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Explore England’s Creative Coast - 1,400km of outstanding coastline and cultural adventures.

Waterfronts, a series of seven outdoor art commissions by internationally-renowned artists, has launched on the south east coast, creating the world’s first art GeoTour and an exciting new modern art trail spanning Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

Explorez le Sud-Est.

Waterfronts is one of 2021’s biggest new outdoor tourist attractions bringing together seven art installations across Margate, Gravesend, Southend-on-Sea, Bexhill-on-Sea, Hastings, Eastbourne and Folkestone.  All the artists have taken their inspiration from their coastal locations.

The art trail spans 1400 km of impressive coastline from the East Sussex Downs to the Thames Estuary and the world’s first art GeoTour, an exciting opportunity that offers a naturally socially-distanced experience that connects people and places, influenced by coastal stories.

Why not travel between these fascinating coastal towns, enjoying the impressive cultural adventures, wide choice of accommodation and local food and drink? Waterfronts will only be on show for a limited time, from May to November 2021.   Take a look at the tempting itineraries on England’s Creative Coast and plan an arts-inspired tour!  

First installation to be unveiled was April is the Cruellest Month by American artist Michael Rakowitz which opened to the public 1 May in partnership with Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent.

The new installation introduces a life-sized statue on Margate’s seafront alongside the Surfboat memorial that gazes out to sea and is overlooked by the shelter where T S Eliot wrote part of the Waste Land poem which starts: “April is the cruellest month..”

Next, venture to Gravesend Pier, where London-based artist Jasleen Kaur has created The first thing I did was kiss the ground, a commission with Cement Fields Gravesend, a large-scale sculpture and sound-piece right on the water’s edge.

Embrace England's Cultural Coast Embrace England's Cultural Coast
Embrace England's Cultural Coast

Idées et inspirations d’itinéraires

Head to Southend-on-Sea, Essex, where arts laboratory Metal and arts festival Estuary 21 have partnered with English artist Katrina Palmer who has created HELLO, a large concrete sculpture based on an ‘acoustic mirror’ and RETREAT, a meditation. Both are positioned on the Shoeburyness shoreline. 

De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, presents Invertebrate by Holly Hendry, a giant installation that worms its way around the outside of the gallery stretching from the seafront lawn to the roof while inside the building the sculpture will show the effects of the worm’s ‘munched’ walls.

Visit Hastings Contemporary to visit Seawall, a series of soft sculptures resembling concrete, designed as a new type of accropode (sea defence blockade), typically made to resist the effects of coastal erosion on the coastline. Seawall is situated outside the gallery and designed by Greek artist Andreas Angelidakis.

A new commission in Eastbourne makes this the perfect reason to visit this elegant coastal resort. Walk along the town’s streets and discover a chalk stencilled rope marking an unexpected route through the town which, viewed from a map, outlines the profile of a woman.  Along the trail, you’ll encounter several sculptural objects embedded in the street. Commissioned by Towner Eastbourne, Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball has entitled the commission: 'Walking through the town I followed a pattern on the pavement that became the magnified silhouette of a woman’s profile’.

The final stop in the Waterfronts series is the harbour town of Folkestone, Kent. Pilar Quinteros, based in Santiago, Chile, has created Janus Fortress Folkestone in partnership with Creative Folkestone.  This multi-faceted structure is located on the cliff-top overlooking the town and the sea. Taking her inspiration from the mythical Roman god Janus, usually depicted with two faces, this sculpture depicts one face staring inland, the other out to sea ‘symbolising the duality of borders’.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get up-close on one of art’s most exciting outdoor exhibitions, take a look at itineraries on England’s Creative Coast.