With a few weeks to go before Tate’s director, Nicholas Serota, steps down to become the chairman of Arts Council England, the Standard is reporting that Tate may have found his successor: Maria Balshaw, who is currently director of the Whitworth museum, one of Manchester, England’s most important art institutions.
Tate has not officially announced the decision yet. According to the Guardian, the museum’s board of trustees has selected Balshaw, which means that it is now up to Prime Minister Theresa May to agree on its choice.
Balshaw became director of the Whitworth in 2006. Since then, she has overseen a £12 million ($14.5 million) expansion and overhaul of the museum’s galleries. She has been viewed by critics as one of the leading figures of Manchester’s cultural revival.
Her time at the museum won her the £260,000 Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Award, and earned the museum the 2011 Lever Prize, which is given to an arts institution of note in North England. In 2011, Balshaw also became director of the Manchester City Galleries.
Since Serota announced that he would leave his post as the director of Tate, which he has held for the past 28 years, there has been speculation that Balshaw would succeed him. Another early favorite for the position was Nicholas Cullinan, the director of London’s National Portrait Gallery.
As director of Tate, Balshaw would oversee four institutions: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives. Though Tate has not made a statement yet about whether she officially has the position, an announcement is expected next week.