I was astonished by the reaction to my short and, to me, innocent question about the lack of queues at The Towner.
John Pick’s letter in the Herald answered many of the questions that have been at the back of my mind over the years.
When as councillor (for 24 years) I was very much in favour of accepting the Arts Council’s and others’ largess and encouragement. I was persuaded that the ‘old’ Towner, for which I had an affection, had had its day and could no longer ‘deliver the goods’ to a modern society.
It had many failings. I did my best, unsuccessfully, to encourage those I knew in the field of the arts to contribute.
I really enjoy spending hours in galleries and art shops and have done so in Eastbourne, Bexhill, London, Edinburgh and even the Orkneys. They are my first port of call.
I cannot pretend to understand ‘modern’ art and, for instance, was baffled in the Scottish National Gallery to appreciate a pulsating plastic bag in the middle of the floor or, at our own National Gallery, a friend’s exhibit of a plastic school globe of the world with a dash of colour scattered over it, which, she said, represented the deprived areas of the world.
Was, I thought, this really art? Art to me should not need elaborate explanation but give pleasure and even wonder.
Sometimes it grows on you over a period of time. Thank you therefore, John Pick, for your interesting and informative letter.
It raises further worrying questions in my mind – how many hundreds of pounds represents the visit of one caller at the Towner? Can Eastbourne afford the Towner as it is run today? What will happen if the Arts Council has its own funds cut?
However, I may have stirred up by my innocent questions enough trouble already.