LETTER: Gallery puts Eastbourne on the cultural map

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Eastbourne is blessed by having an art gallery of international distinction.

It’s a draw that puts our town on a cultural map that brings in tourists from around the world that wouldn’t otherwise come.

It inspires our local children to be the artists and creatives of the future. Local people enjoy the Towner throughout the year by coming to high quality exhibitions that entertain and inform, even on a wet Tuesday afternoon in November.

It is now under threat from a cut in funding that might mean its closure. Why would we want to shoot ourselves in the foot and make Eastbourne poorer financially and culturally. Our future is bleaker without the Towner. It’s a jewel we cannot afford to lose. Support the Towner!

MARK HARDCASTLE

Melvill Lane, Willingdon

The Herald report that Eastbourne’s wonderful Towner Art Gallery is under threat due to a possible severe cut in council funding is most disquieting.

While slashed Government subsidy is to blame for much of our council’s woes, any move that would undermine artistic endeavour is shortsighted and plain wrong. Take the examples of Hastings, Margate and Folkestone. Not so long ago Hastings was a town of despair. Yet since arts and crafts specialists moved into the Old Town, the area has mushroomed in popularity, and this is helped along by the renowned Jerwood Art Gallery.

So too Margate, finding its feet again now that the spectacular Turner Contemporary Gallery brings in visitors, while arts and crafts people and hoteliers make a living there once more.

And Folkestone, a place to be avoided in the fairly recent past, but now, thanks to the Creative Foundation (which has plenty of money in its coffers, certainly), the town is benefiting greatly from refurbished shops and cafes, the area energised greatly by the Folkestone art triennnial, starting again this September.

The common factor in these three major successes is evident: art – and what it means to the human condition, not least the importance it plays in the development of children’s ideas. An area in which the Towner excels with its regular programmes for youngsters.

So while the council chiefs juggle with the meagre allowance they receive from Whitehall, let them consider how best to spend what they have – the Towner, that brilliant, special and social place, is above all, an investment in the town’s future well-being. Think again.

BILL MacFARLANE

Bolsover Road

Oh dear, oh dear! No wonder the Towner Art Gallery is in trouble. What is there to attract people?

Today I visited and I am an ardent lover of art in all its forms. Only one room was open showing really strange items. Two long pieces of striped material, and one patterned. Very dark obscure items.

Why cannot an ongoing exhibition be on show of some of the hundreds of paintings in the gallery’s store? Traditional art appeals to most people. It’s interesting to see the more obscure, but hardly invites a second visit, if even the first.

I used to spend half a day in the previous Towner and always enjoyed the splendid range of art, modern and traditional, and local artists. Listen to the public, Madam Director, or are you organising it for a very small elite group?

A. RICHARDS

Spencer Road