Minister Rodriguez announces the appointment of Jean-François Bélisle as Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada

News release

GATINEAU, June 7, 2023

Today, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the appointment of Jean-François Bélisle as Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada for a five-year term, effective July 17, 2023. This appointment is the result of a rigorous, open, transparent, and merit-based Governor in Council selection process.

Since 2016, Mr. Bélisle has served as Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette (MAJ), one of Canada’s most important regional museums with a permanent collection that spans 5,000 years of visual art history. Under his leadership, the MAJ significantly expanded its presence, role, and profile in Canada and abroad, with particular attention to the inclusion of diverse cultural voices. At the core of his directorship was the objective of creating a welcoming forum, both physical and virtual, where art can contribute to the construction of tomorrow’s world through art-informed reflections and discussions open to all.

Before joining the MAJ, Mr. Bélisle was Executive Director of Arsenal Contemporary Art, a private art foundation dedicated to helping contemporary Canadian artists reach a wider audience nationally and internationally. Prior to Arsenal, he was Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC), a not-for-profit organization that represents leading commercial Canadian art galleries and is active in expanding the Canadian art market. During his tenure at AGAC, he developed various national initiatives such as Papier (now Plural), Canada’s second largest art fair.

Throughout his career, Mr. Bélisle has held various positions in museums, art publications, international NGOs, auction houses, galleries, and universities in eight countries. He has organized over a hundred highly acclaimed art exhibitions and projects in Canada, the United States, Europe, and China. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Art History from Concordia University and is fluent in English, French, and Italian.


“I am thrilled to welcome Jean-François Bélisle as the new Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. In this role, he brings not only a wealth of experience in curating and directing art institutions both in Canada and abroad, but also a proven record of leading in an inclusive and positive way. I am pleased we are able to bring his talent to this important national institution. I would also like to thank Angela Cassie for her work as Interim Director and CEO over the last year.”

—Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage —Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Quick facts

  • The National Gallery of Canada, founded in Ottawa in 1880, has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. The Gallery, which includes works from antiquity to the present day, has one of the finest collections of Indigenous and Canadian art in the world, as well as masterworks from numerous other artistic traditions. With a mandate to share the visual arts with Canadians, the Gallery works with artists and arts organizations across the country and around the world to share our collective story through art.

  • Canada’s national museums are governed by the Museums Act, which was passed into law in 1990. Pursuant to the Act, the Director is appointed by the Board of Trustees with the approval of the Governor in Council.

  • As they become available, all appointment opportunities within the 16 organizations in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio are posted on the Governor in Council appointments website. Those interested can apply online.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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