Margate Creative Spaces: A Jewel in the centre of Cliftonville.

Northdown Road’s newest gallery and creative space – Salon.

The most recent addition to Cliftonville’s revival, Salon opened its doors in June 2023, and has already hosted ten separate creative installations and exhibitions.

A black door with the word "Salon" written on it situated between two glass curved shop windows

A beautiful Edwardian curved window is the “4th wall” of the space, where light pours into the far corners of the former jewellery shop.  From the street, there are no barriers to walking in – it’s on street level and the wide, glass shopfront gives a perfect view of the exhibitions on display inside.  Exhibitors use the proximity of life on Northdown Road to their advantage in planning their shows, with private views turning into street parties in the summer, and live music performance accessible for anybody walking by.

At night the shop twinkles with colour and light, warmth and vibrancy emanating from within. The street itself becomes a viewing gallery.

A curved shop front window with artwork on display inside, lit from within, a group of people outside
The Loser Gang’s show at Salon

Proprietor Tim Gomersall says he knew only snippets about the history of the building until by chance a passer by who grew up in Cliftonville walked in and told him that the shop used to be a jeweller’s.  It was owned and run by a family who also owned the hairdresser’s next door (now 101 Social).  The quirky kiosk situated between the two shops was the pay-point for both establishments, and is now utilized by Salon as a versatile addition to the gallery space, sometimes it’s a DJ booth, sometimes it’s part of an installation, sometimes a stand-alone display cabinet.

A lit DJ booth and a colourful shop with a group of people inside

Tim was familiar with the work of London’s Creative Land Trust, having received support from them for his London-based creative studio during lockdown.  Tim says he was delighted to discover that Margate has its own Creative Land Trust, as community work and supporting up-coming creatives aligns perfectly with what he hopes the Salon will achieve in the coming months.

“We want the Salon to be a space that supports and improves accessibility for exhibiting, whether that’s physical accessibility, with our street level entrance and free entry to all our exhibitions, financial accessibility, by making the space affordable, or social accessibility, as we get to know our community and encourage them to get involved”.

Since its inception, The Salon’s activities have naturally overlapped and merged with events taking place at 101 Social, which is right next door.  The Gallery has attracted new artists and creatives to the street, bringing fresh energy to the local area, whilst regulars of 101 Social are now engaging more with Margate’s growing creative scene.

A young man and a young woman behind a glass shop front looking out onto the street
Local artists Charlie Evaristo-boyce and Mathilda Mai

In order to get the Salon off the ground and generate some initial bookings, Tim decided to let out the space at rental cost only, covering only the rent that he pays himself.  This has enabled emerging artists to exhibit their work.

We spoke to artist Abstract Marshall, who has a separate career as a landscape artist, but has recently diversified into abstract art.  She told us that the Salon’s support is giving people with no experience of exhibiting the confidence to show their work, and with the rent being kept low, it’s been an affordable option for her to gain some exposure in this new aspect of her career.  Abstract Marshall’s exhibition was held at Salon in November.

Abstract Marshall’s recent exhibition

Every artist that has shown their work at Salon so far has remained a part of the space by leaving behind gifts of artwork that now adorn a wall of honour in the kiosk.

Salon’s unique kiosk

Anastasia Tory Tyranova-Romanchuk, whose exhibition was shown in the summer of 2023, has since become a partner in the running of the gallery.

The Salon is gaining a steady following, not only in Margate but in the wider Thanet region.

December will see the space turned into an “Art Superstore” with a collection of local artists selling their work during the festive season.

If you would like to enquire about hiring space at the Salon, or if you have an idea for a project, please get in touch:

[email protected] or DM on Instagram @salon.margate

You can follow all the artists featured in this article on Instagram:

Anastasia: @keramoart

Abstract Marshall: @abstract.marshall

Charlie: @charlieevaristoboyce

Mathilda: @mathildamaiart

The Loser Gang: @loser_gang

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