Eastbourne gallery scoops £450,000 to create new cinema

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Eastbourne’s Towner art gallery has been given £450,000 to build a new cinema and auditorium for artists’ moving image, film, talks and live performance.

The award is from the Arts Council England’s Small Capital Grants fund – and the money has been boosted by a donation of £100,000 from the Eastbourne Arts Circle (EAC), a membership organisation dedicated to supporting the Towner.

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Emma Morris, executive director of the Towner, said, “The new space will be an incredible asset for both the gallery and Eastbourne.

“Having a dedicated, fully accessible auditorium, equipped with high quality AV will allow us to deliver a richer and more diverse programme of moving image and digital works, support artists’ professional development and create new audiences.”

Elizabeth Muir-Lewis ARCM Hon ARAM, chairman of EAC, added, “This was a much wished for addition to our wonderful gallery, and our organisation will look forward to presenting our programs in this exciting new space.

“We are proud that we have been able to help to make this important project a reality.“

This major award complements the announcement in 2015 of the Towner and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, as the first partners to participate in the Art Fund’s new Moving Image Fund.

This enables the Towner to acquire important moving image works for a growing collection that includes artists Joao Penalava, Yael Bartana, Ori Gersht, Tacita Dean and Adam Chodzko.

In recent years the Towner has collaborated with many artists working in film and moving image including Bill Viola, Dorothy Cross and Joachim Koester, and in April opens the first survey show of moving image work by Melanie Manchot.

Hedley Swain, area director, South East, Arts Council England, said, “Towner’s plans are a great example of how our capital investment can create powerful change in an organisation that supports its long term sustainability.

“As well as supporting a more diverse programme which will hopefully increase audiences, it will also generate increased commercial revenue from commercial hires.”

The Towner also recently received funding from Arts Council England to present and curate work from the Arts Council Collection to celebrate their 70th anniversary.

Through this investment the Towner, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, will curate 24 exhibitions drawn from the Collection over the next three years, as well as developing eight new commissions.

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