It’s that time of year, once again, when literally hundreds of artists and makers in Brighton, Hove and the surrounding area, throw open their doors, welcoming you into their homes and studios. For the first four weekends in May, you are invited to view everything from sculpture and painting to jewellery, ceramics and textiles and offered the opportunity to buy work and chat directly with the creators.
The Open Houses are grouped into one of 12 trails around different areas of the city and beyond, each with its own unique character and atmosphere – from the fishermen’s houses of Hanover to the urban warehouse spaces of the North Laine and cottages of the South Downs village of Ditchling.
As trails are geographically grouped, with houses generally within easy walking distance of each other, it’s a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, following a trail, where entry to all venues is free and many Open Houses also offer homemade tea and cake!
This year there are several not-to-be-missed highlights, starting with an exhibition of work from this year’s brochure cover artist, Bernard Lodge. Best known for his work designing the first five title sequences for Dr Who, Bernard then went on to work on special effects for Ridley Scott’s Alien and Bladerunner, one of the first people to work on designing computer effects.
Since then he has moved to more traditional art forms and now creates bright and bold woodcuts from his studio in the downs just outside Brighton. This May Bernard will be exhibiting some of his woodcut prints, along with award-winning 2014 AOH Artist of the Year, photographer Tony Bowen, at The Old Market in Hove. (More of Bernard Lodge’s work can be seen at Salon Des Sources in the Seven Dials trail).
Also be sure not to miss The Drawing Circus, offering the opportunity to all Open House visitors to pick up a pencil and explore their creativity! Throughout the festival you can visit the Drawing Circus, housed in a domestic setting at Open House Fugitive Ink, in the Seven Dials trail, where you can draw or be drawn by your friends and other artists. For one day only, on the 9th May, the Drawing Circus will take over the entire open house and Drawing Circus costumed models will be posed in every room, to be drawn in a variety of domestic circus-sets. Taking part is open to every-one, of all ages and abilities, and all drawing materials will be supplied for you free of charge
Don’t miss the many wonderful schools, student and community groups taking part in this year’s Artists Open Houses festival; including Varndean and Balfour Schools, Grace Eyre at Montefiore Road and Outside In artists exhibiting their work at Brighton Health and Wellbeing in Brunswick Town.
And finally don’t forget the ever-popular Best Open House Award, sponsored by The Latest, which offers you the opportunity to vote online for your favourite Open House! From the start of the festival, you can simply visit the AOH website: www.aoh.org.uk, follow the links and place a vote for your favourite house – the one that you believe best captures the spirit of the Artists Open Houses.
The Artists Open Houses May 2015 Festival runs weekends 2nd-24th May. For full details on all Open Houses venues visit: www.aoh.org.uk,
You can pick up an AOH brochure throughout the festival at Brighton and Hove train stations, libraries and museums, and look out for the Festivals of Brighton pop-up booth at Brighton station (near the Doddle office). AOH brochures are also available at all Open House venues from the start of the festival.