Arts and culture play a key role in helping make communities more successful and more enjoyable places to live in. RDHCT Trustees have supported many initiatives to develop the arts in east Kent, making contributions to Turner Contemporary at Margate, the Colyer-Fergusson centre for music performance on the Kent University campus and the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.
Perhaps most notably the Trust has provided core funding for each of the exhibitions of the Folkestone Triennial, which have taken place every three years since 2008. Folkestone Triennial is an innovative art exhibition commissioned and managed by Creative Folkestone, an independent arts and regeneration charity that is spearheading the development of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter. This process has been enabled largely by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust which has provided significant funds to acquire and refurbish formerly dilapidated buildings in the old town area.
The Folkestone Triennial invites selected artists to develop works for Folkestone’s streets, squares, beaches and historic buildings, creating a cutting-edge contemporary art exhibition in spaces that are open and accessible to the public. Each exhibition includes both temporary works, which remain for the duration of the show, and a number of permanent pieces, so that over a period of time Folkestone acquires a collection of high calibre contemporary art.
The first two exhibitions were curated by Andrea Schlieker, and included works by David Batchelor, Tracey Emin, Hugh Locke, Jeremy Deller, Martin Creed and Richard Wilson. Some of the permanent pieces, most notably Mark Wallinger’s Folk Stones, near The Leas Bandstand, and Cornelia Parker’s Folkestone Mermaid, on the edge of Sunny Sands Beach, have become part of the popular fabric of Folkestone. The third and fourth exhibitions have been curated by Lewis Biggs, with contributions from Yoko Ono, Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley and Gabriel Lester. In 2014 Michal Sailstorfer’s installation featured 30 pieces of 24-carat gold buried in the beach, attracting large numbers of “prospectors” and generating worldwide media coverage.
Many of the commissions for each Triennial exhibition are retained in the town as part of a permanent collection of contemporary art in public places, also managed by Creative Folkestone, under the banner “Folkestone Artworks”.
For more information please visit the Triennial official website www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk or the Folkestone Artworks website www,folkestoneartworks.co.uk.