Folkestone Artworks – The Largest Public Exhibition in the UK

The Folkestone Artworks is the UK’s largest, if not the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary art outdoors in an urban setting.

Creative Folkestone has established 74 artworks by 46 artists in the town thanks to four Folkestone Triennial Festivals since 2008.   These exhibitions have brought hundreds of thousands of people to see work by internationally renowned artists, Turner Prize winners and a good number of artists from our own community.

The Triennials have received worldwide press coverage for Folkestone including, in 2014 when Michael Sailstorfer buried gold on the beach.   A few weeks’ later, a piece titled ‘Art Buff’ appeared overnight, and was soon confirmed as a Banksy.

Even when Triennials aren’t in full throw, Folkestone features in the national newspapers, The Independent most recently having fallen for our charms.

This exhibition is possible thanks to many sponsors including the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Kent County Council.

Jonathan Wright has two works as part of the permanent collection; Fleet on Foot – the golden boats on lamp-posts in Tontine Street from the 2017 Triennial Festival, and Pent Houses – created with Diane Dever for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial.


At the launch of the latest additions to the collection Jonathan said: “What I find remarkable about Folkestone is that when I moved here 9 and a half years ago, I wandered around the town and ended up in the wonderful Strange Cargo gallery, and landed myself a show within the first few days of being here.  And that sums up how this place works.  Folkestone is unique and remarkable and the establishing of the Folkestone Artworks creates a kind of confluence of art-meets-community-meets-world-meets-futures-meets-possibilities.

“I was born and bred in London, and it was a very difficult decision to move from there.  I had wanted to tame the beast that is London, to master and defeat it!  In that year before I left I’d had two, or had participated in two exhibitions.  After two years of being here in Folkestone, I’d had 17!   It was like having a load lifted of me!  It’s a unique place, and every walk or trip into town, for me, is about looking at this place in a different way, and understanding it.  It’s about the fact that the audience here is the most diverse you will ever come across.  To have a man with more tattoos than I have teeth with his arm around me and the biggest pit bull terrier I have ever seen telling me that he loves this piece of art, is … well, it’s just normal around here, and that’s an amazing thing! 

“I’m never bored here, and never struggling; never at a loss to be creative.  It’s a wonderful place, and to be in a Triennial twice, and in this permanent collection is an honour.”

Folkestone Artworks will be running guided walking tours of the artworks around the town on Saturdays from 11.30am.  For details, contact the Folkestone Artworks Visitor Centre at The Clearing, Quarterhouse, Folkestone.

All picture credits: Creative Folkestone Artworks

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