Four National Portfolio funding awards for Margate

Cold Light currently displayed at Turner Contemporary Photo Dan Thompson
By Dan Thompson
Thanet arts organisations are celebrating after securing funding from Arts Council England.

The national arts body has made three Margate-based arts organisations and one Margate artist part of their National Portfolio, funding them over the next three years.

The awards are part of their 2023-26 Investment Programme. Three local organisations were already part of the National Portfolio and will see their funding continue.

Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary will receive £681,793 each year. The gallery, under new director Clarrie Wallis, will use it to support new initiatives include extending the gallery’s work with young people, and developing an environmental strand that reflects their coastal location.

1927 created animation show Golem in 2017

Theatre company 1927, based on Northdown Road, will receive £220,991 every year. Their new show Mehr Als Alles Auf Der Welt recently premiered at the Akademietheater, in Vienna.

And ‘alternative art school’ Open School East will receive £91,656 each year. They run an Associates Programme for artists, a Young Associates Programme for young people aged 18-21 living in the Thanet area, and The Despacito Art School for 5 to 12 year olds and their families from Cliftonville, Margate.

Open School East

New to the National Portfolio is artist James Leadbitter of Madlove Ltd, who has received £150,000 per year for his work as ‘The Vacuum Cleaner’, making works with groups including young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge how mental health is understood and treated.

Thanet’s creative businesses have helped to lead regeneration in Margate. In 2019, the government estimated that the creative industries contributed £115.9 billion to the UK, accounting for 5.9% of the UK economy. There are 2.1m jobs in the creative industries, with another 1.4m roles supported by the sector through its supply chains.

For more information about Arts Council England and its funding, visit


    • Agreed.

      The report indicates that one particular artist is going to be paid £150,000 a year for the next four years to challenge how mental health is treated . . .

      It makes me feel like spraying somewhere with orange paint in protest – and calling that art too . . .

  1. Quite how much free money and resources does it take to run an art gallery? Initial build cost, free land, 2 million plus refurb when barely a decade old, free car park to give an income stream, endless financial support, but if you go in there it’s some sort of left leaning propaganda centre with a finger painting play space like some sort of sure start .
    That’s before we look at all the other publicly funded hangers on. At least the likes of Emin and Freedman ( excuse spelling ) have invested their own money and invested in the area. At which point is the creative community going to be self sufficient?

    • You could ask when any UK industry is going to be self-sufficient. Farming gets £4.7bn a year in government subsidies. Fishing only exists because of government funding – they’ve just been given £75m to buy new boats. Locally Ramsgate port is heavily subsidised, and is about to get another £9.62m. At least the creative industries return a profit for their subsidy.

      • Come dan how much profit has Turner centre made,as you state,without millions being give and free entry it would close in a few months ,so can exactly how much profit has it made,figures please

        • Agree if the Turner centre was self funding it would be bust within months. That’s why the Turner centre is scared to stand on it’s own feet.

          If the Turner centre is that popular stop taking our taxes and do the decent thing

      • All of your examples are critical to the running of the country and maintaining a degree of food and transport security. We’d survive quite well without art and i’m sure there are many who’d rather see the creative cash going into hips, cancer treatment,housing. The nation is hardly awash with spare cash at present.

      • Yep, 3.5 million over 3years could train quite a few plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc etc. Providing opportunity for a good number of unemployed locals.

        • I couldn’t agree more. Young person in my family who has his plumbing qualifications now has to find around £5000 to take his gas safe qualification. No grants, no help with student loans like uni students get. Little wonder so many kids don’t go into the established trades.

  2. How much of our money is in the art funding kitty ?

    With talk of cut backs I hope the arty community take their fair share of cut backs.

  3. Well, we called it here over the last week or two-as I said when the council will be unable to afford funding for things story that while people starve, the Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal etc are closed & begging for money, that the Turder & all the other ‘arts’ will still be funded.

    Only surprised Dreamland didn’t get a cut as usual, after all that wonderful Graffiti from the BLM group she moved in there must count as art?

  4. You would have thought the Turner centre would be getting embarrassed by now always needing hangouts. Seems not.

    • Nope, it makes clear in its mission statement that it relies on donations & KCC, Arts Council etc handouts to keep going & has no desire to charge admission or sell merchandise.

      Of course both Miss Pompousry & the new incumbent both know that nobody would actually pay to go in to see the rubbish on display & so it has to rely on funding.

  5. why they keep throwing money at this cr*p is beyond me , a few years back it was never mentioned, now its become an obsession , or is it more to do with the money thats avaliable in the name of “art “?

  6. ‘Thanet’s creative businesses have helped to lead regeneration in Margate’?
    Step outside your little bubble, Dan Thompson, and look at the real state of the town and many of its impoverished residents.
    Then tell us why it’s fine for so many millions to be targeted towards so few.

  7. Friend from London told me a saying they have there: ‘Artists are the shock-troops of the middle classes’. Artification makes working-class areas more attractive to those who are better off … and that would be okay … except that when this process really takes off, as it has in Margate, it amounts to social-cleansing. Part of the process involves draining funding away from services and facilities that serve or appeal to those who are less wealthy / less trendy.
    Art is really important to me but in these desperate times it should be self-funding unless there is a clear and measurable benefit to those who actually need help.
    The arty elite should take note of the saying ‘you always kill the thing you love’ … Margate will become a souless playground for ‘creatives’ at this rate, as well as impoverished.

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