Show image caption Image Credit: Stuart Leech

Turner Contemporary Reaches 9th Birthday Milestone

Posted in – Updates

This time nine years ago,?Tracey?Emin CBE, RA and Jools Holland OBE were joined by primary school children from?Holy Trinity and St?Johns?Primary School in Margate?to?open?Turner Contemporary. It was a very special day and thousands of people visited the gallery for the first time.?

We had?originally?planned a?very?different?9th?birthday?celebration?but?are currently closed?because of?Covid19.?However, we wanted to take a moment to mark the occasion?and?reflect on?some of the?many?highlights from the last 12 months.??

Over the past year, we?have?welcomed more than 408,000 visits?to the gallery, taking us to 3.5million visits since?2011.?In addition, over 100,000?local?children and young people have?now?connected with our learning programme. Through visitor spend?and direct?investment?the?gallery has put in excess of £80million back into the?Kent economy since it opened. ?

In 2019 we brought the?Turner Prize exhibition?to Margate?which made history with all four artists winning the prize ?at an announcement at Dreamland?on 3 December,?presented by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful?OBE.?It was the second most visited Turner Prize of all time, and our most visited autumn exhibition ever.?11% of visitors attending Turner Prize 2019 had never been to a gallery in their lives before.?

Margate NOW?was?developed in response to Turner Prize 2019 and?supported by additional?funding?from Arts Council England. It?connected with?over 300?artists.?Working in partnership,?a?programme of activity?including pop-up exhibitions, theatre in local shops and hotels,?and artworks?came to life.?During this time,?a?brilliant?new group of?volunteers committed?858?hours and welcomed thousands of visitors to Margate?who explored the town.?One of the volunteers recounted:?Volunteering made me feel part of the community. I met people, I talked to people I wouldn’t usually talk to and I enjoyed the connection to Turner Contemporary.”?

The new £20 note, featuring our iconic building,?was launched?at Turner Contemporary?in October 2019?in partnership with the Bank of England.?We are?the first contemporary building to feature on a UK banknote. Just 9 years into our journey, this extraordinary moment?was?a fantastic recognition of the gallery’s success?and profile?to date.?

Turner Contemporary?believes in the power of the arts, artists?and creativity to affect change.?Our critically?acclaimed?exhibition?We Will Walk – Art and Resistance in the American South?curated by Hannah Collins and Paul Goodwin?is an example of our approach. At the opening of the exhibition in February,?Bonnie Greer OBE gave a powerful speech which was followed by?a DJ set from?local?resident Bernadette Hawkes.?Bernadette?was one of?six?sitters for Barbara Walker’s?new artwork?Place Space Who, which?Barbara Walker MBE created for our Sunley?Gallery this year.?Reflecting on the experience,?Bernadette said:?“I wanted to let you know?how? proud?I feel to have participated as a subject of the Place, Space, Who exhibition, which celebrates the rich diversity of Thanet’s community.”?

We are continuing to reflect and plan our?response?to the Covid19 pandemic?as an arts organisation,?ensuring that we remain relevant and vital for our 10th?Anniversary and beyond.? We are currently in the process of distributing over 200?packs of artistic materials and creative resources?across the community?to vulnerable groups in collaboration with partners, including foodbanks, schools and Age UK.??

We hope to be able to welcome you back to Turner Contemporary soon?but,?in the?meantime, you can read more about what we are doing?at the moment? here.?

Highlights from the past 12 months