NEWS: Shelley Warren CEO of the Arts Foundation announces her departure

Shelley Warren, CEO of the Arts Foundation has announced that she will be leaving her role at the charity at the end of October, after more than two decades supporting and promoting UK creatives. Fellows in that time have included Carol Morley, Rufus Norris, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Asif Kapadia, Ali Smith and Bethany Williams. The charity, which has become one of the longest standing arts awarding bodies in the UK was established nearly 30 years ago and has provided financial support to creatives from all walks of the Arts.

“Deciding to leave my post as Director after all these years has been a tough decision. I’ve loved every minute of being in a role which involves exploring and observing incredible creativity from some of the finest artists in the UK. However, as the past few years have shown me, it is also good to follow your dreams when the inner voice gets louder, and to this end I’m delighted to be embarking on an MA at Brighton while working with a team on a new digital project involving music related archives and collections around the world.

I’d like to salute all those who have both supported and been supported by this frankly wonderful charity. Thank you for making my time at the Arts Foundation such a rich and memorable experience. Good luck to all the past and future finalists and to the continuation of this unique fellowship scheme which has proved again and again that support given at the right time can help future success beyond measure.”

Howell James, Chair of the Arts Foundation added,

“On behalf of all the trustees I want to thank Shelley for her exceptional contribution to the development and growth of the Arts Foundation over the 22 years she has been director.

The Arts Foundation has been transformed under her leadership and is a very different organisation today. Shelley has raised our profile, used the creative opportunities that new ways of communicating in the digital age have offered us, and attracted generous support from many sponsors and donors.

The list of successful fellows who have benefitted from our awards over these years is testament to her skill in highlighting many varied arts forms, and attracting input from a dazzling array of individuals as nominators and judges. Shelley has nurtured the relationships with the many artists she has encouraged, growing the value of the awards to the artists themselves and staying connected with them beyond their fellowships, while promoting their work through the Foundation. The continuing success and health of the Arts Foundation is down to her strong leadership. We thank her and wish her well and all success in the next chapter.”

The Foundation will be appointing an interim director for six months to manage the 2022 awards, after which point a permanent position will become available.

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