Margate’s Turner Contemporary is expected to welcome its millionth visitor, an astonishing milestone for a gallery which opened a little over 2 years ago. The million visits compares with an original forecast total of around 300,000 for just over 2 years estimated prior to the opening of the gallery. As well as exceeding visitor targets the gallery has generated over £21m for the local economy, and has played a key role in the regeneration of the historic seaside town of Margate.
There is plenty of evidence to show that the “Turner Effect” is gathering momentum, not slowing down. Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet member for Community Services, says: “We are tremendously proud of the success to date of Turner Contemporary. A million visitors is an exciting achievement and we congratulate the Turner Contemporary Trust and the gallery director on reaching this figure. We were determined to keep to our promise and build a landmark building which would boost the area and be a catalyst for regenerating East Kent. It has created jobs, encouraged new businesses to the town and will go on to be a lasting legacy to driving the development of the county and the south east.”
Caroline Collier, Director, Tate National, says: “Congratulations Turner Contemporary. The gallery has been a huge success from the moment it opened its doors and has had a great impact in a short space of time both on Margate and in the art world. Its unique location and first class exhibition programme have firmly established it as one of the UK’s foremost art spaces. Tate is delighted to work with Turner Contemporary in the Plus Tate network.”
Turner Contemporary Director, Victoria Pomery says: “A million visitors is a tremendous landmark for Turner Contemporary and it is brilliant to see the town buzzing once more. The gallery has made a real difference to the local economy and has helped to change perceptions about Margate. There are more new businesses opening in the Old Town and on the High Street. With almost a million new visitors to Margate, the town is beginning to thrive.”
Turner Contemporary’s successes include, The millionth visit, in August 2013, will make it one of the most visited galleries outside of the capital. £21.1m into the local economy in the 2 years since opening, supporting 130 jobs in the gallery and across the community. That represents almost £6 return on every £1 invested. Over 40,000 visitors have come through our schools, family and community programmes. 28,000 of our visitors had never been to an art gallery before.
We think that the millionth visitor should be presented with a ‘golden key’ to the gallery, sculpted by Tracey Emin, no doubt dressed as Britannia, holding a lit Olympic torch – Strike up the band!