Mr Daniel Besen
Mr Daniel Besen’s proudest moment in life occurred a little over a year ago at the opening of Collingwood Yards, when, as Founding Chair, he announced that this new contemporary arts precinct, seven years in the making, was now open.
Collingwood Yards is a ground-breaking arts incubator where community and creativity meet and emerging culture begins. Its mission is to provide subsidised rent to creative enterprises and not-for-profit arts organisations.
The reimagined space is now home to scores of artists and independent arts organisations working across music, visual arts, performance, digital media and broader creative industries.
Collingwood Yards has brought together many of Mr Besen’s passions and skills in life: art, architecture and design, community building and collaboration along with commercial and legal expertise.
Mr Besen is an ardent advocate for the arts with a lifelong dedication to supporting the contemporary Australian arts community.
He has participated in arts leadership roles for three decades, since becoming Heide Museum of Modern Art’s youngest ever Director in his early 20s.
He has been a Director of the Jewish Museum of Australia, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and a Member of the International Council of Museum of Modern Art.
Mr Besen founded the short film festival Celluloid Soup which has been the springboard for many emerging Australian Film Directors and was the Founding Chair of Chunky Move, the innovative and provocative Australian contemporary dance company, a position he held for six years as the company rose to prominence.
He is currently Deputy Chair of the TarraWarra Museum of Art, where he is proud to continue the legacy established by his parents as Australia’s first privately-funded public Museum; a cultural gem nestled in the hills of the Yarra Valley.
Mr Besen’s scholastic endeavours began with legal studies at Monash, completing his Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics degrees in 1990. Although the law was not his ultimate calling, after graduating, Mr Besen worked in commercial law at Arnold Bloch Leibler.
He then joined his family business, the Sussan/Sportsgirl Group, where he gained invaluable experience as a retail executive, in branding and marketing, fashion entrepreneurship and property development.
In 2000 Mr Besen founded BESEN, to pursue his passion for supporting Australian creative entrepreneurs and to manage a property development portfolio with projects in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and New York City. At BESEN, Mr Besen has brought his strategic skills and commercial and consumer nous to great Australian brands and businesses such as Sass and Bide, Poppy Cosmetics, Mimco, Seek, Lotus, Boost Juice, MJ Bale and Strike Entertainment.
Mr Besen has the privilege of supporting people who have committed their lives to serving the community and is currently a Trustee of the Daniel Besen Foundation, which enables projects in health, education and the arts.