Jonathan Harvey is to stand down in March 2016 after 44 years at the helm of Acme Studios, the London-based affordable studios developer and provider, which he co-founded in 1972 with David Panton when both were recent art graduates seeking out low-cost work space in London. The charity aims to appoint a new CEO by January 2016.

Since its founding, Acme Studios has supported over 7,000 artists through studio space, residencies, exhibitions and awards. It currently manages 570 studios over 15 buildings across Greater London, including purpose-designed new-build studio complexes such as Wharton House in Stratford and High House Artists’ Studios in Purfleet.

In a carefully scheduled hand-over plan, David Panton will remain as Director Property until 2019, when he will also pass on the reins to a new generation of management. Both Harvey and Panton, who were appointed Officers of the British Empire for their services to art in the 2014 Queen’s New Year’s honours list, will continue to support the organisation as Board Members.

Supporting artists in the furure

Announcing his departure, Harvey said he is confident in the strength and continuity of the organisation’s position. “From April this year Acme will become a self-sustaining organisation without, for the first time in over 40 years, the need for Arts Council England revenue funding. The past support of the Arts Council has made a critical contribution to this success,” he explained.

“Through revenue and significant capital funding we have been able to develop a permanent portfolio of affordable, high-quality and permanent studios; a resource which will support generations of artists into the future. We can now plan with a considerable degree of certainty and, working with our partners, build on our achievements.”

Alongside his work at Acme, Harvey also co-founded TSW-Television South West, the ITV franchise-holder for the South West between 1982-1992. During this period  he produced a range of arts and experimental programmes including two major site-specific projects. Harvey’s longstanding role within the South West also involved acting as Chairman for the board of Arnolfini, Bristol (1993 – 2006). Since 2006 he has been a founding trustee of the National Federation of Artists’ Studios Providers.

Peter Heslip, Director of Visual Arts at Arts Council England said: “Jonathan has been instrumental in the success of Acme Studios over the last 40 years and I know that everyone would like to thank him for his contribution.

“Under his leadership Acme has gone from strength to strength. It has truly changed the fabric of the city for artists in a way which is not always visible, but is essential.”

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