THE Turner Contemporary will receive at least £1 million in public money a year once it opens.
A trust is due to take over the running of the gallery from Kent County Council (KCC) on April 1, but it will receive a grant of more than £1 million a year to help cover the gallery’s estimated £2.6 million annual running costs.
The grant is in addition to the money already paid by KCC, the Arts Council and the South East Economic Development Agency (Seeda) to build the £17.5 million gallery by Margate’s harbour arm.
The grant will continue until KCC leaders judge the gallery can support itself.
Speaking to the Isle of Thanet Gazette, trust chairman John Kampfner said the funding was agreed before the trust was appointed, but he was confident the project would provide value for money.
He said: “We’re not complacent. Everybody will always have their opinions and they are free to air them.
“We want to show people by our actions that this is a great thing for the town, not by what we say.
“The views I hear now are more of frustrated impatience at waiting for the gallery to open, rather than about the project itself.”
Former New Statesman editor Mr Kampfner now heads the Index on Censorship, which promotinges freedom of speech.
He said the trust was in close contact with other projects in the town, such as the planned redevelopment of Dreamland.
Mr Kampfner said 2010 would be the year when “it all comes together”, and welcomed Margate artist Tracey Emin’s installation planned for Droit House, which will be unveiled around the time the trust assumes control of the gallery.
KCC said the cost of Emin’s project, which will see a pink neon sign reading “I never stopped loving you”, installed over the entrance to the Droit House, has not yet been finalised.