Artist Tracey Emin to display her work at planned Carl Freedman gallery in Margate

Tracey Emin

Artist Tracey Emin will display her work at the new  Carl Freedman gallery when it opens in Margate.

The contemporary artist, probably still best-known for her ‘unmade bed,’ said she hopes to exhibit some of her prints at the venue in Union Crescent, which The Isle of Thanet News revealed had been bought by the prestigious gallery earlier this year.

The former Margate girl also said the town was fast becoming an “epicentre for the arts” with many of her acquaintances looking to buy property and open galleries in the area.

She added: “London isn’t looking after its culture or creative people so Margate is becoming an epicentre for arts. I have a number of friends looking for studios and galleries, things are really going to happen here.

“Margate is a beautiful setting and its architecture has not been destroyed but is being protected.”

Ms Emin said she has exhibited prints with Carl Freedman previously and was looking forward to the opportunity to do so at the new gallery space planned for the former Thanet Press building.

The 10,000 square foot space is over two floors of a concrete 1960s commercial building which will also house Freedman’s print publishing business Counter Editions.

An artist residency and roof top sculpture project space are also planned.

Jonathan Viner, who bought part of the Thanet Press buildings last year, is also involved in the scheme.

Dreamland’s neon switch-on

Ms Emin was speaking at the switch on of Dreamland’s famous neon signs last night (May 26).

Photo Dean Spinks

Addressing the crowd at the switch-on Ms Emin said: “Anybody who grew up in Margate has seen these lights before.

“When I heard they were being switched on again I thought ‘I’m coming back to Margate.’

“When people come into Margate now the first words they are going to see is Dreamland.

“It is going to be a new place with new possibilities where people can dream and achieve things. I’m really proud to be here and to turn the lights on.

Art at the Dreamland Bars

The light ceremony was also joined by artist Rachel Wilberforce, whose 2015 artwork Solaris already sits in the Dreamland Arcade.

The Heritage Lottery funded artwork consists of two large-scale double collage installations of abstracted historic imagery, light-boxes and glazing, situated at the former Dreamland Bars in Margate.

Ms Wilberforce said: “The work takes the cinematic experience and architecture and juxtaposes its Expressionist and Art Deco influences with Dreamland’s rich cultural references.”

The installation will be on display throughout the summer.

Renovation works

The switch on, which coincided with the re-opening of Dreamland amusement park, also signals the successful completion of the second phase of renovation work led by Thanet District Council.

Photo Thanet from my perspective

The project, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Coastal Communities Fund, marks a significant milestone in the Dreamland journey, which included Thanet District Council’s decision to compulsory purchase the site after it had sat vacant with an uncertain future since 2003.

‘Cultural icon’

Madeline Homer, Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, said: “The opening of Dreamland in 1935, with its Expressionist and Art Deco influences, attracted international attention to Margate and we are delighted to have brought this building back to life and given back a major cultural icon to the town.

“Together with integral support from other public organisations and partners, we have remained committed to creating a world class destination and sustainable business that the local community can be proud of. This really is a momentous occasion; one which reinforces our bold decision to secure the site.

“Dreamland has been an essential part of Margate’s identity for nearly 100 years and the re- opening of the Dreamland amusement park will contribute significantly to the ongoing regeneration of our iconic seaside resort, helping to raise further the profile of the district, provide more jobs and bring greater visitor numbers and opportunities to Thanet as a whole.”

Guests were also able to see the newly renovated Sunshine Café. The building, also transformed as part of the council’s phase two work, is  earmarked for a destination restaurant.

The space is currently advertised for rent with a new operator to be announced soon.