Folkestone is at the start of a regeneration programme which combines cultural, commercial and educational initiatives, led and inspired by two privately funded trusts who are working closely with the local authorities.
By Timothy Mason, 30 October 2008
Like many seaside resorts Folkestone (population 53,411) has been in decline since the middle of the twentieth century. The Folkestone Triennial is a flagship event. Costing £2.1 million, it aims to raise the town’s profile with a major visual arts exhibition spread across the town and featuring the work of established and less well-known artists from both the United Kingdom and abroad.
While there are very special circumstances underpinning the Folkestone Triennial, notably the generous support of Roger De Haan, there are lessons to be learnt from Folkestone Triennial experience by more modest public art projects, particularly the way in which the Triennial managed the relationship with artists.
More about the Folkestone Triennial
At the beginning of the 20th century, Folkestone was a seaside town at the height of fashion. A hundred years later, it had fallen victim of changing trends, its once busy port by-passed by the Channel Tunnel.
Urban regeneration depends not only on economic development but also on making a place where people want to live and work. Folkestone recognised an opportunity to support cultural regeneration as a special driver for change.
The idea of making Folkestone an open air sculpture gallery was long in gestation. It was the initiative of the Creative Foundation and the appointment of a highly experienced curator that finally turned the idea into a reality.
Careful preparation and planning were crucial if this new project was to capture the support and commitment of artists and to open on schedule.
The Triennial’s success has been the result of four key factors – a clear vision, the drive to implement it, the power to achieve it and the finance to make it possible.
Key facts and further details about the Folkestone Triennial.