Celebrate with Open Studios this year. It is the 25th year of a project that aims to bring the visual arts into focus, providing places and spaces to view and discuss the many and varied aspects of art.
There are 102 artists in the scheme this year and they are ready to welcome you to their studios, workshops and exhibitions throughout the region.
Open Studios began in the late 80's in the Art and Design Department of Theale Green School. There were 18 artists, some of whom are still in the scheme today. The former Southern Arts were the main sponsors for the first four years and the Arts Workshop Newbury provided a centre for the administration until our office moved to New Greenham Arts. Now, Open Studios, is very well supported by the Greenham and Englefield Trusts and we value our association with the Newbury Spring Festival.
From the beginning, our success has been due to the determination and hard work of artists and administrators who serve on our committee. We are delighted with our headquarters at Greenham and the co-operation with all the staff there.
Central to Open Studios is this Directory of Artists, admired very much for it's design and relevance all year round. Use it to find out about the artists before your studio visits. The artists' statements give a real flavour of what you might experience in the studios. For instance, one artist says, "I am a jeweller with a science background which has had an inspirational influence on my work. Textured silver surfaces are recurrent themes which were inspired by spores seen through a microscope." Another artist reports, "I enjoy making silk paper from silk fibres then using them to create textured work." Active participation is suggested by a potter who invites visitors to make a pot, why not give it a try? Go to www.open-studios.org.uk for more information through our ever developing, strong website.
A key element in Open Studios is the exhibitions programme with flagship exhibition, INSIGHT 2013, in the prestigious gallery at New Greenham Arts. This will feature in our 25th year celebrations with a Champagne Reception, Silent Auction and a talk by eminent sculptor Johannes von Stumm. Satellite exhibitions can be seen at Arlington Arts, The West Berkshire Community Hospital, Sir Terence Conran and Sean Sutcliffe's Benchmark, The Corn Exchange Newbury, the Central Library, Newbury and the Watermill Theatre. As in the studios, there is an opportunity to acquire a work of art knowing it's provenance. In addition to the exhibitions there are education projects and a fascinating series of Hands on Workshops.
2012 was a major year for everyone. It started with a visit from the Hon. Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications & the Creative Industries and ended with an increased number of visitors. Our collaborative art work, Olympic Spirit, shown at the Corn Exchange for 5 months, has now taken its place in our local heritage through the archives of West Berkshire Museum.
Enjoy this year's feast of the visual arts.
The committee and administrators of Open Studios join me in thanking our sponsors and supporters and all those who have contributed to 25 years of Open Studios.
Pat Eastop MBE
Chair Open Studios