This will allow us to continue to develop our ambitions to grow inclusive access to arts and culture. This encompasses our plans to strengthen local partnerships and to develop artist opportunities, skills development and training initiatives and engagement activities for children and adults, including those from Eastbourne’s most disadvantaged communities. We look forward to welcoming regular and first time visitors to the gallery and the town as we mark our centenary year in 2023 through a range of activities including hosting the world’s leading art prize, the Turner Prize.
We appreciate Arts Council England’s recognition of Towner Eastbourne today but also recognise that the coming years will not be easy for many artists and those in the arts, including some of our partners, friends and colleagues. We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration across the region and beyond to realise shared ambitions and goals and to support artists and the sector in the difficult times we all currently find ourselves in.
NPO funding will allow vital work with communities across Eastbourne to continue and to grow. Throughout the pandemic, Towner collaborated with local charities, including Eastbourne Food Bank and community partners, supplying creativity packs and art materials to over 1000 households in need. Eastbourne is ranked 312 out of 360 in the UK Prosperity Index, putting it close to the lowest decile in the country. A new learning and engagement strategy Making Together was crafted in response to the lived experiences of Eastbourne’s most disadvantaged communities during the lockdowns. This new five year public programme aims to provide inclusive, equitable access to art and cultural experiences for three priority groups: children and young people, schools and adults most in need, in Eastbourne’s most deprived communities.
NPO funding will also support future artist development. Recent projects at Towner have included Open Plan, where 48 artists came together to share ideas and processes and support each other in generating new artworks in Towner’s Studios in Summer 2022. Health and wellbeing initiatives continue to grow, including the long-standing Arts in Mind for adults living with mental health conditions, which will now be extended to include a dedicated group for young adults.
Along with Eastbourne Borough Council, Towner recently successfully secured investment from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to develop an exciting new cultural education site for Eastbourne communities and visitors. Situated in the South Downs, overlooking the western edge of Eastbourne, Black Robin Farm will become an inclusive and accessible centre for culture for both audiences and artists, providing commissions and other artist opportunities, skills development initiatives and creative engagement activities particularly for Eastbourne’s most disadvantaged communities. Further announcements about Black Robin Farm will be made in 2023.