The guidelines answer most questions about how to take part in this year's event

Q1: What is Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019? How does it differ from the Open Studios Event?

Since its inception in 1994, Somerset Art Weeks has become an important event in Somerset’s cultural calendar delighting art lovers from near and far. Due to the increasing popularity and growth of the event, the decision was made by SAW members in 2007 to make Art Weeks an annual 16-day event with an alternating focus each year between Open Studios and Exhibitions/Events.

The Art Weeks Exhibitions/Events year was changed to ‘Somerset Art Weeks Festival’ in 2013. This allows Somerset Art Works to develop two different events, capturing the differing needs of the artistic community in Somerset. It supports the development of the artistic community as a fundamental part of the economic life of the county. It also offers a showcase opportunity for SAW members as well as SAW’s creative programme throughout the year. The 16-day Festival features group shows, new commissions, projects and visual arts activities in more than 100 locations and settings across Somerset. It is a celebration of the creative abilities of artists as well as providing opportunities to organisations and individuals who are eager to expand their horizons and think “outside the box”.

Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019 will feature new and exhilarating commissions, group shows, participatory activities and film screenings. The Festival encourages collaboration and an artist-led approach to create exciting new works, reflecting the vibrant and diverse arts and culture of Somerset that can be enjoyed by all.

o  Following ‘Prospect’ in 2017, the theme for 2019 will reflect the Silver Anniversary of the founding of Somerset Art Weeks. Artists are invited to incorporate the theme of ‘Silver’ in their work. There will also be other special projects to celebrate the 25thAnniversary, providing opportunities for SAW Artist Members to make artistic contributions to the event, as well as looking back on the successes of Members past and present.

Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019 takes place from Saturday 21 September to Sunday 6 October 2019.


Q2: Who can take part in Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019?


– For Artists and Makers

 SAW welcomes individual artists, makers, curators and groups working on collaborative projects and group shows that go beyond the ‘Open Studio’ context. For the Festival year, SAW members are also welcome to invite artists from outside Somerset (Please also see Q4). To take part however, 50% of artists in the exhibition must be Somerset Art Works Individual Artists Members

– For Galleries, Venues, Organisations and Societies

lf you are thinking about working with artists, developing a group exhibition, community project, or educational project, the Somerset Art Weeks Festival in 2019 will be the event for you. To take part, you need to be a Somerset Art Works Group/Organisation member

– Advertising

Please contact SAW if you wish to promote your business by advertising in the Festival Guide (distribution 40,000 copies). The deadline for advertising is April 30th 2019. Please contact SAW by emailing or call 01458 253800.

– Schools and Education Settings

SAW welcomes schools and other education settings to take part in this year’s event. You will need to be one of the following: Somerset Art Works group/organisation member, a Somerset Art Works Silver/Silver Guilt/Gold Sponsor,or an InspirED subscribing school. If you are interested in taking part, working with artists, showcasing work from staff and students or would like to plan a project or activity associated with this year’s event, please send your enquiry to Beccy Swaine

– Emerging Artists

If you are a SAW emerging artist member you are entitled to a reduced fee to take part in Art Weeks. SAW also encourage the opportunity to join other experienced artist members and find a mentor. In addition to this, SAW provides a small number of bursaries for emerging artists to develop work. Further details will be posted in e-bulletins and on the SAW website when they become available.


Q3: What is the Membership fee?

To take part in the Art Weeks Festival, at least 50% of the artists at each venue need to be Somerset Art Works Individual Artists Members including the lead artist, unless the venue is registering as a ‘Group/Organisation’ entry, in which case only the Group needs to register as a SAW Member.

Individual Artist Membership costs £40 per year

Group/Organisation Membership costs £60 per year

A concession rate of £25 per year is available for Emerging Artists and artists in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. An Emerging Artist is defined as an artist or maker of any age who is in full-time education or has left full-time/part-time education up to Bachelor Degree level in the last 3 years. Maximum term 1 year which then defaults to full-rate individual membership. SAW will ask for supporting evidence (certificate, letter of acceptance onto a course etc) when your membership application is received online. Please contact SAW if you are unsure about your eligibility.


Q4: What are the Registration fees?

There is no increase in costs this year. The amount paid to take part is related to the size of listing in the Guide as well as the number of participants in each venue:

Option 1: 1/4 page listing in the Guide £200

– Cost includes 1 image with 50 words

– No additional images are allowed with this option

– For Individual Members: 50% of artists at the venue must be Individual Members. Artists’ names will be listed in the index and on the entry, including those who are non-Members. Maximum 3 artists only.

– For Groups/Organisations/Schools/Business member:  Limited number of spaces are available and you must obtain permission from Somerset Art Works. Permission will be granted on first come first served basis.

Option 2: 1/2 page listing in the Guide £450

– Cost includes 4 images with 80 words.

– No additional images are allowed with this option

– For Group/Organisation/Business Member: Only the Group, Organisation or Business name will be listed in the index.

– For Individual Members: 50% of artists at the venue must be Individual Members. Artists’ names will be listed in the index and on the entry, including those who are non-Members. Maximum 5 artists only.

Option 3: 3/4 page listing in the Guide £600

– Cost includes 6 images with 80 words

– Only 1 extra image can be purchased at an additional cost of £50

– For Group/Organisation/Business Member: Only the Group, Organisation or Business name will be listed in the index.

– For Individual Members: 50% of artists at the venue must be Individual Members. Artists’ names will be listed in the index and on the entry, including those who are non-Members. Maximum 7 artists only.

Option 4: Full page in the Guide £800

– Cost includes 8 images with 80 words

– Up to  2 extra images can be purchased at an additional cost of £50 each

– For Group/Organisation/Business Member: Only the Group, Organisation or Business name will be listed in the index.

– For Individual Members: 50% of artists at the venue must be Individual Members. Artists’ names will be listed in the index and on the entry, including those who are non-Members. Please contact Somerset Art Works if your group has more than 10 artists.


  1. There is a £50 fee reduction for each Emerging Somerset Art Works artist members. (Maximum term 1 year)
  2. There are a strictly limited number of £100 fee-reduction bursaries for schools, artist–led project, community groups, non-selling shows and non-profit organisations. To apply, please contact Somerset Art Works on:
  3. Each venue will feature in the online version of the guide and be allocated at least 6 road signs and a minimum of 200 Guides. Extra signs can be requested but there may be an additional cost.
  4. Additional advertising options– Please contact SAW if you wish to promote your business by taking out advertising in the Art Weeks guide (distribution 40,000 copies) by emailing or call 01458 253800.


Q5: How do I register and pay?  

SAW has simplified the registration process with easy and fast online registration. Please ensure you have all your registration details ready before registering as incomplete registrations cannot be saved for completion at a later date. The deadline for venue registrations is 31 March 2019.

The online registration process is as follows:

  1. If you are not already a Somerset Art Works member you will need to sign up for membership prior to Art Weeks registration.
  2. Once you have signed up as a member, follow the venue registration link on the website using your SAW membership account password and complete the venue registration form.
  3. Choose the fee option carefully, 1,2 ,3 or 4 minus any emerging artist discount and enter the final amount. Payment is now accepted by card as well as BACS and cheque and must be made at the end of the application process. SAW will still accept applications by post- if you pay by cheque please ensure you obtain a receipt from the post office as proof of postage.

By Cheque

Please send a cheque payable to Somerset Art Works (NOT SAW Ltd) to:

Somerset Art Works, The Town Hall, Bow Street, Langport, TA10 9PR

Please write on the back of your cheque: ‘SAW19’, your name and SAW membership number


Bank: Lloyds Bank | Sort code: 30-62-63 | Account number: 19638168

– Please submit all registration details online, via the new Membership portal. You are responsible for providing correct details for publication in the printed guide. An additional admin fee of £15 will be payable if any significant changes are required (such as re-writing venue details, statements etc) following the closing of the registration process on 31 March.

– Confirmation of your venue registration will be sent to you once it has been received and checked. A PDF proof of your guide entry will be sent to you, via email, in May.


– Late registrations will not be accepted.

Image requirements

 Before submitting your image, please check the following to ensure your images are suitable to be published in the Guide. This will help to provide the best possible images for your entry.

1. Ensure that your images are professionally photographed or scanned.
2. It is vital that your images are SHARP, BOLD and CLEAR.
3. The resolution of your images must be no less than 300 dpi or 1000 x 1000 pixels.
4. SAW only accept JPEG format images.
5. Multiple combined images will not be accepted because this will affect the quality and clarity of your entry.

Art-form Category

You will be asked to select an appropriate art-form that is relevant to your practice. This will help the audience to find you within the art-form category in the guide and online.


Q6: Why should artists from outside the county apply?

In response to examples of good practice from the wider membership, Somerset Art Weeks Festival aims to encourage SAW members to explore new ideas, collaborate with other artists, develop new skills, increase audiences and make useful links outside the county. Somerset Art Weeks 2019 is an opportunity for Somerset Art Works and its members to:

  • Network and make/show work with artists from elsewhere. This could lead to reciprocal opportunities for Somerset artists to show their work further afield.
  • Create new partnership opportunities in order to exchange ideas and skills and develop new audiences. This could include working with artist networks in other counties or placement exchanges between studio groups here and abroad.
  • Create opportunities to attract new artist members – particularly recent graduates and artists coming to live in Somerset – as well as “groups” via the Somerset Art Works Group Membership.
  • Raise the profile of visual artists living in Somerset, thereby creating more opportunities for Somerset Art Works members and increase audiences for their work.
  • Celebrate making art with people of Somerset and beyond, young and old.


Q7: What should I do if I don’t have a suitable space or need to collaborate? What is a suitable venue?

During the Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2017 over 100 community venues, business premises and public spaces were used for visual arts exhibitions, events and performances all over Somerset. These venues included village halls, skittle alleys, shop windows, public sites, public gardens, schools, community venues, barns etc. Somerset Art Weeks Festival has proven successful in taking Visual Arts into new places and attracting new audiences. So think outside the box!

SAW appreciates many artists wish to take part but need to find a venue, especially those who are emerging artists; those producing work at home and/or producing videos, installations and site-specific work.

Please let SAW know if:

  1. a) You have extra space and would like to share with other artists
  2. b) You are looking for space to exhibit.

Please send an email with some details about yourself and your practice, plus your geographic area and we will try to help you by using our venue matching service. Email: for more details.


Q8: How are the Registration Fees spent?

All of your registration fee will be used to deliver the event. Costs incurred by Somerset Art Works are as follows:

Staffing: 96 days of co-ordinator time and 48 days of administration and marketing support through the year including: event planning, registration, Guide co-ordination, event delivery and evaluation.

Marketing: Advertising campaign in local, regional and national press, Guide design, PR/Marketing consultant fees, printing and design costs of 40,000 copies of Guide and other marketing materials, such as flyers and posters.

Expenses: Coordinator, administrator, Area Reps and volunteer expenses

Launch Event: Invitations and refreshments

Documentation and Evaluation: Professional fee for photographer and evaluator

Administration: Stationery, postage, accounting

Registration fees are insufficient to cover all the above costs and as a result each year SAW raises 10% extra income from advertising, sponsorship and public funders.


Q9: How will Somerset Art Works promote Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019?

  • During summer 2019, 40,000 copies of the guide will be available via distribution at key venues throughout the county and beyond, along with several thousand posters and flyers plus other promotional material.
  • Somerset Art Works will organise a high profile press and advertising campaign from January 2019 onwards, targeting newspapers, magazines, television and radio in order to promote the event as widely as possible.
  • Somerset Art Works will lead a strong social media marketing campaign around the event to encourage people to visit. Social media is widely used amongst the arts and tourism industry in Somerset and Somerset Art Works has a very active Facebook and Twitter page with a large audience. Participants will also receive support from our in-house Marketing administrator to help promote your venue for private views etc. via these social media portals.
  • Please remember that although Somerset Art Works will do everything possible to promote the event, artists will also benefit by undertaking their own marketing activity; additional personal press, publicity and promotional materials will help raise each Venue’s profile further and ensure more footfall.


Q10: What do I need to do before, during and after the event?

To ensure the success of your Event you must:

– Publicise your venue wherever possible and use the Somerset Art Works logo in your publicity materials.

– Use the online ‘Resources for Participants’ on SAW’s website with all the information you need to take part, including guidelines, feedback form, marketing suggestions etc. This will be available once registration has closed.

– Keep alert for all communications from Somerset Art Works in the run up to the event.

– Work closely with your Somerset Art Works Area Representative in their marketing initiatives, to publicise the event and to help distribute promotional material such as cluster flyers, posters, guides etc. Forming your own cluster group can be a key part of promoting your own venue. Look out for invitations to any meetings that your Rep may organise.


Q11: Who are the Area Representatives? How will they support me?

You will be assigned a volunteer area representative, who supports Somerset Art Works organize networking in your area. They will contact you and let you know if there are any meetings or marketing initiatives planned which, with everyone’s support, help to highlight the exhibitions in the area and help make Somerset Art Weeks an even greater success. This is also a good opportunity to network with other local artists and help promote yourself.

Your area representative will also give you details of where and when the publicity materials will be available for collection in July.

Area Rep Contact details here

Somerset Art Work’s Area Representatives work on a voluntary basis so please contact the Somerset Art Works office with any enquiries especially regarding administration of the event (i.e. Public Liability Insurance, Guide entries, risk assessment etc).

01458 253800


Q12: What is the Family Friendly Weekend and Education Programme? How is that relevant to me?

In 2014, Somerset Art Works created a Family Friendly Weekend with more than 30 venues offering activities for family audiences. For many artists, this is an opportunity to promote their workshops/events and an opportunity to meet potential buyers. SAW will promote the Family Friendly Weekend in the guide, through local press and social media – activities may include: demonstrations, have-a-go sessions, workshops, activities and events.

This year’s Family Friendly Weekend will be Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October.

Somerset Art Works has also developed an Education Programme for schools, which supports them to make their own Somerset Art Weeks visits, developing relationships between artists and education. It includes a list of venues that welcome pre-arranged school visits. If you are interested in further information , please contact Beccy Swaine