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Margate Turner Contemporary Art Gallery

margateThe Turner Contemporary Art Gallery, opening April 16th in Margate on the North Kent coast, is going to be very good reason for a whole lot of visitors to spend some time in a town not well known for its cultural attractions.  The gallery stands on the Margate seafront; on the site of a 19th century cottage where the visionary artist JMW Turner stayed during his many visits to Margate, and it embodies an equally visionary approach to the world of art and artists.

Never before has Britain seen the construction of three new contemporary galleries in one year, but Turner Contemporary is just the first of these regional galleries to open its doors.  On 21 May, the Hepworth, on the river Calder in Wakefield will debut, and in September the spectacular ‘gold plated’ firstsite will be opening to the public in Colchester, Essex.

The Turner was designed by architect David Chipperfield, who said it is “not a museum, it is a cultural centre”, and that his design was meant to bring art to the people, not make them go searching for it.  Chipperfield also says that the Turner should be more a community gathering spot and a place for enjoyment and learning, rather than just a ‘stuffy’ conventional gallery or museum.

The hope and expectation is that these unconventional galleries opening in non-urban areas such as Margate will have a regenerative effect on the various regions.  The example set by the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Tate Modern in London has encouraged this expectation.  It appears that the average citizen really does appreciate art in all its forms; art just needs to be more welcoming.

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