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  • Patrick Heron private view
    Credit: Manu Palomeque
  • Our 3 millionth visitor receiving her Turner Contemporary goodie bag
  • This year's Christmas tree, created by Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan, was switched on by our 3 millionth visitor
  • Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate, speaking at our Patrick Heron & Akram Zaatari private view
    Credit: Manu Palomeque
  • Pioneering Places gallery takeover day

This weekend, Turner Contemporary welcomed its 3 millionth visit since opening in 2011.

As one of the UK’s leading examples of cultural regeneration, the gallery has injected over £68million into the Kent economy and led to the opening of over 150 businesses in Margate. Drawing audiences from Kent, London and beyond, thousands of UK and international tourists have visited Thanet as a direct result of the gallery with 35% of visitors stating that they had visited Margate specifically to go to Turner Contemporary in summer 2018. The draw of the gallery as the main motivation is 4% more than the average of other art galleries nationally.

Turner Contemporary has generated over £30million worth of press coverage to date, with a reach of over 1 billion people. This year, features in the New York Times, Lonely Planet, London Evening Standard and Guardian highlighted Margate’s attraction as a weekend destination for visitors with Forbes stressing its “impressive revival” and “transformation”. The gallery’s appeal to audiences from further afield has had an impact on the visitor economy and contributed to a rise in overnight stays, with 66% of these staying in paid for accommodation in summer 2018. Train travel to Margate has increased by 61% since 2011 and this year, the gallery were proud finalists in the Kent Tourism Awards.

Clive Stevens, Chair of Turner Contemporary says:

“Welcoming our 3 millionth visitor is an exceptional milestone for Turner Contemporary. Initially it was predicted that the gallery would attract 150,000 visits per year and we have exceeded all expectations. Our significant economic and social impact affirms the importance of everybody having access to art and creativity. We’re looking forward to an exceptional year in 2019 as we host the internationally renowned Turner Prize and plan to welcome more visitors to the gallery than ever before.”

At the heart of Turner Contemporary’s activity is its aim to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to connect with world-class art; during the gallery’s summer exhibition this year, Animals & Us, 10% of visitors had never visited a gallery before in their lives.  Offering learning opportunities is a vital element of the gallery’s work. For example, YAASS: Empowered, an exhibition featuring thought provoking artworks, created by young people across thirteen special schools in East Kent is currently on display in the gallery’s Clore Learning Studio. The impact of this activity is significant; research undertaken by Canterbury Christ Church University found that for every £1 invested in the gallery’s formal education programme, £5.15 net social value is created for individuals involved.  

This Christmas, the gallery have brought Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan's bold and alternative Christmas tree installation, DOES THE ITERATIVE FIT, which was previously displayed in London’s Granary Square, to their terrace. The shop is stocking unique products from local artists, suppliers and makers, with every purchase supporting the gallery’s work as well as the local creative community. As Turner Prize 2019 approaches, they will use this high profile moment to inspire more visits to the local area during autumn, further enhancing the visitor economy outside of the traditional summer tourist season and developing the region’s reputation nationally and internationally.

Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Mon 3 Dec 2018