The Power Institute was founded at the University of Sydney in 1968, thanks to a bequest in the will of the Australian artist John W Power. The bequest sought:
To make available to the people of Australia the latest ideas and theories in plastic arts, so as to bring the people of Australia in more direct touch with the latest art developments in other countries.
In the years since, the bequest has underpinned the establishment of the Univeristy of Sydney's Art History Discipline and the JW Power Collection of contemporary art (which led to the formation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia), as well as the Power Institute's decades of research support, public programs and award-winning publications.
The Power Foundation Council is devoted to supporting the Institute in the pursuit of its goals and to promoting its activities in Australia and abroad.