David Dimbleby is chair of board at the Towner

David Dimbelby

David Dimbelby

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The Towner in Eastbourne is delighted to announce that one of the country’s finest television broadcasters, David Dimbleby, has accepted an invitation to become the gallery’s first Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Towner will become an independent charitable trust on April 1, 2014 and will be in a much stronger position to secure funding for new projects, commission new work from leading artists and acquire new works for its outstanding collection. The move will also give the Towner the autonomy to drive forward its position at the forefront of the visual arts in the UK.

David Dimbleby 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 to nurture it.

“My main focus will be to support the work of our new Executive Director, Emma Morris, who has ambitious plans to build on the work of the past few years. 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.”

As a partner in the Plus Tate scheme and recipient of the Art Fund International Award, the national importance and profile of Towner has grown rapidly with over 800,000 visitors to the gallery since opening in 2009.

Executive Director at Towner, Emma Morris, said, “I am delighted that David has agreed to be the Chair of Towner when we move to an independent charitable trust in April 2014. I wanted the first Chair of the Trust to have a strong connection to both Towner and Eastbourne, a passion for the arts and a national profile, so I couldn’t have wished for a better appointment.

“I’m looking forward to working with David in developing a Board of Trustees with the necessary skills and expertise to build on the success of Towner, whilst also establishing the gallery as the cultural hub of the town. “