Chris Smith to become Art Fund chairman - Museums Association

Chris Smith to become Art Fund chairman

Former culture secretary to succeed David Verey
The Art Fund has announced that the former Labour secretary for culture Chris Smith will take over as its chairman following the departure of David Verey in July.

Smith served as the secretary for culture, media and sport from 1997 to 2001, and is widely credited as the architect of free entry to national museums. He also began the Renaissance in the Regions programme for regional museums, and brought in major changes to the acceptance in lieu scheme.  

"I'm thrilled to be taking on my new role as chairman of the Art Fund,” Smith said. “Every year, the Art Fund helps hundreds of museums and galleries to acquire and safeguard important paintings and objects for future generations.

“It helps to promote touring and sharing and good custodianship. It acts as a catalyst to stimulate others to give.  And it campaigns on the things that matter most in the arts. This is an incredibly valuable organisation, and I'm honoured to be part of it."

Smith was the founding director of the Clore Leadership Programme from 2003 until 2008, when he stepped down to become the chairman of the Environment Agency. His current term ends in July.

He was made a life peer in 2005. He has previously chaired the judging panel for the Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year award.

Verey, a banker and philanthropist, has been the Art Fund’s chairman since 2004. He is also the chairman of the Government Art Collection advisory committee, and a former trustee of the Tate.

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