Towner’s Collection of almost 500 works is best known for its modern British art, including the largest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903–1942), and a growing collection of international contemporary art including works by Dineo Seshee Bopape, John Akomfrah, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Tacita Dean, Grayson Perry and Wolfgang Tillmans. Visitors can experience Collection highlights, from painting and works on paper to sculpture and moving image works, in Gallery 1 and the Ravilious Gallery, and through behind the scenes tours in the Art Store every other Sunday.
Founded in 1923 as a result of a bequest by Alderman John Chisholm Towner to create ‘an art gallery for the people’, Towner is a free and welcoming community space providing places for study and relaxation including a Sensory Room, a new Collection Library and a cinema screening a regular programme of films including new releases, documentaries, classics, family film and more. The Art School programme offers creative activities for everyone, children and young people to adults, including drawing, making, designing and film making. A professional development programme for artists of all levels offers artist residencies, mentoring and opportunities for collaboration and showcasing.
The award-winning gallery designed by Rick Mather Architects sits in the Eastbourne’s cultural centre, the Devonshire Quarter. The building, which opened in April 2009, is the largest purpose built gallery in the South East.