Thursday 23 May 2013

Curious Margate

I'm so excited about the new exhibition, Curiosity: Art and the Pleasure of Knowing that opens tomorrow at Turner Contemporary. It sounds like it's going to be the perfect fit with Margate.

There's a walrus. A huge walrus that has made the journey from The Horniman Museum in South London to the seaside. His first move since 1890. He's also on Twitter as @HornimanWalrus. I recommend following him. In fact, this is possibly the best cross-platform-social-media-arts-community-engagement-doo-dah I've seen! It's all given even more umph by the power of Margate's social media community. Follow the hashtag #curiousmargate.

Margate is a town steeped in curiosity and mystery. I know that might sound  corny, but it's true. Some of my favourite places are still unsolved mysteries such as the Grade I Listed Shell Grotto and the labyrinth of tunnels and passageways under the Grade II listed Cliftonville Lido. The latter, of course, off-limits unless on an official guided tour by the developers at the moment. One of the other Margate places I was recommended to go by a local was the Powell Cotton Museum at Quex.  I then was told to go to check out RG Scotts up Grotto Hill. I wandered into the abandoned Countess of Huntingdon's Burial Ground by accident one sunny morning. I could go on. Curiosity and the curious were here long before the kiss-me-quick and it's all here to discover if you know where to look.

Each and every one of these places left me reeling with surprise on experiencing them for the first time. I wish I could go back and always walk in for the first time. And all of these things, these amazingly curious and wonderful things are here in one small town. Each more or less within walking distance of each other. Making Margate truly a safe bet for intrepid explorers of curious eccentricity.

Turner Contemporary have paired up with the artist Margherita Gramengna to develop a parallel show out throughout the town called Curious Margate. It will lead people to discover curiosity boxes out beyond the seafront gallery. Shops and businesses have really embraced the challenge. You shall see! Follow the Curious Margate Pinterest board.

Looking forward to a summer of Curious Margate. Be forever curious.

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