For the people who reside around the Folkestone Beach in southeast England, they might be hosts to a new gold rush. An artist buried over $16,000 worth of gold under the sand, and what you find, you can keep.

A part of the Folkestone Triennial, a public art event in Folkestone, England where artists are "invited to use the town as their ‘canvas’, utilizing public spaces to create striking new pieces that reflect issues affecting both the town and the wider world," the Folkestone Digs (as the project is called) are an attempt to change the perception of live, public art.

The public art piece/real-life treasure hunt was conducted by German artist Michael Sailstorfer and commissioned by Bristol-based arts producers Situations. The team buried 30 gold bars under the sand on the beach, and the treasure hunt began when the tide went out on Thursday, August 28. The reason behind burying real gold and allowing people to keep it for themselves is not only to allow the public to participate in a live art exhibit, but also to play what the monetary worth of "art" truly is. All of the gold bars have "Made in London" stamped on them, to designate them as part of the project.

Triennial curator, Lewis Biggs said, "An interesting part of the artwork is considering whether it is going to be worth more as an artwork. Do you take it to the pawnbrokers or do you take it to Sotheby's? Or do you keep it on the mantlepiece because you think it is going to be worth more later? Will its price increase as an artwork or as a piece of gold?"

If you're looking to change people's understanding of public art pieces, the possible reward of free gold for participants might just do the trick.

[via The Guardian]