In summer 2014, Margate celebrated Piet Mondrian's love of colour through the Summer of Colour
Inspired by our world-class Mondrian and Colour
exhibition (23 May - 23 September 2014), we took art outside the gallery by bringing multi-disciplinary cultural events to the town, throughout the summer.
We empowered Margate businesses, artists and residents to fill the town with colour through events, exhibitions and activitites.
Together, we wanted to create a sense of joy of being by the sea in summer, show Margate as a special place to be, engage new visitors to the gallery and town, put art where you least expect it and collaborate with a range of partners.
We received funding through a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and as part of the Arts Council funded “Culture Kent” project for which Turner Contemporary is the lead partner. Creative Programmer Emma Wilcox led the project, bringing new energy and experience to the organisation.
The Summer of Colour festival took place during the exhibition period. Margate and Thanet exploded in a colourful collection of dance, performance, theatre, art and activity. A flow of movement from inside to outside and outside to inside was created, through event pairings, clusters, multiple activities, individual projects and commissions, in several locations.
Summer of Colour event highlights included:
- Carlos Cortes’s colourful giant windmills, made by the community, opened the festival with flashes of colour across the town on Margate beach, the Lido, Dane Park, Powell-Cotton Museum and many other locations.
- Theatre infiltrated the town when mysterious, visually arresting The Red Ladies arrived by helicopters and boat, and appeared throughout the town on roofs, in shops, galleries and more, before performing at Theatre Royal Margate.
- Mondrian’s love of jazz was celebrated with Morgan’s Dance Hall, who brought tango on to Turner Contemporary’s terrace.
- Cubing Bis experimental dance performance using cubes and grids helped the public experience 3D abstraction by creating shapes and movement in Margate Old Town.
- Pushing Print’s Giant Print steamroller took printing to Margate High Street. Mondrian deckchairs were made by the community with artist Jenny Duff and Janet Williams.
- Artist Lucy Steggals led colour tours around Margate and its Museum.
- A real-life boat with a knitted coat came to the gallery, inspiring Margate knitters to take part in the nation-wide Follow the Herring. Maker Dan Chilcott shared his art practice with 122 local knitters to create new work inspired by Margate’s ‘Turner sunsets’ at workshops in cafes and libraries, making a new audience feel Turner Contemporary was “for them” through displaying their work.
“Seeing something that was made using a craft that they are masters of was really personal, so it made that gallery space a really personal experience for them and I think demystified some of that aura around the gallery experience... Summer of Colour made that more accessible.” Dan Chilcott
- Margate’s music and art venues had a new sense of ownership of the gallery, and so did audiences. At First Fridays, existing events were transported to the gallery, from Tom Thumb Theatre’s On Margate Sounds Social Club featuring Emit Bloch to Shiva Nova’s Equator festival with Bollywood dance workshop led by Ash Mukerjee.
“Turner Contemporary really opened its arms to Margate. On Margate Sounds social club in the gallery was a real milestone. It was fantastic to see all of these young people, a lot of whom hadn't been in the gallery before, standing there watching these bands and thinking "these are our bands, this is our culture, this is our space". Jess Jordan-Wrench, Tom Thumb Theatre
“The dancers were amazing and I loved the interactive dance workshop prior to the show. Gorgeous venue. More please!” Shiva Nova participant
- Communities came together, feeling a sense of belonging at the gallery for the first time. By supporting Ragroof Theatre’s Bridges y Puentes project and Rachel Taylor’s For the Love of Colour project we were able to find ways to build trust and links with the Roma community in Cliftonville.
- Zumbotel lit up the gallery building in the three primary colours throughout the festival.
- The Mondrian and Colour exhibition was animated for a wider audience through spontaneous, uninitiated public displays; Mondrian inspired graffiti, colour lampshades outside shops, cakes, and sculpture interventions on benches and cafes.
“The Summer of Colour feels like it’s “here's the platform, now stand on it” - so we have people semi-autonomously putting proposals forward from commissioned based pieces of work, shops got involved and as artists and creatives and as a member of Resort Studios up in Cliftonville we felt like part of, an integral part of, what was happening”
“It feels positively buzzing.” Telegraph 2014
Summer of Colour
was an innovative umbrella for many other outreach projects, led by Turner Contemporary:
- Our intergenerational group Blank Canvas the opportunity to lead public family workshops
- Young people connected with art and well-being by working with artists, musicians, dancers and performers to learn about, create and make music, street art, costume design, art, performance, dance and sculpture, through the Six Ways to Well Being
pilot public health project Art Beat
- The Curious Colours
school days introduced pupils with new ways to look at colour, and the art of Mondrian and Spencer Finch through cross-curricular hands-on sessions with practising artists, scientists, historians and writers
- Our Youth Navigators gallery guides responded to Mondrian, using their exploration to lead tours of the exhibition; and for the first time gallery staff designed their own uniform, inspired by Summer of Colour
Turner Contemporary believes in the power of art to transform people and places, of doing things differently to truly achieve our vision Art Inspire Change
. The Summer of Colour
belonged to the whole community, it brought the gallery outside into the town, and showcased how world-class art can inspire new projects.
We created a microsite to showcase Summer of Colour, for partners to upload events and for the public to share their photo memories of the festival. Visit summerofcolour.org