The opening remark of Jon Snow's speech at the launch of the Turner and the Elements exhibition was a telling one.
"I have been to Timbuktu but I have never been to Margate" the Channel 4 News presenter quipped apologetically as he addressed the great and the good at the Turner Contemporary last night (Friday, January 27).
Everyone knows Margate has been essentially seen as a bit naff for the best part of about 25 years but as the keynote speaker continued his speech, the shift in attitudes towards the seaside town became apparent.
A committee member the Tate in London and a passionate watercolourist, Jon had spent the afternoon sneaking a peak at the exhibition of 88 Turner works now on show in Margate.
He referred to Turner's oil painting New Moon and gushed "the sunset you see in that painting is the one I have seen tonight." He marvelled at the Turner Contemporary's architecture and how the gallery would allow Turner's works to be seen in the natural light which inspired the Romantic painter.
The Turner Contemporary is largely being credited as the spark for this renewed interest in Margate but as JMW Turner and now Jon Snow have recognised, the key ingredients have always been there - it has just been getting the right attention for them.
There are fewer more beautiful scenes than a sunset in Margate, which is very unusual owing the town's north facing position. That light is captured superbly inside the Turner Contemporary and reflected unsurpassably in JMW Turner's work. The way he developed his style of capturing the elements on paper and canvas was largely developed in Thanet and north Kent, so to see these works all in one place will no doubt pull in vast numbers of visitors to the area.
"We are seeing the beginnings of people talking about Margate as a cultural destination," said journalist John Kampfner, who is also the chair of trustees at the Turner Contemporary.
"The buzz has been here now for a year since the building was completed last January and the attendance speaks for itself. We have had well over 350,000 people in nine months. We were planning for 150,000 in the year.
Also running at the gallery is the walking art exhibition of Canterbury-based artist Hamish Fulton. When asked how he felt about his works going on show at the gallery, he decided instead to draw attention to the Turner works, such is the significance of the exhibition.
"The privilege of making an exhibition with the Turner paintings is great. It is great to see real Turners as opposed to the ones inside books - the actual paintings themselves. When you look at them close up you can see the detail."
The former editor of the New Stateman, Mr Kampfner continued: "We have had incredible success and plaudits for the first two shows but this one really does take us to new heights.
"It is a combination of Hamish' eclectic approach to multimedia art and an extraordinary Turner show with so many works.
"The way it has been put together with the different elements is a sight to behold. I will see it so many times because it will take people time to appreciate the full majesty of the exhibition.
"The critical reviews have also been very strong. It is not just about the art either. Margate will become a visitor destination when Dreamland opens. It is just up and up."
Margate has certainly felt the touch of Turner. But don't take their word for it. Take a look yourself.
Turner and the Elements runs until Sunday, May 13.
Hamish Fulton: Walk runs until Monday, May 7.