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New leadership for visual arts organisations in the South East

  • Date: 14 January 2013
  • Area: South East
man standing in front of Modernist building

Stewart Drew, new Director of De La Warr Pavilion. Credit: Photo courtesy of De La Warr Pavilion

2013 starts off with a bang with three of our most outstanding visual arts organisations - Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and Stour Valley Arts in Ashford - welcoming new directors.

Sally Abbott, South East Regional Director, Arts Council England, says:

'We congratulate Gregory Perry, Stewart Drew and Huttson Lo on their appointments and officially welcome them to the South East, which is home to some of the best arts and cultural organisations in the world. We look forward to working with all three Directors to ensure that their organisations continue to represent the best that the visual arts has to offer to all walks of life with innovative programmes and attract visitors from near and far.'

This month, Pallant House Gallery announced that Gregory Perry has been appointed Director and will start his new role on 1 February. Gregory has worked extensively in the arts and museum sector in the UK and the US and was formerly the Director of Operations and Administration at the National Gallery. He brings broad museum expertise to the contemporary visual arts gallery including government relations, major gift fundraising, developing collections and enhancing visitors' experiences in galleries and with works of art.  

Gregory will be joining the gallery during an exciting time, with its outsider art Outside In programme successfully launched nationally and which is currently on display in the gallery.

Gregory Perry said: 'It is a privilege to join Pallant House Gallery as its new Director. The Gallery enjoys an excellent reputation for its intelligent exhibitions, its strong collections and its inclusiveness to a variety of audiences. I look forward to working with the staff and supporters to share the rich tradition of British Modernism and contemporary art with visitors from the South East, throughout the UK and internationally.'

Meanwhile, Stewart Drew has been formally appointed Director and Chief Executive of the De La Warr Pavilion. He started the role on 1 January 2013 but has been Acting Director since October 2011.

Stewart has been with the organisation for the past seven years, playing a key role in fundraising and commercial operations as part of the senior management team.

Prior to joining the Pavilion, he managed grant-giving activity to graduates and new businesses at the Crafts Council and has worked with a number of sectors including arts, museum, and higher education.

De La Warr Pavilion is a modernist contemporary arts centre that's best known for its recent London 2012 Festival hit, Richard Wilson's Hang On A Minute Lads, I've Got A Great Idea..., which saw a life-size replica of the bus from classic British movie The Italian Job dangling from the rooftop edge. The installation had record visitor numbers and media attention and put both Bexhill and the Pavilion on the map.

Stewart Drew says: 'As newly appointed Director and CEO, I am delighted to be leading the organisation into a new era. Our innovative and engaging visual arts programme will, of course, remain core to our work, working closely with Arts Council England to help deliver their vision Great Art for Everyone. Our long-standing relationship with Rother District Council is essential in keeping the Pavilion accessible and engaging to all and, whilst striving to attract visitors and tourists into Bexhill, we will work to remain at the heart of our local community.'

Lastly, at the end of November 2012, Stour Valley Arts appointed Huttson Lo as Director. Huttson previously worked at Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust, where he managed the arts development team, the Turnpike Gallery and the heritage education team, as well as the community wellbeing arts team at Cannock Chase.

Huttson is an experienced and talented arts manager, with various successes such as setting up an international artists residency scheme at the Chinese Arts Centre, working on the definition of diversity in arts practice for Arts Council England, and supporting the development of international artists, including Cleveland Watkiss, Delaine Le Bas, Damian Le Bas and Sunday Driver. He brings considerable practical knowledge of digital and interactive production, a track record of participatory and community arts and a network across art forms and countries.

Stour Valley Arts is based in Kings Wood and commissions artists in a variety of media to make work in response to the natural world. Their projects are designed to reflect the heritage, history or ecology of their locations.

Huttson Lo says: 'Stour Valley Art's reputation over the last two decades has established it in a unique position in the arts sector.  I want to ensure our place at the heart of an international exploratory network of arts and ecology organisations, relevant to local and remote audiences championing environmentally engaged arts practice. I look forward to the coming journey and the new relationships to come.'