Jackie Lythell, founding chair of the Arts & Creative Industries Commission, has retired after ten years in the post.
At the December meeting she was presented with theatre tickets and flowers as a thank you from her colleagues for the successful work she had done. They said she had been outstanding.
Jackie, a former Mayor of Brighton, said in her farewell speech: “Chairing the commission has been both stimulating and enjoyable. It has been a pleasure to work with such creative, positive and thoughtful people.”
She said that during the 2002 'Where Else' campaign to support the city's bid to be the Capital of Culture, about 1,600 people attended various events as part of the Try it for the First Time scheme.
Many community arts grants were given and over 8,000 people attended the open day. Hugely well attended events took place in the parks and on the beach.
As a result of that successful year, even though Brighton lost out to Liverpool, the city was awarded £750,000 by the Government to deliver a two-year arts programme. With amazing sponsorship that sum swelled to £2m.
She said: “Building on the partnerships that had been made in 2002 a wonderful programme was created.
“It included Celebrating Age, increased public art, the Children’s Festival, new commissions, including the stunning Compton Skyline project, and support for grass roots projects.”
“The work of the newly formed Arts Commission was under way, planning workshops, developing arts policy and setting up working parties.”
A working party on outdoor events led to the White Night celebrations in October and two new courses, one at City College and the other at Northbrook College.
The Audience working group lead to new ways of promoting events. The Visual Arts network was created and is still going.
Another report on dance crystallised the thinking around its development in the city while Music in Brighton gave a detailed picture of the wealth and variety of music-making.
The Cultural Cities network kept members in touch with what was going on nationally and in Europe. The Culture Counts document paved the way to the Commission's place on the Brighton & Hove Strategic Partnership.
She said: “I have seen and done some wonderful things during the ten years, from high art to the unusual - what in our house we call ‘up the chimney productions’.”
This started when someone on stage during an odd production suddenly disappeared up a chimney.
Jackie added: “There have been events that have left a lasting, profound impression and those I have left doubled up with laughter for all the wrong reasons.
“I decided to stand down at the beginning of the year and if I had any doubt about that decision it was confirmed by the outstanding Brighton Fuse Research Project and the need for a new chair to develop the super fused work ahead.”
She congratulated the commission for its members’ expertise and said she was simply a member of the audience who would continue to watch what was going on.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Festival, is taking her place as chair.