After a lengthy wait the ALSO Foundation has appointed a new chief executive officer.
Melbourne arts industry identity and queer arts advocate Crusader Hillis will take over the role in early May.
ALSO Foundation president Jason Rostant told Southern Star Hillis stood out with his impressive experience in the Australian arts sector and community organisations.
“Crusader is highly respected both in our community and the wider community. His focus on engaging is really diverse, particularly his work with women, people with disabilities, Indigenous [people] and the trans community,” Rostant said.
“He has a long background in the arts industry and one of the things we’re particularly excited about is his way of working in a grassroots community development way that will work well with ALSO.”
The position of CEO had been vacant since Lyn Morgain’s departure in October.
“We were very clear about the kind of person we were keen to have in the position. We weren’t able to find that person in the first round. The second round fell at Christmas, but we’re through that,” Rostant said.
“It was worth that little bit extra to find the right person.”
Transgender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner welcomed Hillis’ appointment.
“Crusader has been a supporter of the trans community for as long as I can remember and longer,” she told Southern Star.
“He has a way of connecting, or seems to get on with all parts of the community. While he is from an arts background he is still very politically aware and understands the issues people face.”
OutBlack convenor Bryan Andy told Southern Star he was also supportive of the appointment.
“From an OutBlack perspective, it’s a really great thing. Crusader’s been a great supporter of Indigenous and disabled artists at Gasworks.”
Hillis’ credentials include two decades experience in the arts sector. He co-founded the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, worked with the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and served as a board member with the Victorian Writers’ Centre.
In recent times Hillis was director of Gasworks Arts Park and will leave the role for the ALSO position.
Hillis also co-owns queer bookstore Hares and Hyenas with his partner Rowland.