London Mayor Sadiq Khan Appoints Public Art Innovator Justine Simons as Cultural Deputy

Simons is the brains behind the Fourth Plinth and Cultural Olympiad.

Justine Simons. Photo Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Justine Simons. Photo Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed public art innovator Justine Simons as his deputy mayor for culture and creative industries.

Simons, who has worked at City Hall for well over a decade, came up with the idea of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which displays a permanently rotating series of works at the busy site outside London’s National Gallery. She also came up with the Cultural Olympiad, the hugely popular cultural accompaniment to the London 2012 Olympics.

“It’s been my lifelong belief that creativity has the power to transform lives and places. Culture is part of London’s DNA,” Simons said in a statement released by City Hall. “It’s a big reason so many of us choose to visit and live here, it generates billions for our economy and gives London its unique character and dynamism.”

“The Mayor has done something unprecedented for a global city—he has made culture a top priority and his goal is to embed it in regeneration, planning, and infrastructure. It is now more urgent than ever to unlock the potential of culture to build bridges and bring people and communities together,” she added.

Simons, who was officially appointed on July 1, went on to add that she was looking forward delivering Khan’s cultural vision with enthusiasm.

“In the fallout from the EU referendum, our city’s cultural well-being has ever been so important especially through its power to bring communities together, and to ensure our ongoing status as a globally attractive destination for business,” Khan said in the statement. “Justine is a tour-de-force in London’s cultural scene, and she shares my passion to ensure culture is at the heart of city life,” he added.

Simons is extremely well-loved in the creative community, which is thrilled at her appointment.

“I am delighted to have Justine on board to deliver my ambitious program at such a critical time,” Khan enthused in his statement.

“Justine has an unrivalled knowledge and experience of culture and creativity in London. In the past decade she has contributed to many of the most successful new ventures in the city,” said Tate director Nicholas Serota of the appointment to the Evening Standard.


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