Artists Open Houses (AOH) was set up in 2004 by a small group of Open House artists, acting on the necessity of producing a brochure uniting all the individual trails. The initial idea was simple, but soon expanded to include a website, pr, marketing, distribution and had grown into coordinating a full-blown festival in its own right.
The clear, single brand identity for all the Open Houses has made it simpler for visitors to have a strong image of who we are and how to find AOH venues, resulting in the festival greatly expanding over time accordingly in both size and reputation.
What is an Artist’s Open House?
An Artists Open House is usually a home, which is opened to the public to show artwork. There are also a number of workshops and studios and a few small galleries and other art spaces that open. Some houses open one room, while others display work throughout the whole house. Many have artwork in the garden as well.
Where are they?
The Artists Open Houses are within the East Sussex 01273 telephone area, extending from Brighton and Hove to Lewes, Ditchling and Newhaven. The venues are mainly grouped together into trails, although some Open Houses are ‘independent venues’, this means they are Open Houses which have not joined a local trail, often because there is no trail in their area. All venues are listed in the AOH brochure and on-line.
Do I have to pay an entrance fee?
No, Open House venues are free.
When are they open?
The Open Houses festival covers the first four weekends of May – in line with the Brighton Festival and Fringe. However, some venues also open on bank Holiday Mondays and/ or weekdays. Most open between 11am – 6pm, but as times vary, please check the AOH brochure or individual venue’s online listings for details.
How do I get there?
Please see the below link to ‘travel’. If you are coming by car bear in mind that parking in the city is quite expensive and restricted. We recommend the Park and Ride scheme and public transport is generally very good. Many venues are within walking distance of each other. Many are near Brighton, Hove, Preston Park and London Road railway stations. Other stations for beyond the city venues are Newhaven and Lewes: www.aoh.org.uk/travel
Can I buy the artwork?
Yes you can! Much of the artwork on display is for sale and is generally affordably priced. Please note that most venues cannot accept plastic, so we advise that you bring a cheque book or cash. Often a small deposit will secure an item if you want to collect it at the end of the festival. Many Open Houses prefer visitors to collect large purchases at the end of festival, if possible, so as not to spoil the exhibition during the festival’s run.
Can I bring my children?
Everyone is welcome to an Artists Open House, but bear in mind that there are often breakable and delicate items on display. We would recommend leaving buggies and scooters outside houses and eating any sticky food, drinks and ice creams, before entering.
What about refreshment?
A number of the houses serve tea and cake, often in the garden. To find out which houses they are, see individual house entries and look for the teacup symbol.
Is there disabled access?
Most of the venues are homes and so disabled access is limited. Some of the houses have steps and many houses have work displayed on more than one level. To find out which venues have disabled access, take a look at the ‘Houses with disabled access’ listed here: http://www.aoh.org.uk or check for venues with a wheelchair symbol in the AOH brochure.