- Date: 9 December 2013
- Area: South East
David Dimbleby. Credit: Andy Paradise
Eastbourne based Towner Art Gallery has announced that broadcaster David Dimbleby will become its first Chair of the Board of Trustees when it becomes a charitable trust on 1 April 2014.
The move to charitable status will ensure that the gallery has a much stronger platform from which to secure investment in new projects, commission original work and acquire works for its outstanding collection - building on the funding it receives from Arts Council England, as a National portfolio organisation, and Eastbourne Borough Council.
Speaking about his appointment, David said: 'I am very excited by being asked to Chair the Board of Trustees of Towner when it becomes a charity in April. I have been a supporter of Towner since I turned the first sod of the new building five years ago and then cut the ribbon for its opening.
'Towner is a wonderful gallery space in a fine building, which has been a great boost to Eastbourne. From the many films I have made for BBC 1 on the arts in Britain, I know the appeal of art to the public is growing all the time and it is a privilege to have been asked to help nurture it.
'Art enriches our lives and we are determined to bring it to as many people as possible through our award-winning work with schools and young people with special needs, who otherwise may never set foot in a gallery.'
After outgrowing its previous space, Towner Art Gallery opened the doors of its stunning new building in Devonshire Park in 2009. It houses internationally renowned collections of around 4,000 works, but is probably best known for its collection of modern British art - including the largest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942).
In additional to an excellent programme of exhibitions, the team at Towner Art Gallery has developed a significant learning and outreach programme that work with children, young people and adults from a diverse range of backgrounds and with a variety of needs.
The learning and outreach work is closely linked to the exhibitions programme, creating a really exciting and tangible learning and social contribution in the local community.
Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: 'We welcome David's decision to join Towner Art Gallery. He not only brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for the arts to the role, but also his profile as one of the UK's leading broadcasters. We hope that his advocacy for Towner and the wider sector will help showcase the significant contribution that arts and culture make; educationally, socially, economically and culturally.'