New-look art gallery is opened
EASTBOURNE'S new multi-million-pound art gallery opened its doors at the weekend
Hundreds of visitors have already been to the iconic Towner building, next to the Congress Theatre, after it was officially launched by the director of the Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota, on Friday night and officially opened on Saturday morning by EastboADVERTISEMENTurne's mayor, Greg Szanto, with civic guests and television broadcaster David Dimbleby.
The £8.6 million three-storey building replaces the old Towner Art Gallery in Manor Gardens and has temporary exhibition galleries, a Towner collection display, storage and research facilities, a suite of rooms for workshops, events and meetings, large-scale exhibition halls, a cafe, a terrace and a shop.
On Friday night, key figures from the art world were among 1,000 people at the opening – almost two years behind schedule – which featured an inaugural show specially commissioned for the exhibition from Chilean artist Ivan Navarro, who also attended the opening.
On Saturday morning members of the public queued to be among the first to see the Towner and the first 100 visitors received limited edition T-shirts.
The new building has been designed by award-winning architect Rick Mather and was funded by the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the South-East England Development Agency, New Towner Trust and Eastbourne Borough Council.
Admission is free and the building opens to the public on Saturday.
Sally Abbott, the Arts Council south- east director, said, "It is so exciting to see the new-look Towner opening.
"It is a fantastic building that commands real respect in its location and offers a flexibility that will make more of its collection available to visitors.
"It is an important milestone in arts development for Eastbourne, the south- east and England as a whole."
Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt said, "We have been waiting for this building for a long time and it has been worth the wait.
"The wide range of art that will be exhibited at the Towner will provide something for all tastes and ages."
08 April, 2009
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