Our Board

CHAIR Bruce Esplin AM
Bruce is Chairman of Regional Arts Victoria, Deputy Chairman of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and and a non executive director of Emergency Warning Systems Ltd. He provides expert advice in the corporate and not for profit sector and is an occasional presenter on radio. The former Victorian Emergency Services Commissioner, he held executive positions in emergency management for over 20 years. He was Awarded the Centenary Medal for his public service in 2001, made a Fellow of Institute for Public Administration Australia (Victoria), and appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013 for significant service to emergency management. Bruce is a photographer, sculptor and passionate advocate and frequent speaker on the roles art plays in assisting individuals and communities rebuild their lives after trauma.

DEPUTY CHAIR Kaz Paton
Kaz first joined local government in Melbourne in the mid 1990s. She established the Culture & Leisure Department in the Colac Otway Shire in the late 90s. She is currently the Manager for the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong . Kaz has been a board member of many arts organisations. She was a founding board member of the Cultural Development Network of Victoria and was Vice Chair of RAV when she was last a board member (co-opted back to the Board in 2011). She is a 2012 Churchill Fellow. Before local government Kaz trained as an actor in Australia and the United Kingdom. She subsequently worked as an actor and community theatre worker both in Australia and overseas including four years as producer, actor and teacher with the National Improvisational Theatre Company in New York.

TREASURER Julie Stanley
Bachelor of Commerce; Member, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia; Registered Company Auditor. Julie is a former Assurance & Advisory Partner at Deloitte, having started with the professional services firm as a graduate.  A passionate supporter of the Arts, with a particular interest in visual arts. 

Elise Armitage
Bachelor of Arts – Anthropology and International Development, and currently completing Masters – Ethics and Legal Studies. Elise has extensive management and administrative experience in both public and not-for-profit sectors, across Arts, Health and Tourism. Elise has directed and managed many festivals, events and creative projects across Victoria, and is a practicing artist. 

Rebecca Brezzi
Rebecca, has degrees and qualifications in law, psychology and business systems. She is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and has taught in the areas of commercial, administrative and corporate law. Before becoming a lawyer, Rebecca was a senior project manager with the carriage of change management projects in the telecommunications, energy and IT sectors. Rebecca served five years (four as chair) on the board of Express Media, a not for profit organisation promoting young Australian writers.  

Peter Giddings
Diploma of Technical Teaching; Graduate Diploma of Education and Training (Technology). Peter is a Member of East Gippsland Shire Council Arts and Culture Strategic Advisory Board; Past President and current committee member Mallacoota Arts Council; and former Chairman, Technical Teachers Registration Board and Teachers Registration Council. He has over twenty years’ experience as a Technical / Secondary Design & Technology Teacher. 

Jes John
Jes John is one of the leading members (and currently the chairperson) of F.INC, which grew from (f)route, a hugely successful localism and community-based arts group in East Gippsland. She is also one of the founding members of Foundry, an arts co-operative retail store and collaborative office space, located in downtown Bairnsdale, which has been operating successfully for three years. Jes is socially-engaged in the best of ways, and has long recognised that art doesn’t always live inside galleries - it is often found within community, and builds strong connections between those regionally.

Emma Jones
After completing a Bachelor of Music (Jazz), Emma built a career in web and e-learning development working in Canberra, London and Melbourne. Experience gained working on many projects during this time led Emma to her current role as a Project Manager specialising in implementing IT systems in large organisations. Emma has a long association with arts organisations and projects in Northeast Victoria, including the King Valley Art Show and four years as deputy chair of Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. Her artistic practice spans music, printmaking and textiles. Qualifications: Bachelor of Music - Jazz Performance 2000 ANU, Diploma Software Development 2002, Dip Project Management 2015.

Martin Paten
Bachelor of Arts – Fine Arts in Photography, Graduate Certificate in Corporate Management. Martin is Director of Castlemaine State Festival. He is an artist, arts administrator and director in the public and private sector, and was ten years in a senior management position with City of Melbourne. Martin is Regional Arts Victoria's representative on the Regional Arts Australia board. 

Karen Whitaker-Taylor
Karen has been the Cultural Development Officer at Baw Baw Shire since 2007. She was a representative on the Cultural Tourism Victoria Board from 2008-2012; is a Regional Arts Fund Panel member; (Honorary) Member of the Baw Baw Arts Alliance, and has been involved on the Creative Gippsland Committee since 2004. Karen has a long association with many Community Arts activities in the Baw Baw Shire and also over the wider region through Creative Gippsland and the Gippsland Arts Festival.