The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is delighted to announce that Veronica Wadley will be the next London Chair at Arts Council England. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport has approved the appointment following the unanimous recommendation of an independent panel.
The Mayor said: 'Veronica Wadley is a hugely accomplished woman who has a proven passion for London and its unrivalled arts and culture. She will bring energy, drive and ambition to this vital sector that does so much for our quality of life in London and the capital's reputation around the world. I am delighted that she has agreed to accept the challenge.'
Veronica Wadley said: 'I am delighted to accept this role. We are living in a golden age of the arts, thanks to the huge investment by successive governments. We want to build on this, even in the face of financial pressures.
'In the past twelve months I have visited a great many arts organisations, travelling the length and breadth of London and I am encouraged by the ingenuity and hard work that I have seen, both in the larger companies and at the grassroots. My task will be to ensure that we can support their excellence and innovation. I will do all I can to champion the arts in London, encouraging work of the highest quality at every level. I will work with ambition and caution.'
Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England said: 'Veronica's appointment means that our London and National Councils are finally at full strength, which is excellent news. We can now get on with the important job of supporting and developing the arts in London and the rest of the country.
'I am confident that Veronica's skills and commitment will help us address the many challenges and opportunities ahead as we move towards a tough Spending Review, the need to develop the resilience of our arts organisations in the capital and nationally, and the huge opportunities of the Olympic year.'
Nick Hytner, Director National Theatre, said: 'As editor of the Standard, Veronica Wadley was a fierce advocate for the London theatre. She has remained passionately committed to the arts. She is enthusiastic, perspicacious and informed, and I look forward to working with her.'
Nick Kent, Director, Tricycle Theatre said: 'I am delighted that Veronica Wadley is to be Chair of the London Arts Council. This is a brilliant decision for London in this challenging climate. Veronica has long been a passionate advocate for the arts, and she will work tirelessly to promote the quality and diversity of culture in London. She has excellent relations with Government, local government and business, which I am confident she will use to promote the arts. I know she will cut through regulation and bureaucracy, listen to practitioners and audiences alike, as well constantly striving to build upon London's reputation as the artistic capital of the world. This is very welcome news for the arts.'
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director Serpentine Gallery, said: 'Veronica Wadley will bring a fresh eye to the work of Arts Council London in her commitment to champion the arts.'
Veronica Wadley was born in London and has worked on some of the biggest journalistic titles in the country. As well as editing the Evening Standard from 2002 to 2009, she worked at Vogue, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail and the Sunday Mail titles. Under her editorship the Evening Standard won several awards for its arts coverage. She is due to take up her role with Arts Council England shortly and be paid £6,400 for up to 30 days a year. ENDS
Notes to editors
1. Veronica Wadley will be the Chair of Arts Council England, London. She was nominated following the unanimous recommendation of an independent panel, which comprised a majority of independent members, plus the Mayor's Office and Arts Council England.
2. Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives. As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk.
3. The Mayor has just published his draft Culture Strategy Cultural Metropolis for public consultation, which sets out his vision for arts and culture to 2012 and beyond. The public can comment on the draft strategy now. It is available as a download from www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/mayor/publications/culture/draft-cultural-strategy.
4. The Mayor want organisations planning arts events, cultural activity and entertainment in the capital in 2012 to add details to The Cultural Diary, which will be the definitive guide to what is going on from 1 January to 31 December 2012. For more information go to: www.theculturediary.com.
Mayor's Press Office
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