- November 27, 2017
Brighton’s and Hove’s Artists Open Houses began in 1982, when an artist in Fiveways opened his front door to the public, inviting visitors into his home to view paintings by himself and a group of friends. Soon other artists in the area followed suit to form a local trail. The phenomenon grew rapidly across the city, creating individual trails in many areas. Originally part of Brighton Festival, the Artist Open Houses became a separate festival in its own right in 2004, set up by a small group of dedicated artists and designers.
The Artists Open Houses festival provides a unique experience for visitors, offering the opportunity to view work by contemporary artists and makers in their homes, meeting the artists and buying artwork and crafts directly from them. Work may include metal-ware, ceramics and textiles, as well as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and many other media. Most of the houses belong to one of 14 trails, which are geographically grouped and venues are usually within walking distance of each other. Entry to Open Houses is free – and many Open Houses also offer homemade tea and cake!
There are two festivals annually – a large festival in May and a slightly smaller festival at Christmas time. In May the focus is on painters, sculptors, photographers, while the Christmas festival offers a wealth of jewellery, ceramics, textiles and other handmade gifts. It is the ideal way to take the strain out of Christmas shopping, creating a special atmosphere where you can chat to the artists whilst viewing an amazing selection of individual, unique arts & crafts.
Offering the opportunity to view work by contemporary artists and makers in their homes
At Christmas the wealth of established and professional artists and makers, as well as new and emerging artists, offers the perfect opportunity to pick up inspiring and original Christmas gifts for friends, family – or for yourself! This year brings work from some of the country’s top makers in the fields of textiles, printmaking and home-wares, as well as handcrafted Christmas cards, wreaths, tree decorations and homemade foodie gifts. Spreading to the furthest reaches of Brighton and Hove and out to the South Downs village of Ditchling, a visit to the Artists Open Houses is the perfect way to kick off the festive season.
The ethos of Artists Open Houses is inclusive – it is a community event encouraging young artists, schools and colleges as well as those who may otherwise be marginalized from the art world mainstream, whether through learning disabilities, mental health issues or for other reasons. Any artist can take part in the festival as long as they live within the 01273 telephone code area.
We are the oldest and largest Open House movement, proud of our roots within the diverse and vibrant artists’ community of Brighton and Hove. The Artists Open Houses is always innovate and evolving, reflecting the experience and professionalism as well as the youth and freshness of the city’s artists. With a focus on quality and value for money, the Artists Open Houses bring a dynamic mix of arts and crafts to the widest possible audience, providing visitors and viewers with engaging and inspiring experiences.
The 2017 Christmas Artists Open Houses festival runs weekends 25 November until 10 December. Why not take a break from the High Street and shop in warmth and comfort, with a glass of mulled wine and mince pie, beside a blazing hearth!
Look out for AOH brochures at the city’s libraries, stations and museums, or pick one up from any of the Open House venues. For more information visit: www.aoh.org.uk