Hastings Borough Council and the Jerwood Foundation have completed the gift, valued at £5 million, by Jerwood of the gallery building to the council.
Jerwood Foundation, the philanthropic charity devoted to supporting the arts in the UK, announced in February 2022 that it was going to donate the award-winning art gallery building to the council for the benefit and wellbeing of the people of Hastings and visitors to the town. This has now been completed.
The iconic modern building will be leased back to Hastings Contemporary, the town’s innovative public modern art gallery and an independent charity.
Cllr Paul Barnett, leader of the council and lead councillor for regeneration, said: “We are very grateful to the Jerwood Foundation for this generous gift to give this wonderful building to our town and people. We are delighted that the legal process is now complete, and we are looking forward to working with the team at Hastings Contemporary to ensure the good work started by Jerwood Foundation will continue.
“Hastings is currently one of the most attractive destinations in the UK for holidays and to relocate to. The cultural sector has driven this transformation of our image over the last ten years or more, and this wonderful building has been a key driver in this regeneration.”
Alan Grieve, Chairman of the Jerwood Foundation, said: ‘I am very pleased that this award-winning gallery building will live on in the safe hands of Hastings Borough Council and will continue to benefit Hastings’ residents and visitors to the region. Accessing art of high quality and importance should not be the unique preserve of the inhabitants of our capital and other cities. At Jerwood we believe it is crucial that projects like this bring world-class art to communities like Hastings to help not just with regeneration but also to inspire talent that exists across our nation. We are proud of what has been achieved in Hastings and, by giving this beautiful building to the town’s people, for Jerwood in Hastings our hopes have been fulfilled. We wish the town, council and gallery a very successful and culture-rich future.”
David Pennock, Chair of Hastings Contemporary says, “Hastings Contemporary trustees have agreed a 99-year lease with Hastings Borough Council. We are delighted that this will give us the opportunity to work even more closely with HBC to further embed the work of the gallery in the cultural fabric of the town. At the same time, Hastings Contemporary will continue to bring art of national and international importance in the town, raising the profile of Hastings as a cultural destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. This news follows the recent confirmation by Arts Council of its continued investment in Hastings Contemporary as a National Portfolio Organisation. We are very proud of the gallery’s growth and impact over the past ten years and look forward to an exciting future.”
Sir Quentin Blake, artist patron for Hastings Contemporary said, “Hastings Contemporary can celebrate its first amazing ten years with the happy prospect of more years to come. Hastings is fortunate to have the gallery on its sea front; many, many people not only from Hastings but from far and wide will benefit from its exhibitions and its outreach activities.
I feel very pleased and privileged to be the galleries artist patron; not only that but I have been stimulated to undertake new and exploratory works that might not have come about without the existence of a sympathetic and supportive home where they will appear.”