Regional Arts Australia Team

RAA Executive Director John Oster

John Oster | Executive Director or phone: 08 8959 6015  / 0408 302 873

John Oster (BA, Dip Ed, Grad Dip Man, Arts) was born in Pinnaroo, SA.

John is the Executive Director of Regional Arts Australia, the national peak body that champions of the issues, concerns, opportunities and common interests of all those engaged in the arts in regional, remote and very remote Australia.

He has been involved in arts administration for more than 20 years with a strong focus in the First Nations arts sector. He has managed significant Aboriginal Art Centres at Balgo and Mowanjum. From 2004 – 2011 he was the Executive Officer of Desart, the Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres.

In 2011 John was appointed as the inaugural CEO of the Indigenous Art Code, the national regulatory body overseeing professional practice in the Indigenous art industry. John has been a Director of Creating Australia, the Creative Recovery Network and Artback NT. He also served on the Art Market Professionals panel at Copyright Agency Ltd. which oversees the national Resale Royalty Scheme.

RAA RAF Manager Mary Jane Warfield

Mary-Jane Warfield | Regional Arts Fund Manager or phone: 08 8959 6016

Mary Jane “MJ” Warfield is an arts management professional, based in Alice Springs.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and Literature from Deakin University. Her career in arts management began in 2006 as Cultural Development Officer at Yarra Ranges Council. Whilst employed with local government, MJ was responsible for programs across all art forms and in many contexts, from schools partnerships and film festivals to receiving professional touring companies at Upper Yarra Arts Centre and across the region. This is where she honed her skills in community engagement, programming and marketing the arts in regional towns.

MJ went on to work as a freelance creative producer and festival director in the Upper Yarra region in Victoria, producing Summer School of the Arts for Yarra Valley Arts, large scale community dance works and celebrations, an education program with Yering Station Sculpture exhibition and directed Warburton Harmony Festival in 2012. She was also brought on as a consultant by Yarra Ranges Council for the venue operations of their newly refurbished Healesville Memo Hall.

A road trip in 2013 saw MJ take a detour to Alice Springs to take on the role of Production Manager for Alice Desert Festival. Alice Springs very quickly became home and MJ spent the following two years as Festival and Events Manager with Red Hot Arts Central Australia.

Other freelance roles in Alice Springs have included contracts with Alice Springs Town Council, Something Somewhere Film Festival, Wide Open Space Festival, Totem Theatre and in 2016 she was creative producer for Incite Art’s Unbroken Land.

Since November 2015 MJ has been the Regional Arts Fund manager with Regional Arts Australia. The Regional Arts Fund is a national funding program that aims to support sustainable cultural development and raise the profile of artists across regional Australia. The role involves management of national networks of arts organisations who manage the fund in their jurisdictions, as well as reporting to the Federal Government about the entire program of activity generated by the fund, across the nation. MJ loves the role and enjoys being in a national, strategic position and the networks and opportunities this brings.

MJ is passionate about Community Cultural Development and contemporary regional Australian arts practice. She is interested in developing her leadership and governance skills. To this end, she has recently joined the Board of Incite Arts where she hopes to make a positive contribution to the organisation and its important work.

RAA Comms Manager Esther GyorkiEsther Gyorki | Communications Manager 

Esther Gyorki has worked in diverse roles across the arts sector including as a manager, curator, writer and editor. As Communications Manager with Regional Arts Australia, Esther proudly supports artists, arts organisations, audiences and communities in Regional Australia.

Esther is also a freelance producer and communications consultant working with various arts organisations across Victoria.

Previously, Esther has worked for organisations including Warmun Art Centre, Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and the Alice Desert Festival and most recently managed the Australian Cultural Fund, a fundraising platform for Australian artists. Esther also sits on the committee of the charitable organisation, Ground Up Community Support Network.

Esther completed a Master of Art Curatorship with the University of Melbourne, as well as Bachelor of Arts (Hons), writing her thesis on the photography of Albert Tucker.



Regional Arts Australia acknowledges the traditional Custodians of land throughout Australia and we pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.