Somerset Open Studios 2016

17 September to 2 October

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Somerset Open Studios Event?

The Somerset Open Studios Event is about drawing Art Weeks back to its roots, focusing on individual artists in their working environment. It focuses on artists as individuals, how they make their work, their inspiration and creative processes. It aims to support artists who want to work professionally and promote their creative business.

The event is organised to provide an opportunity for individual SAW artist members in Somerset to showcase and demonstrate their work to the public within their studio space. It is an opportunity for artists to market their work to potential buyers, curators, dealers, and their diverse audiences.


What is the different between Somerset Open Studios and Somerset Art Weeks Festival?


Open Studios Art Weeks Festival
Event focus Individual artists in working studio spaces. Groups, collaboration, curated exhibitions, projects, events.
Who can take part Individual SAW Member artists, in individual studios, or sharing with one or two other individual artists. Groups made up of 50% min SAW member
50% max non-SAW member.
Can Galleries take part? NO (except to offer space to artists, to create Pop-up studios. Registration to be made by artists only* and artists must be present and working at the space.) YES
Can schools take part? NO (except to host artists-in-residence or to offer artists space to create pop-up studios. Registration to be made by artists only* and artists must be present and working at the space.) YES
No of venues in the event Around 200 Around 100
Fee structure Based around number of artists. Based around size of the entry in the guide.



What is the average number of visitors and sales per venue?

Visitor numbers and sales vary, and can depend on factors such as your experience, location, networks, quality of work and publicity. In 2014, visitor numbers ranged from 60 to 650, and sales ranged from none, to over £8,000 per individual artist. Other benefits of taking part include networking and making useful contacts and exposure to a wide and varied audience.

Below are examples of feedback received from visitors and participating artists:

“The opportunity to meet and talk to artists in their studios and learn so much about what they do is one of the best parts of Art Weeks.”

–Open Studios Event Visitor

“It was a most enjoyable experience. The number of visitors I had enabled me to have worthwhile conversations about my work. I was also able to make several pieces of work and demonstrate and explain my methods. Financially it was very successful.”

– Open Studios Event Artist


Why should I take part in Somerset Open Studios?

This is an opportunity to be part of the biggest visual arts event in the county. Details and images of your art works will appear in a free full colour guide – 45,000 copies of which will be distributed throughout Somerset and beyond.

In addition, you will be able to connect to a comprehensive network of local artists, and become part of the support networks championing visual art creation in Somerset.


Who can take part in Somerset Open Studios?

Somerset artists and makers – If you wish to take part in the event, please sign up for SAW membership. You will then receive all notifications regarding registration and the next stages of the process. Sign up online here:

Emerging artists – If you are SAW Emerging Artist Member, you are entitled to a reduced fee. We also encourage you to take this opportunity to join other experienced artist members, find a mentor or share studio space.

In addition to this we provide a small number of bursaries for emerging artists via our Creative Pathways Programme. Further details will be posted in our Jan/Feb Newsletter


What should I do if I dont have a suitable studio space or want to share my space with another artist?

We appreciate many artists wish to take part but need to find suitable studios, especially those who are emerging artists, producing work at home and/or producing video, installation and site-specific work.

Please contact us if:

– You have extra space and would like to share with other artists (max 3 artists per studio)

– You are looking for space to create a pop-up studio/workspace

Send us an email with:

  • Some details about yourself and your art practice, plus your geographic area and contact details


–   The space you can offer, plus your geographic area and contact details

And we will try to help you by using our matching service. Email us at  for more details.

Please Note: The Open Studios event focuses on working artists spaces and studios, not curated exhibitions. The artists needs to be working in the space, throughout the duration of the event.


Can schools, community groups, galleries and public venues be part of Somerset Open Studios 2016?

You may consider offering space to artists who do not have suitable space to open to the public, so they can create Pop-up studios and temporary workspaces. The arrangements for this need to be made directly between the venue and the artist. SAW can put your details on our Matching Service, but we cannot be responsible for liaison and arrangements between parties. Registration must be submitted by the artist.

If you have space to offer, please contact us by email

This is also an opportunity to promote your business/venue/gallery/school by advertising in our coloured guide (with distribution totalling 45,000). 10% discount for current SAW Members. The deadline to advertise with us is 31st March 2016. For advertising queries, please contact us by emailing or call 01458 253800.


How much will cost me to take part?

The fee for artists taking part in Somerset Open Studios has not changed since 2008.

The cost to take part is:

1 artist: £190 (to include 50 words, 1 image and website entry)

2 artists sharing: £310 (to include 70 words, 2 images, and website entry)

3 artists sharing: £430 (to include 90 words, 3 images, and website entry)

Less £50 for each Emerging Artist


When does registration open, and what is the registration deadline?

Registration is now open, deadline 31st March 2016.


The online registration process is as follows:

Login to using your membership account password. (If you are not already a member you will need to sign up for membership, allowing two weeks for activation of your account, prior to Open Studios registration)

Choose the fee option carefully and enter the final amount. You will then be asked to make the payment either by cheque or bank transfer (BACS). You must send SAW the payment prior to the registration deadline. If you send your cheque to SAW via post, please ensure you obtain a receipt from the post office as proof of postage.

Submit all registration details online, including the uploading of images. Please download the online registration guide HERE>

Confirmation of your registration will be sent to you following the registration deadline. A PDF proof of your guide entry will be sent to you, via email, in May.

Late registrations will not be accepted this year.


How to submit a good image

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

Ensure that your images are professionally photographed or scanned.

It is vital that your images are SHARP, BOLD and CLEAR.

The resolution of your images must be no less than 300 dpi, in square format and at least 1MB in file size.

We only accept JPEG format images. Please save your images in JPEG format.

Images made of several photos stitched together will NOT be accepted because this will affect the quality and clarity of your entry.


What happens after I have registered?

Once we receive your registration form and payment, it may take up to 14 days to process. Please do not worry if you do not hear from us immediately.

A full list of participating artists will be published on our website and via our E-bulletin in April.


What does SAW do with the registration fee?

Your entire registration fee will be used to deliver the event. It covers the following:

Staffing: part-time freelance Open Studios Coordinator with support from SAW’s Creative Director and Operations Manager
Marketing: Advertising costs and design, professional fee of PR/marketing consultant, guide printing and design, flyers, posters, visitor feedback form print and design.
Expenses: Coordinator, Area Reps and volunteer expenses
Launch Event: invitations and refreshment.
Documentation and Evaluation: Professional fee for photographer and evaluator
Administration: Stationary, postage, finance management

Your registration fee will not be sufficient to cover all the above costs and as a result each year we raise extra income from advertising, sponsorship and public funders to cover at least 10% of the total running cost of the event.


How does SAW promote Somerset Open Studios?

SAW will organise a high profile press and advertising campaign from January 2016 onwards, targeting newspapers, magazines, television and radio.

We distribution of 45,000 copies of the guide and publish the event information on our website in July.

SAW will lead a strong social media marketing campaign around the event. We currently have more than 3,500 like at our Facebook Page and 2,400 followers in Twitter.

We send out updates and news about the event via our regular e-Newsletter to our mailing list, which contains approx 2000 people, ranging from visitors, patrons, councilors and art organisations.


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

To ensure the success of your Open Studios Event you must

– Publicise your Open Studios venue wherever possible and use the SAW logo in your publicity materials.

– Use the online ‘Resources for Open Studios Participants’ on our website to assist with marketing your venue, how to take images, etc.

– Be aware of communications with SAW.

–  Work closely with your SAW Area Representative in their local initiatives to publicise the event and to help distribute promotional material such as posters if required to do so.


Who are the Area Representatives? What will he/she do for me?

You will be assigned a volunteer area representative, who supports SAW to organise guide distribution and networking in your area. He/she will contact you and let you know if there are any meetings or marketing initiatives planned which will with everyone’s support, help to highlight the exhibitions in the area and will make Art Weeks an even greater success. This is a good opportunity to network with local artists.

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

SAW’s area representatives are working on a voluntary basis and may not be the right person to speak to regarding the administration of the event (i.e. PLI, risk assessment etc) as they may not be able to answer your enquiry.  Please therefore contact the SAW office regarding any urgent matters.


What is the Family Friendly Weekend and educational pack? How is that relevant to me?

In 2014, we created a Family Friendly Weekend with more than 30 venues offers activities for family audiences. For many artists, this is an opportunity to promote their workshops and an opportunity to meet potential buyers.

SAW also developed an educational pack for schools, which supports them to make their own Open Studios visits. It includes a list of venues that welcome school visits. If you interested in this, please tick the relevant box in your registration form.