MP Matt Hancock, government minister for digital and cultural affairs, has visited the Turner Contemporary in Margate after it was revealed that nearly a million people who have visited the town in the past five years, headed straight for the gallery.
The figures were released by Canterbury Christ Church University who studied the revenue generated by guests visiting the Turner Contemporary and how the gallery has been a source of social and economic regeneration within Margate. The social value report was revealed at a reception hosted by MP for North Thanet Sir Roger Gale at the House of Commons on Monday, October 31.
The results prompted the visit from Matt Hancock yesterday (8 November), who spent the morning looking at the exhibitions on display and greeting some of the artists whose works are featured there.
Over the past five years more than 960,000 visits to the town are thought to have been by people with the sole intention of going to the gallery, and who then subsequently spend time and money in the town centre. Money being spent by these visitors is going straight back into the economy.
From 2015 to 2016 more than £7.8 million of additional funds were generated by visitors to the art gallery.
Bosses have also taken the opportunity to work with primary schools in the area to transform green spaces close by to their classrooms into creative zones.
Young Arts Leaders work with representatives from the gallery, who go into the schools, on a Friday afternoon to develop their own idea of what the perfect space would look like.
Matt Hancock had a tour of the galleries and was also taken to the artist studios and cultural spaces in the town.
Chair of the Turner Contemporary, Clive Stevens, believes the visit was an occasion to think about what is next.
He said: “It’s brilliant to welcome a visit from the Minister of State for Digital and Culture.
“Five years into its development, Turner Contemporary continues to lead on the regeneration of Margate and following our social value report it’s clear that the gallery has achieved so much more than was expected.”
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