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DR JULIAN DAY Gallery Director
Julian has a BA(Hons) from UEA, an MA from Birmingham, and his PhD is on 18th century London theatre, actresses and print culture from the University of Greenwich. He has worked at Reed Elsevier as a director on international exhibitions, at Compton Verney Art Gallery where he was responsible for development and also tutors for the WEA.
Julian is keen to engage with artists and the public to present exciting contemporary art and craft for sale and to conserve and develop our Permanent Collection. We are unique in being able to show this blend of historic and contemporary art.
JASON McEWAN-McGHIE Gallery Representative
Jason studied Fashion Design and has a BA(Hons) from the Surrey Institute, Epsom, before finalising his studies with an MA in Fashion Design at Central St Martins, London, graduating in 2001. He has since worked for a leading retail brand as Senior Designer from his internship in 1999 up until 2020.
Since moving to Rye, Jason has immersed himself in Rye's creative scene and is in touch with many artists. His varied role enables his versatile talent to present our friendly customer service and engage in multiple visual and technical tasks across all Gallery activities.
POLLY HORNER Gallery Assistant
Polly studied at Chelsea School of Art, London. After graduation she opened the Otis Art Gallery with friends before travelling to New York and Paris and working in art galleries there. On her return she wrote and illustrated 'Polly and the North Star' which won the Book Trust Early Years Award for best new illustrator.
This lead to commissions for Dog and Cat Trump cards and then Dog Bingo. Polly always has stories and illustrations in progress and has undertaken many commissions, for example - children's birthday portraits with favourite animals, also cards and T-shirts. Polly has worked at the Gallery for many years.
MICHAEL SWEENEY Chair of Trustees
Michael was born in Kent and after leaving school at barely 16 years old started what turned out to be a long and rewarding career in the Jewellery and gifting industry. Michael was head of Jewellery and gifts at Next PLC from 1987-90 and assisted in rapidly expanding the non-clothing offer.
After which he departed to establish his own "gifting and gadgets” business which grew rapidly supplying major retailers worldwide. In 2009 Michael's company was included in three categories on the Sunday times Fasttrack 100 list.
He now divides his time between London and Rye and has a small business advisory service, gently encouraging business owners on growth and strategy.
Voluntary positions previously held.
2010-2012 Chairman, Giftware Association
2016-2018 President, British Allied trades Federation (BATF)
2016-present Investment committee member BATF
2018-2021 Trustee, Rye Arts Festival
STEPHEN DEE Strategy and Finance
Stephen has had a long career working in finance in Canada and England. His accounting experience includes working in the Toronto film industry, bespoke woodworking manufacturing, construction management, and retail. He presently works full-time for a London chartered accountancy that specialises in helping businesses with accounting and financial management, bookkeeping, and tax.
Stephen has a passion for the arts and has long-admired Rye Art Gallery with many visits over the years.
HEIDI FOSTER Friends of Rye Art Gallery
Heidi writes 'My childhood was disruptive and life as a single mother in England was not easy but it gave me the skills and taught me self-sufficiency. I worked, studied and ran a book shop and eventually trained as a mental health social worker. I developed many interests working in the USA and on my return politically, fighting for equality and women's rights. I was a Rye Town Councillor and volunteered in local schools as a mentor. I now write for Rye News online. My interests are in books, art, debate and improving the social fabric.'
Born and educated in London, Sarah trained as a reporter in Sussex and worked as a sub-editor in print journalism before settling to raise a family. She lived and worked in Asia and America for over ten years and since returning to the UK has been an active supporter of various charities supporting the arts, education and horticulture.
She is a trustee of Hastings Contemporary, Hastings International Piano and the Fairlight Arts Trust as well as a Patron Governor of Ark Schools. She is a co-founder and Executive Director of Bridgepoint, Rye and a Director of the Community Interest Company which manages Rye Creative Centre. She is Deputy Lieutenant of E Sussex and was presented with an honourary doctorate from the University of East Anglia in 2019.
DR AMY PIERCE-MILLER Funding, Collection and Conservation
Amy has a BA in Literature from Bucknell University (Pennsylvania). Her MA is from The Bard Graduate Centre for Studies in Decorative Arts and Material Culture (New York) and she has a PhD in History from University College London. She has worked as a curator at The National Museum of Ireland, The Embroiderers' Guild, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Maritime Museum. She is the author of The Globe Trotter (2019, British Library) and Dressed to Kill (2007, National Maritime Museum) and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
LOUISE SIMKISS-DAY Programmes, Engagement and Royal Academy Representative.
Louise is an engagement and partnerships specialist with specific interest in public participation. With over 10 years' experience in art galleries and museums, she has worked at the National Maritime Museum, Compton Verney and Birmingham Museums Trust. With extensive experience of working with artists and developing innovative and engaging gallery programmes, she has a BA (Hons) in History from the University of the West of England and an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, London. She continues to give public talks and lectures and trains gallery staff accross the SE in producing and delivering learning programmes.
Dr FANNY BALDWIN (Art Historian, Courtauld Institute of Art, London) Secretary to Trust Board.
DAVIDA SMITH (Artist, Central St Martin's, London) Garden; Link with Rye Society of Artists