Anna Turzynski has been appointed as the new arts director at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley.

Anna was a senior producer at LEEDS 2023: Year of Culture and responsible for some of the year’s most successful events, including The Awakening, The WOW Barn and The Gifting.

Anna, who was born and educated in Sussex, before moving to Yorkshire in 2011 to study Theatre and Performance at Leeds University succeeds Jane Kay who, in conjunction with co-owners William and John Gaunt, has established Sunny Bank Mills, and its acclaimed art gallery, as one of the finest independent art and making spaces in Yorkshire.

Anna commented: “It is such an honour and a privilege to take over from Jane. I have some big shoes to fill.

“The team have taken a cultural organisation and made it a key part of the community, creating a neighbourhood space which has the power to inspire, teach and learn from people who visit it.

“Having worked in small organisations across Leeds for the majority of my career, I recognise the care and personal effort it takes to achieve such a feat.”

“My vision for the Arts Programme at Sunny Bank Mills is to build on the fantastic reputation it already has and to strengthen its offer as a destination for local, regional and national visitors. So, I will be planning exceptional exhibitions, events and opportunities that are rooted in the local area but have international relevance and significance.”
“I am blessed with a fabulous team to work with, who share my vision and commitment. I love Leeds so much and this wonderful new job provides me with the opportunity to make a real difference to the cultural life of the city. I am so very lucky.”

William Gaunt, co-managing director with his cousin John, and a passionate advocate for arts and culture, revealed: “We had a good many applications for the post but Anna was the outstanding candidate. Her vision for arts and culture at Sunny Bank Mills aligned with ours, while her valuable experience with LEEDS 2023 and her positive and vibrant character made her the best person for this important post. Her appointment reinforces our commitment to arts and culture here.

“We appointed Anna because she has a wide skills base. Whilst the Gallery is at the core of our arts offer, we cannot wait to see what exciting developments Anna will initiate to cement our reputation as one of Leeds’ leading arts venues. She will be building on the foundations already laid and taking the arts here to a whole new level.

“Anna is hitting the ground running, with new exhibition Ones To Watch opening on March 2 alongside Open Studios and Printed Bound events over the same weekend. Meanwhile she is already planning a series of exciting exhibitions and events for later in the year. This is a new era for us and we are confident it is in the safest of hands.”

Ones To Watch, which runs until April 21, is the Gallery’s annual exhibition of emerging artists and makers based in, or from Yorkshire. It is now in its 11th year.

Anna concluded: “A new challenge awaits, and I am so proud to be given this exceptional opportunity at Sunny Bank Mills.”