A Brief History

Brighton’s Open House phenomenon began in 1982, when Fiveways artist, Ned Hoskins, opened his front door to the public, inviting visitors into his home to view his own work and that of a group of friends. Other artists in the area followed suit to form the Fiveways Artists Group.

The idea proved very popular with the visiting public and soon other trails sprang up around the city – and the Open Houses were born. Initially appearing as a listings section within the early Brighton Festival brochures, Open Houses were subsequently moved to the Brighton Fringe. However, to clarify the visual arts offer during the city’s festival period, as distinct from the many and various music and performance elements of the Fringe, a small group of Open Houses artists decided to separate out the Artists Open Houses to become a festival in its own right.

Hence Artists Open Houses (AOH) was formed in 2004, acting on the necessity of producing a brochure uniting all the individual trails. The initial idea was simple, but soon expanded to include a full marketing campaign, coordinating a festival with a clear identity, making it easier for audiences to have a strong image of who we are and how to find the AOH venues. This has resulted in the AOH festival greatly expanding over time in both size and reputation.

Although the Artists Open Houses festival now stands as an important festival in its own right, it remains true to its roots, consulting extensively with all participating artists on the ways and directions in which it moves forward.

The Artists Open Houses has an ethos of inclusivity, welcoming all local practicing artists of whatever age and at whatever stage of their career.


More in this section