Tracey Emin is turning a former Margate bathhouse into a free art school

TKE Studios will function as a “revolutionary” art school, studio space for 30 artists, and “mini-museum” featuring Emin’s own work.

7 January 2022

Having relocated back to Margate in 2017, artist Tracey Emin has revealed plans to open an art school in her seaside hometown at a newly acquired site – a former bathhouse, car park and mortuary. The upcoming project, titled TKE Studios after Tracey Karima Emin, is part of a wider vision to turn the Kent town into an “artist’s haven”, which also includes the launch of a three-to-four month artist’s residency scheme at a second location.

Emin announced her plans in a recent Times interview: “People will have to apply, and there’ll be really strict rules,” said the artist on the school. “No sub-letting, no smoking, no loud music. And if people don’t want to do the rules then they won’t have a studio there.”

The interview states her soon-to-be school, a site which locals currently call “the compound”, will be, rather fittingly, “revolutionary”, with the studios running on revolutionary lines. “The artists will come from a mix of generations – “baby artists, middle artists, older artists – with the older artists helping the younger ones,” Emin expressed. “The other thing, because the rents are going to be so low, I’m not having people having part-time jobs and then never coming in. So, I’m setting it up so they . . . will have time to work and paint.”

Emin also describes the atmosphere of “constant intellectual rigour” she wants to foster at the studios, mimicking her own experience at Maidstone College of Art, where a regular corridor event every Thursday meant students’ work was regularly on display.

Beyond this already ambitious offering, Emin has further aims for TKE Studios and the coinciding artist residency. The artist ultimately hopes these endeavours will get artists to “fall in love with the town and decide to stay.” She continues: “So it’s organically making the place right for the right people. I love art. And I love property. And this way I’m combining both my loves and doing a bit of good.”

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Copyright © Tracey Emin via Instagram (@traceyeminstudio) 2021

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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