It is gratifying to see the support for the Towner Art Gallery expressed in your columns. Our priority is to offer Eastbourne a gallery of which it can be proud.
We are aware that we owe our very existence to the support of Eastbourne ratepayers together with the Arts Council and in return we try to provide exhibitions that are enjoyable and stimulating as well as a whole range of services to Eastbourne’s schools, communities and vulnerable groups.
It is a bonus for us, and we hope for Eastbourne, that Towner is widely recognised as one of Britain’s foremost galleries winning plaudits here and abroad and giving the town a reputation as a centre of artistic excellence to enhance its fame as a fine seaside town.
It is in this context that we are naturally worried at the effect a sudden drop in financial support for Towner would have. A 50 per cent cut has been rumoured.
We all accept that Eastbourne Borough Council has an unenviable job reconciling its income with all the demands on its services and we know that they would not want to cut back their support for us unless they thought it was unavoidable.
But that said it is important to recognise what Towner can offer in return. We are at the heart of the Devonshire Park development which is being built to create a hub of cultural interest providing entertainment and attracting new and profitable conference business to the town.
The Towner with its exhibitions and café and new auditorium will add hugely to its appeal.
We want to play our part in an enterprise from which the whole town will benefit.
We are in continuing discussions with EBC trying to work out a way ahead which will serve both their and our ambition for Eastbourne.
Chairman of Trustees,
Towner Art Gallery