The cultural renaissance transforming the seaside towns of England’s South East — spearheaded by the region’s world-class galleries and arts organizations — is the inspiration for England’s Creative Coast.
This series of art commissions and creative initiatives will connect the coastline of Essex, Kent and East Sussex, bringing new visitors to the region. The first artwork will be launched in spring 2020 with Michael Rakowitz’s commission in Margate, with the others following sequentially over the summer.
Ground-Breaking Project: Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent
This ground-breaking project, which is led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent and principally funded by Arts Council England and Visit England / Visit Britain through the Discover England Fund, encompasses:
• Waterfronts, curated by Tamsin Dillon – a series of seven new site-specific art commissions by Andreas Angelidakis, Mariana Castillo Deball, Holly Hendry, Jasleen Kaur, Katrina Palmer, Pilar Quinteros and Michael Rakowitz launching through 2020 and on display until late autumn
• The world’s first art geotour using GPS-enabled geocaching technology to share the hidden stories and creative spirit of England’s South East coast, as told by local communities
• Art Homes, to be piloted in Margate during the 2019 Turner Prize, which invites visitors to stay in the homes of local artists
• Personalized itineraries that allow visitors to curate their own journeys, from cultural experiences to food, drink and accommodation offers
Towner Eastbourne, the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, Hastings Contemporary, Creative Folkestone, Turner Contemporary in Margate, Cement Fields in Gravesend and Metal in Southend-on-Sea are joining forces for the first time to pioneer a cultural adventure that stretches from the aSouth Downs to the Thames Estuary, running from spring to late autumn of 2020.
The breath-taking coastline of Essex, Kent and Sussex is home to some of the UK’s most distinctive and visionary galleries and art events. From the iconic modernism of the De La Warr Pavilion —designed by architects Mendelsohn and Chermayeff to offer a new model of cultural provision for the people of Bexhill-on-Sea in 1935 and re-opened in 2005; through to the Chipperfield-designed Turner Contemporary in Margate, host of Turner Prize 2019, which has attracted more than 3.2 million visits and become an internationally renowned visitor attraction since opening in 2011; to Creative Folkestone’s mission to transform its town through collective creativity, the area has been at the forefront of arts led regeneration.
During the past 20 years, this arts regeneration has driven a significant renaissance in the region, expanding local economies by bringing new jobs, businesses and visitors to the coast while connecting the arts to daily life. With improved rail links such as Southeastern’s High Speed service, travel from London and moving from place to place along the coast has become easier and faster, bringing even more people to the area.
England’s Creative Coast builds on and celebrates this success, bringing together these coastal arts organizations for the first time in a project that connects art with the coastline to explore its ecology, history and future and invites visitors to explore the region in a new way.
Waterfronts: Seven New Art Commissions
Seaside towns are often seen as a barometer for the state of the nation and the coastline of the counties of East Sussex, Kent and Essex represents a strategic section of England’s border. So what does it mean for an artist to make a site-specific piece for this context at this moment in time?
England’s Creative Coast has appointed Tamsin Dillon to curate a series of seven specially commissioned artworks, collectively titled Waterfronts, each situated on and made in response to seven places along this coastline:
• Michael Rakowitz working with Turner Contemporary in Margate
• Mariana Castillo Deball working with Towner Eastbourne
• Holly Hendry working with the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-sea
• Andreas Angelidakis working with Hastings Contemporary
• Pilar Quinteros working with Creative Folkestone as part of Folkestone Triennial 2020
• Jasleen Kaur working with Cement Fields in Gravesend
• Katrina Palmer working with the Southend-based organisation, Metal
The artists will explore the border between the land and the waters, bringing their own knowledge, understanding and interests to reflect on the issues faced by these particular locations. The commissions will include sculpture, land drawing, painting, sound and video — all distinct works yet linked by the coastline, its people, history and future.
About the Artists
Andreas Angelidakis (b. 1968, Athens) is interested in how people react to structures. His multi-disciplinary artworks try to make sense of where we are and how we got there. He lives and works in Athens.
Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico City) mediates between science, archaeology and the visual arts to explore the ways in which these describe the world. She lives and works in Berlin.
Holly Hendry (b. 1990, London) makes sculptures and installations that give physical form to ideas around emptiness, edges, absence, flatness, fakes and forgeries — things that are missing and unknown. She lives and works in London.
Jasleen Kaur (b. 1986, Glasgow) investigates the hybridity of an ongoing exploration into the malleability of culture and the layering of social histories within materials and objects. She lives and works in London.
Katrina Palmer (b. 1967, London) works with storytelling, distributing fragmented elements of narrative across found sites, audio environments, printed matter and performance. She lives and works in London.
Pilar Quinteros (b. 1988, Santiago) works across drawing, video and sculpture, often using inexpensive materials. Her practice explores how one is affected by the context of a place and shaped by its norms, often through interventions in public places. She lives and works in Santiago, Chile.
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) reconstructs lost histories through his art, since 2006 seeking to reconstruct more than 8,000 artefacts from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad that are missing, stolen, destroyed or ‘of status unknown’ following the 2003 invasion by the US- led coalition. He lives and works in Chicago, USA.
World’s First Art GeoTour
Using geocaching, the GPS-enabled digital treasure hunt technology, communities from each of the seven locations are invited to share their personal stories of what it’s like to live in that particular coastal place. They also may respond to the new artwork in their town and give visitors a new way to interact with the landscape.
A group of people from each location will work with each partner arts organization to create new caches (containers hidden within the landscape featuring rewards) that will lead visitors on a “geotour” of the region — the first ever art geotour in the world. Through gaming, travelers will enjoy an authentic experience of the place they’re visiting. By working with local people, the partner galleries will connect with their communities in new ways, enabling the exploration of place and art by visitors as never before.
England’s Creative Coast will trial a pioneering new Art Homes accommodation offer in Margate this autumn, where guests can stay overnight in a local artist’s home. Here they can experience or buy art, take part in an artist-led activity, dine with local creatives or be taken on a tour of their studio.
As these exciting cultural destinations respond to the demand for hosting more and more people, the pilot will test a new kind of overnight offer, tying into the Turner Prize 2019 (September 28, 2019 – January 12, 2020) at Turner Contemporary. The observations from the pilot will inform future Art Homes across England’s Creative Coast, offering a creative overnight trip for visitors, for the first time.
In response to the changing way that travelers want to take greater control of planning their trip, personalizing it to suit their tastes and budget and the desire to “live like a local,” England’s Creative Coast offers a new website affiliated to local businesses as well as key travel operators across the region. Developed by Visit Kent, the website www.englandscreativecoast.com enables visitors to curate their own journeys, in a pick and mix style, offering a variety of cultural experiences across England’s Creative Coast, as well as recommendations for the best food, drink and accommodation for a complete cultural travel experience.
Visitors’ exploration of England’s Creative Coast can be extended with further cultural adventures in West Sussex at Pallant House Gallery, Cass Sculpture Foundation and Arundel Castle, in Medway at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, and across Essex at Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, Pagelsham in Rochford, Jaywick Martello Tower, Naze Tower at Walton on the Naze, and Harwich.