Tracey Emin has officially opened her new artist residency project and TKE Studios (Tracey Karima Emin) in Margate.
The event was attended by hundreds of people, including well-known figures such as Bob Geldof and Jools Holland. The former Edwardian bathhouse, mortuary and children’s nursery were bought by Emin for £750,000 in November 2021 and has since undergone extensive renovations costing over £1million.
The space now consists of artist studios and gallery spaces to provide “a perfect working environment”. Ten artists from around the world, including Uganda, America and Margate, are occupying the studios which Emin is subsidising. There will be a schedule of visiting tutors and a catering school led by Margate restaurateurs Lee Coad and Charlotte Forsdike.
Emin has also bought nearby flats, which she is renting to her artists at a subsidised rate. During her opening speech, Emin revealed her plans to submit a proposal to buy the Westbrook Loggia building at Westbrook Bay from Thanet council. She plans to renovate the building and create a swimming and surfers club, hot showers, steam rooms, café, bijou restaurant, and sundeck. Emin believes that wherever the arts go, commerce follows and she hopes that her investment in Margate will help regenerate the town and benefit everyone in Thanet, including those living below the poverty line.
The ten artists have been in residency for the last three weeks and will be provided with an 18-month course, with a year of tuition and six months of preparation for a show. Funding for the studios was secured when Emin sold her artwork, Like a Cloud of Blood, for £2.3million. The piece was auctioned by Christies last year with the money going into Emin’s foundation to support current and emerging artists at the new studios.
Talking about the new gallery, Ms Emin said: “This is better than I could ever dreamt or ever imagined. When I was grew up in Margate as a little girl that(opposite) was my library, the Sunday School was around the corner that I wasn’t allowed to go to after I was followed home. Margate was such a different place and I am so proud of everybody who has been part of this project and part of Margate’s regeneration generally.”
“Wherever the arts go, commerce follows except this time we got here first and we’ve nailed it.
“Margate is ours, it’s our town it’s our creative mecca and we are going to make it more creative and more available for creative people to live here.”
Find the studios at: https://www.traceyeminfoundation.com/