023: featured 550 events, 115 venues, 2,500+ artists, 560,000+ attendances at free and ticketed events and $6.3 million was paid to participating artists and venues from ticket sales.  
  • Tourism: FRINGE WORLD audience and artist participation from interstate and overseas people returned to pre-COVID levels, with 49% of artists originating either interstate or overseas. The Festival recorded 48,000+ bed nights from the visitors, which is an increase on the event’s pre-COVID record.  
  • Audience: The Festival has untapped audience growth potential with 45% of accounts on the FRINGE WORLD website coming from new customers, 96% of audiences planning to attend FRINGE WORLD again in 2024. Additionally, average tickets sold for shows is currently a healthy 49% with significant stock available for purchase by new customers. Ticket purchasers come from every residential postcode in the Perth metropolitan area.  
  • Cultural Sector: The Festival has a positive flow-on impact for the cultural sector with 90% of audiences likely to take greater risks and see less well-known arts events in the future and 84% are more likely to attend more arts events in the future because of their visit to FRINGE WORLD. 
  • Artists: 82% of artists were satisfied with their experience at FRINGE WORLD and 67% agree that participating is important to the development of their craft. 
  • Businesses: 72% of surveyed businesses in Northbridge and Perth CBD think that FRINGE WORLD has a significant positive impact on their business and 77% indicated their level of trading increased during FRINGE WORLD. 
  • Employment: The ARTRAGE workforce that delivered the Festival’s umbrella activities and presented the ARTRAGE Fringe Hubs consisted of 664 staff and contractors, with 261 volunteers. Of the 115 independent venues in the 2023 Festival, they employed 2 to 110 people per venue, 44% of independent venues employed additional staff during the period of FRINGE WORLD Festival to cover the increased level of trading. 


Read the 2022/23 ARTRAGE Impact Report here.


Media Enquires 

Sian Collins, Buzz Marketing
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