At Quay Arts are, from left, Shirley Smart, Lady Cobham, Simon Dabell, artistic director Robert Miles and Morris Barton. Picture by PETER BOAM
THE newly re-elected chairman of VisitEngland paid tribute to the early work of the Isle of Wight’s tourist organisation, which is celebrating a £21 million summer boost to the economy.
To celebrate the first anniversary of Visit Isle of Wight, Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, went to the Island organisation’s Osborne House HQ, with which she has a distant royal family connection.
At Quay Arts, Newport, she opened the Island’s tenth tourist information point and toured the centre to the music of the prizewinning glee club choir, Resonate.
She saw some of the Quay’s exhibitions and sat in on a drawing class.
Her visit to the Quay came as the centre awaits the result of an application for grant aid to make art more inclusive and link with the Island’s tourism campaign.
"Visit Isle of Wight has done an impressive job in pulling together private and public sectors, including the chamber of commerce," said Lady Cobham. "The partnership is proof the cloud of reduction in public finance has a silver lining in the creation of partnership working, which is demonstrated by its success.
"Impressive campaigns have been developed in a short time and the Isle of Wight’s name is always cropping up through a series of events, the latest being the Isle of Wight Literary Festival."
Visit Isle of Wight chief executive David Thornton said: "We were delighted Lady Cobham could come to the Island to emphasise the two organisations are pulling in the same direction.
"As we move into our second year, our work will evolve to promote an Island for all seasons — with a rich cultural, historical and arts heritage at the centre of our work."
Quay Arts artistic director Robert Miles said: "The amazingly diverse culture on offer on the Isle of Wight and the strength of the creative industries is something we are keen to champion to Island visitors through our new tourist information point."