Notes for running a successful (and fun!) Open Studio event

This talk at the Griffin Gallery was co-hosted by FACK! and Be Smart About Art with the perspectives of two professional artists (Gillian – didn’t catch her surname – & Julian Wild) on running successful and fun open studios. FACK! events combine useful, practical info with the opportunity to chat and hang out with other artists, so tend to make for a good evening :) Here are my notes, hope they are useful;

  • If your studios are tricky to find / at the back end of beyond make sure you publicise a map (with location, local transport & where to find various studio members). I’d also have these printed up and around the studios themselves, as they tend to be warren-like and can be frustrating to find a particular artist. In addition, it’s worth putting info / images / your name on your door (especially if you’re keeping it closed) so that people can find you.
  • If your studios have a communal space use this as a mini gallery
  • When planning your Open Studio, consider tying in with other event (ie London architecture week, or if your local borough run an arts festival) if it’s relevant. Speak to local businesses to see if they’d be interested in sponsorship or promotion
  • Expand the Open Studio to include events; competitions (with the chance to win some of the art made at your studio!), discussions featuring artists talking about their methods, practise or themes, host previews for local galleries, create a performance, make food & drink, a BBQ, music…
  • Buddy up with other artists in your studios so you can swap rooms; either to promote each others work (always a hundred times easier than to promote your own!) or to give each other a break
  • You could ‘lease’ your studio to others interested in showing at an event and curate a mini-show
  • If you’re selling work, does your studio have a kitty, access to credit card facilities, a PR list, will they be providing promotion / fliers?
  • Send out personal invites 3 weeks before then follow up 1 week before; use Arts Media Contacts publicity planner to help you keep on top of lead times for more formal inviations / promotions
  • Use the Open Studios to: sell (if you’re selling work, does your studio have a kitty, access to credit card facilities?), network (invite potential gallerists, collectors, curators), and try out new ideas/ test ideas in development. Do however, manage your expectations!

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