Emma Morris has been appointed the first executive director of Eastbourne’s multi-million pound Towner art gallery.
Emma, who has been Director of Photoworks in Brighton since 2010, will take up the post in mid-March 2013.
As executive director, Emma will lead the Towner through the transition to become an independent charitable trust, and will be tasked with defining the organisational development needed.
She will create a sustainable business plan to ensure the continued artistic excellence of Towner’s programmes alongside the development of partnerships with the local community, funders and agencies.
Emma will also head up the recruitment of a new artistic director to replace Matthew Rowe, who recently left the Towner to take up the post of director of firstsite in Colchester.
Emma said, “I am delighted to be joining the Towner as its first executive director. The Towner’s reputation has gone from strength to strength since moving into the beautiful new building nearly four years ago, for the exhibitions, the wonderful collection and the education and learning programme.
“I look forward to working with the team in establishing the Towner as an independent charitable trust and with the two major stakeholders, Eastbourne Borough Council and Arts Council England, in ensuring the Towner continues to deliver a world class, inclusive programme, enjoyed by everyone.”
The £5.8 million state-of-the-art building opened in April 2009 and visitor figures exceeded targets, with the gallery welcoming more than 100,000 visitors through its doors each year.
Councillor Carolyn Heaps, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure, Eastbourne Borough Council, added, “The Towner is a great asset to Eastbourne and we are continuously working with partners and colleagues to ensure it fulfils its potential as a premier cultural tourism attraction for the South East.
“We are thrilled to have Emma on board to lead the organisation at this exciting time, as we embark on a significant transformation and investment strategy for the gallery and Devonshire Park.
“Emma brings a wealth of experience and skills to the team, which we are confident will stand us in good stead to create the right environment for independence and partnership working in the future.”
The Towner’s upcoming exhibition Legion by Kelly Richardson is set to open on February 2.