Turner Contemporary proposal to keep spinning disc installation at East Cliff bandstand for a further year

Beacons installation Photo Brian Whitehead

Turner Contemporary has applied for permission to leave the Beacons spinning disc installation in place at the East Cliff bandstand for another year.

The four structures, which each have a coloured steel disc at the top of a steel pole weighted by a tripod base, were installed in September last year and were scheduled to be in place for one year.

But the Margate art gallery is now hoping to extend that until the end of September 2023.

Photo Frank Leppard

The installation was part of the Pioneering Places project with some 70 Ramsgate schoolchildren from St Laurence’s Junior Academy and Ramsgate Arts Primary working with artist Conrad Shawcross.

The children involved in the project researched Ramsgate, with a focus on the historic character of its Royal Harbour, and this was used for their ideas for the artwork.

The themes are drawn from nautical signalling and ideas about Ramsgate and its Royal Harbour – noting Ramsgate’s legacy as a tourist destination.

Each structure is hand operated by a handle which allows each disc to be gently rotated when turned.

Photo Frank Leppard

The application from Turner Contemporary says: “We wish to extend the time in which the artwork can stay in situ, for the following reasons: The artwork was created in collaboration with local children in response to their research into Ramsgate, so we want it to have as much exposure in this location as possible before it moves onto a new location.

“There is an interest from other organisations to host the artwork, and once it has been removed, it will be on long term loan, so we want to make the most of it in its original location before this happens.

“The artist is of international renown, and the artwork is a draw for visitors to come to the town. It has been mentioned in many news outlets and provides a landmark for the town.

Photo Brian Whitehead

“The artwork is increasing local interest in an area sometimes overlooked. The installation has been maintained throughout, with only two instances of minor vandalism which were immediately rectified, and we foresee no future issues with it.

“A structural survey shows there are no signs of structural distress. The intended summer opening of the installation was delayed until autumn due to TDC requesting the artwork be relocated, and we would like to extend it for a further summer so more holiday visitors to Thanet may be able to experience it.

“Considerable investment was put into establishing the suitability of the site, and of adapting the artwork to make it safe during a pandemic, so by extending the timescale this would make such investment more worthwhile.

“Parts of the artworks originally fabricated in less permanent material have since been upgraded to durable aluminium to withstand a longer exhibition.”

Photo Brian Whitehead

The bandstand is a Grade II listed asset, and a designated public open space, within the Ramsgate Conservation Area. The structure dates to the late 1930s and includes the patterned dancefloor, the boundary wall, railings and steps, as well as the bandstand itself.

A decision on the time extension is yet to be made.