Gallery leads prize shortlist
TURNER Contemporary is a "strong contender" in the race to become Museum of the Year.
The Margate art gallery features in the ten-strong list in contention for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize, formerly known as the Gulbenkian Prize.
The judging panel, led by chairman former culture secretary Chris Smith, now Lord Smith of Finsbury, visited Margate last week.
A firm believer in art-led regeneration, he believes Turner Contemporary meets all the criteria for the prize.
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He said: "The number of visitors to the gallery shows it can be a catalyst for regeneration in Margate.
"It has drawn people to the area and gets them spending money which supports businesses and jobs.
"We are looking for originality, excellence, public engagement and architecture – the Turner Contemporary seems to deliver on all three."
The panel remarked on the building's seafront location and its combination of classic and contemporary art – Turner, Rodin and Hamish Fulton's show Walk under the same roof.
The British Museum in London won last year's award for its acclaimed exhibition A History Of The World In 100 Objects.
A final shortlist of four nominees will be announced on Monday, May 14.
This year the Turner Contemporary's rivals for the title of Museum of the Year are: Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes; the Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield; the Holburne Museum, Bath; M Shed, Bristol; the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Riverside Museum, Glasgow; Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter; Watts Gallery, Guildford.