The Turner Contemporary in Margate celebrated its first birthday yesterday (16 April 2012),with the knowledge that 496,554 visitors passed through the doors, more than treble what was predicted for the first year of operation. The future success is guaranteed with the generation of an additional £13.8m of value for the Kent economy and it supports an estimated 130 (FTE) jobs in the county.
The gallery is expected to continue this successful trend with the upcoming Tracey Emin exhibition which opens on the 26 May and runs through the Olympic period. Emin is considered a local artist. She has put an enormous amount of energy into the rejuvenation of Margate mostly through promoting the area as a new and vibrant cultural town. She is also a patron of the new Turner Contemporary gallery and was one of the prominent figures at the opening last year.
Victoria Pomery, Director Turner Contemporary said:‘The past 12 months have been truly spectacular for Turner Contemporary. We have been absolutely delighted by the number of visitors, and their response to the gallery and our exhibitions. This report highlights the positive impact these visitors have had on the local economy in terms of additional tourism income and in supporting jobs.
The gallery has also had a huge social impact. We were delighted that over 20,000 people had participated in our Learning Programme, over 35,000 more children visited with their families, and around 20,000 of our visitors said that they had never been to an art gallery before.
We are now very excited about our 2012/13 programme which promises to be every bit as impactful.’
The new gallery for Turner Contemporary was created by Kent County Council who is the major funder and continues to support the gallery. Partner agencies who have also provided funding are SEEDA (£4 million) and Arts Council England (£4.1 million). Thanet District Council provided the land.
Mike Hill, Kent County Council Cabinet member for Customer and Communities said: ‘We are tremendously proud of the success of Turner Contemporary. 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.’
Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: ‘Our congratulations go out to Turner Contemporary as they reach their first anniversary in their new gallery.
We are proud to have Turner Contemporary as one of our National Portfolio Organisations and will continue to support the development of their ambitious artistic and learning programme as part of our wider investment in Kent.
Turner Contemporary’s success in the past year has gone to show that art is integral to local life in Kent and vital to Margate’s regeneration – with long lasting benefits for the community and local economy. Great art enriches lives, and Turner Contemporary is helping more people experience and be inspired by the arts both regionally, nationally and internationally.’
Tracey Emin’s first exhibition in her home town will open at Turner Contemporary on 26 May 2012. She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary is conceived specially for Margate, where Emin grew up and which has provided inspiration for many of her most famous art works.
The exhibition will explore the themes of love, sex and romanticism in Emin’s oeuvre. It will feature new works, including drawings, monoprints, sculptures, tapestries, embroideries and neons and will be installed throughout Turner Contemporary’s suite of first-floor galleries.
The exhibition’s central themes are continued in a group of sketches and paintings of erotic subjects by Tracey Emin, JMW Turner and Auguste Rodin, whose iconic sculpture The Kiss is on show in the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary. This section of the exhibition considers the artists in terms of their shared fascination with female sexuality and the varying means by which they explore the subject.
Tracey Emin said: “I still can’t really believe that I’m showing in Margate. Even in my wildest dreams I could never believe there would be a gallery like Turner Contemporary there. So on one level I’m really chuffed and excited but on another I am as nervous as hell. The brilliant thing about Margate is it’s one hour from London on the train so I’m hoping lots of people will come and visit not just my show but the beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches.”
Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary said: ‘We are thrilled to be working with Tracey on this exhibition of new work, which considers Tracey’s extensive oeuvre in a new light.’ A fully illustrated catalogue is available to accompany the exhibition.
Turner Contemporary second year programme of exhibitions includes:
She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary (26 May to 23 September 2012)
Alex Katz: Give Me Tomorrow (6 October 2012 to 13 January 2013)
Carl Andre (26 January – 25 May 2013)
Rosa Barba: The Truth is Rarely Pure and Never Simple (2 February – 6 May 2013).