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The Folkestone Mermaid bought for the town

The good news of the purchase of Cornelia Parker’s Folkestone Mermaid, with the help of the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and the Art Fund, brings the permanent collection of contemporary artworks in Folkestone to sixteen with a number of these, such as Tracey Emin’s Baby Things, consisting of several pieces.

All originating from the Triennials of 2008 and 2011, they will together be known as Folkestone Artworks, forming what amounts to an open air exhibition, stretching from the west end of The Leas, where Towards the Sound of Wilderness by Cristina Iglesias can be found at Martello Tower No 4 to Sunny Sands, where The Folkestone Mermaid by Cornelia Parker gazes out across the Channel. Unlike an exhibition confined to a gallery, it will act as an introduction to the whole town, giving all businesses a chance to benefit from visitors.

There is little doubt that Folkestone will build on its already deserved reputation for   contemporary art, attracting those with an established interest in the arts as well as other visitors who discover that even a casual encounter with the works can be both inspiring and fun. There are poignant exhibits such as the Mark Wallinger’s Folk Stones, a tribute to the soldiers who died on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916, and Paloma Varga Weisz’s bewildered and lost Rug People at the decaying Harbour Railway Station and others, tinged with humour, such as Pae White’s Barking Rocks, a dogs adventure playground at Pleydell Gardens; and humour and poignancy with Tracey Emin’s seven-part sculpture Baby Things.

Accompanying a launch over the weekend of May 3 – 6, there will be a new map, audio guide, talks, tours and merchandise together with a website, downloadable apps and learning resource packs