Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed art project innovator Justine Simons as his deputy for Culture And Creative Industries. Simons has worked at City Hall for over a decade and is credited with the idea of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. She also came up with the idea for the Cultural Olympiad, the popular arts festival that ran concurrently with 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 statementreleased 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-liked in the creative community, which is pleased with her appointment.
“I am delighted to have Justine on board to deliver my ambitious program at such a critical time,” Tate director Nicholas Serota told the Evening Standard. “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.”