Rebecca Kais is an arts manager who approaches her work through a social impact lens. She has diverse experience across a 10-year career and is currently working in the role of Foundation Manager at the Art Gallery of Western Australia where she is responsible for growing philanthropic support for the State Art Gallery.
Rebecca is also a voluntary coordinator of the WA Cultural Development Collective – a sector-driven professional development group that promotes peer-to-peer learning in the arts fundraising community. Previously she spent three years at Perth Festival including as Development Manager for the 2015 Festival, which encompassed The Giants – the biggest public arts event ever staged in WA. She has also worked at West Australian Opera in a variety of roles over a collective six years, including in artistic administration, marketing, sponsorship and education. She has also been a Board Member of Propel Youth Arts WA.
In 2014, Rebecca was awarded a Centre for Social Impact Scholarship to undertake the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact at UWA. Rebecca also holds a Bachelor of Arts Management from WAAPA, and a Certificate in Museum Studies from ECU.
Rebecca's journey since UWA.
I reflect on my time at UWA as transformative; the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact rewired my brain in the best possible way. I was recently selected to participate in the Australia Council for the Arts’ 2020 Future Leaders Program and I’m confident that the thinking I learned at the Centre for Social Impact UWA gave me the competitive edge.
Since graduating from UWA, I’ve been pursuing opportunities that exist at the intersection of arts management and social impact. Philanthropy is a powerful tool for achieving social impact through the arts and in my current role at the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation. I work with our supporters to make this happen.
What’s your passion and how do you want to make a difference in the world?
I’m passionate about connecting the private, public and non-profit sectors to build capacity in the arts and enable positive social outcomes. For this reason, I have increasingly specialised in arts fundraising and for the past two years I’ve been leading the establishment of AGWA’s next gen collective giving program, the Next Collective. It’s a project I’m excited about because it empowers young supporters to play an active role in the direction of their State Art Gallery, while contributing to tangible outcomes that create positive impact for artists, audiences and the wider community. If you’re a young professional with an interest in art and a desire to make a difference while expanding your networks, I would love to hear from you.
What is the most interesting aspect of your career? Where could it go from here?
I work in arts and culture because I believe our sector creates enormous social impact – I myself have experienced the positive benefits it has to our wellbeing, the way we express ourselves, and the way we relate to each other. In times of crisis, art has the power to unify people, provide respite, and help communities heal. This important role could be better demonstrated. I hope my career will contribute to this and to building an impact culture in the arts sector, putting impact at the heart of everything we do so we can achieve more for our artists, our audiences and our communities.
If you could share one piece of advice with a first year student, on their first day at UWA, what would it be?
Build meaningful relationships from the very beginning. Approach every interaction with a fellow student as an opportunity to learn and connect; you will gain as much from each other as you will from your lecturers and tutors.