Posted 23rd November 2016
After 12 years wonderful years of heading up Watts Gallery – Artists' Village, we today announce that our Director, Perdita Hunt OBE, DL, will step down in July 2017.
'It has been a great privilege to lead such a special institution as Watts Gallery Trust, and I am proud of what we have achieved over the past decade,' says Perdita. 'The fact that Watts Gallery - Artists' Village attracts over 65,000 people each year, including 37,000 paying visitors, to see the exhibitions, take part in activities or see displays of the amazing Watts Collection, is testimony to the dedication of all who work for Watts Gallery Trust and those who support it in so many different ways. The Big Issues learning and outreach programme and the way in which it is transforming people's lives by offering Art for All, is something which originates from the Watts ethos and one which we have strived to regenerate and promote. Watts Gallery Trust is in very good shape to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead, especially as it enters its bicentenary year, and will go from strength to strength. I will always feel passionate about Watts Gallery and will continue to support the organisation from a distance.'
Our Chairman of the Trustees, Richard Ormond CBE, says: 'During her time, Perdita has master-minded a rebirth of Watts Gallery, from quiet backwater to cultural powerhouse. The acquisition of Limnerslease, the Arts & Crafts house built by G F and Mary Watts as a rural retreat, has added a whole new dimension to the Watts offering and quadrupled the size of the estate. The opening of Watts Studios in 2016, after a £5 million fundraising campaign, has been warmly received. Watts Gallery Trust has also assumed responsibility for the nearby Cemetery and Cemetery Chapel, Mary Watts's Arts & Crafts extravaganza. The Gallery and related buildings, now renamed Watts Gallery - Artists' Village, have become an Arts & Crafts destination. When she comes to step down, Perdita can take pride in the thriving institution she leaves behind, with a dedicated staff, an enthusiastic group of volunteers and a throng of Friends, Patrons and supporters. Twelve years ago what she has achieved would have seemed a pipe dream. Now the future for Watts looks bright.'
The process of recruiting will begin shortly and we hope that you will join us in wishing Perdita further successes as she goes on to peruse her interests in culture, heritage and leadership, including her role as Trustee at the Heritage Lottery Fund, South East committee member of the Arts Council and Leadership Insight consultant and tutor at the Recess College.