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Folkestone Triennial 2011 kicks off this weekend

  • Date: 23 June 2011
  • Area: South East
skeleton on the beach

The Sea Monster for Folkestone Triennial, Charles Avery, 2011. Credit: Thierry Bal

A Kent seaside town is to host an ambitious major international public art project that opens to the public this Saturday.

Folkestone Triennial presents A Million Miles from Home, an exhibition of new public art commissions from 19 international artists, curated by Andrea Schlieker.

The commissions will transport audiences to other worlds and cultures, from the historical to the mythical, and will be placed in Folkestone's streets, squares, beaches and historic buildings.

The commissions include a 20-foot long sea monster in the library (Charles Avery), Brazilian boat figureheads in the harbor (Tonico Lemos Auad), an Egyptian reading room set in an empty retail space (Hala Elkhoussy) and a Kosovan boutique, in the cobblestoned Old High Street in Folkestone's old town (Erzen Shkololli).

Folkestone Triennial 2011 is a three-yearly contemporary art exhibition produced by charity Creative Foundation, a leader in the regeneration of the town. The project's aim is to engage, entertain, educate and establish Folkestone as a cultural hub, providing opportunities for local people to engage with the arts and for the town to attract visitors. This year's Triennial has been supported with a £350,000 Arts Council Grants for the arts award, which is our open access Lottery funded scheme.

Now in its second year, the Folkestone Triennial will take place Saturday 25 June to 25 September. The public launch day is on 25 June at Folkestone Harbour from 11am to 4pm. It will begin with an official opening, followed by an afternoon of live music, street theatre, workshops, family activities, talks and an arts, crafts and food fair.

Visitors can take up the many tours on offer such as Hamish Fulton's slow walk and theatre group Scandalmongers family tour. A permanent education centre called Making Space  based in the Old Post Office will also house workshops, activities and talks for children and young people - including a young person's guide to the Triennial.

In keeping with the Triennial's aim to use places that are 'overgrown, locked up, hidden or secret', Arts Council regularly funded organisation Strange Cargo will present their commission, an A6 illustrated alternative guide book of Folkestone called Everywhere Means Something To Someone. The guide book shows unobserved and hidden sites of local and personal interest, compiled from working with local residents, capturing their thoughts on what makes a place meaningful. 

Trevor Minter, Chief Executive, Creative Foundation, says: 'All is now ready to welcome guests to the second Folkestone Triennial, which we hope will build on the great success of the first exhibition in 2008. We believe visitors will be entertained and engaged by the artworks that will be on display all over the town throughout the summer, and that both the exhibition and the Festival Fringe will further consolidate Folkestone's growing reputation as a centre of creative excellence.'

This year's Triennial will also be joined by the Folkestone Triennial Fringe, which is supported by Shepway District Council and the Folkestone Triennial and includes over 80 events and over 100 artists, musicians, writers and arts groups. The Fringe programme is published in a guide called the Fringe Fanzine.

One of the Fringe works supported by the Arts Council this year is Jonathan Wright's Rare Love, a large pylon structure facing out to sea that picks up radio waves and transmits the radio waves via loudspeakers. The structure will be based at Folkestone's Harbour Car Park. The project was supported with a £9,000 Grants for the arts award.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England says:

'We are pleased to support this year's Folkestone Triennial. Communities need great art and culture at their heart, and Creative Foundation's dedication to art-driven cultural regeneration - which includes the Triennial - has helped make Folkestone a key cultural player. The Triennial brings a great range of international visual arts to the town, and I am excited to see this year's commissions.

'I also look forward to observing the great outreach work that will encourage children, young people, artists, arts companies and local residents to get involved with this year's programme. Great art enriches lives, and Folkestone Triennal will help more people experience and be inspired by the arts both locally and regionally.' 

The Folkestone Triennial A Million Miles from Home commissioned artists are: Strange Cargo, Tonico Lemos Auad, Charles Avery, Camp, Martin Creed, A K Dolven, Smadar Dreyfus, Hala Elkoussy, Ruth Ewan, Spencer Finch, Hamish Fulton, Cristina Iglesias, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, Hew Locke, Cornelia Parker, Olivia Plender, Zineb Sedira, Erzen Shkololli, and Paloma Varga Weisz.

Folkestone Triennial runs from Saturday 25 June to 25 September. For more information, see