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Russell Tovey – actor, writer, and co-founder and host of acclaimed podcast Talk Art – is today announced as the 2022 Patron of Art UK, the cultural education charity. The actor succeeds the classicist Dame Mary Beard in supporting Art UK in its mission to democratise access to the nation's art collection.

Russell Tovey

Russell Tovey

In addition to providing digital access to the UK's public art via our website, we support learning with an exciting schools' resource programme and our online Curations tool, which allows anyone to curate a digital exhibition. Later this year we will launch a major new education programme, the Superpower of Looking.

Andrew Ellis, Director of Art UK, says: 'All of us at Art UK are so thrilled that Russell Tovey will be our Patron in 2022, following in the footsteps of Mary Beard last year. We have watched the success of his Talk Art podcast series over the past three years and admired the way in which it has connected new audiences to art in such an engaging way. Russell's passion for art and desire to democratise access to the sometimes rarefied world of art chimes well with the work of Art UK. We cannot wait to work with him in what should be an exciting year for our charity.'

Tovey, who launched the Talk Art podcast with gallerist Robert Diament in 2018, is also co-author of the Sunday Times bestselling book of the same name. He says: 'I am incredibly proud to become the next Patron of Art UK. My own ethos, as well as Talk Art's, is all about making art more accessible and non-elitist and I feel that is mirrored with Art UK's values and philosophies. Cultural education charities are vital for society and digitising access to the nation's art collection is just genius. It's a platform for everyone, as is art!'

The Talk Art podcast features interviews with leading artists including Jeff Koons, Rachel Whiteread DBE and Lubaina Himid CBE. Former patrons of Art UK include the artists Conrad Shawcross RA (2020), Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA (2019) and Cornelia Parker OBE, RA (2018).

For more information, images and interview requests please contact: Gemma Briggs, Head of Marketing and Communications, Art UK, on gemma.briggs@artuk.org or 07884 143035

Find out more about our previous annual Patrons