Frequently Asked Questions
View online here or Download the pdf printable version

Please read the guidelines below before making your application or contact the office for more details.

Please note the SAW office is staffed Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am- 4:30pm.

This year’s event is 15-30 September 2018

Registration deadline: 15 March 2018

1. What is the Open Studios Event?

The Open Studios Event draws Art Weeks back to its roots, showcasing artists in their working environment. Visitors can see how artists make their work, their inspiration, processes and methods. It aims to support artists who want to work professionally and promote their creative business. Audiences appreciate the opportunity to get a glimpse ‘behind the scenes’.

The event enables Somerset Art Works members to demonstrate their working practice directly to the public within their studio space. It is an opportunity for artists to market their work to potential buyers, curators, dealers and new and diverse audiences.

2. Who can take part in Somerset Open Studios?

Somerset Open Studios is a bi-annual event which is only open to Somerset Art Works individual members including emerging artist members. To take part, you must have current SAW membership. You can sign up for membership online here renewals are due every November. Once membership is confirmed, you will then receive notification regarding registration and the next stage of the process.

Membership is £40 for the year with discounts for Emerging Artists, Under 25 and those in receipt of DLA.

SAW Emerging Artist Members are encouraged to join other experienced artist members, find a mentor or share studio space. In addition to this, a small number of Bursaries are provided for emerging artists via SAW’s Creative Pathways Programme. Please contact Programme Associate Zoe Li on for more details.

3. Why should I become a SAW member?

SAW Membership not only entitles you to take part in Open Studios, you also receive the following member benefits:

  • Opportunity to participate in Somerset Art Weeks, Projects and Creative Pathways programmes
  • Artist Page on the SAW website and inclusion in the online Artists’ Directory – update with your own information, images, news etc
  • Publicity for news/ events/ workshops etc under Members’ news on the SAW website
  • Monthly Member’s e- bulletin plus access to SAW website News pages providing information on activities, events and opportunities
  • Priority to apply for commissions, bursaries and other work opportunities.
  • Access to SAW’s advice and signposting service
  • Representation of your interests as a SAW artist member at local and national level through involvement in consultation groups and arts development organisations
  • Opportunity to join local networks and meet other artists
  • An invitation to attend the SAW AGM each year and be part of the organisation

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

Visitor numbers and sales vary, and can depend on factors such as experience, location, networks, quality of work and publicity. In the last Open Studios event in 2016, visitor numbers averaged 268 per venue, and sales ranged between £50 and over £5,000 per individual artist. Other benefits of taking part include networking and making new contacts, exposure to a wide and varied audience and unique in being able to obtain direct feedback from the audience.

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,  with 40,000 copies distributed throughout Somerset and beyond.

5. What should I do if I don’t have a suitable studio space or want to share my space with another artist?

Somerset Art Works appreciates that 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. To help with this, there is a Venue Matching Service on the website which works to link up artists with potential venues. Details are posted from January.

Please contact Somerset Art Works 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

You will be asked to send an email with details about yourself and your art practice, requirements plus your geographic area and contact details


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

Somerset Art Works will try to help you by posting your details on the matching service. Email  for more details.

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

6. Can schools, community groups, galleries and public venues be part of Somerset Open Studios 2018?

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, artist residencies and temporary workspaces. The arrangements for this need to be made directly between the venue and the artist. SAW can add your details to the Art Weeks Venue Matching Service, but cannot be responsible for liaison and arrangements between parties. Registration must be submitted by the artist.

For additional advice schools can contact:

If you have space to offer, please contact SAW by email:

This is also an opportunity to promote your business/venue/gallery/school by advertising in the Art Weeks guide (with distribution totalling 40,000) and 10% discount  for current SAW Members. The deadline to advertise is 31st April 2018. For advertising queries, please contact SAW by emailing or call 01458 253800.

7. How much does it cost to take part?

The venue registration rates have not changed since 2008. SAW raises funds via sponsorship and advertising to support the event and keep the costs down. You can support SAW in keeping costs down by signing up to

The cost to take part is:

  • 1 artist: £190- 50 words, 1 image and website entry
  • 2 artists sharing: £310- 70 words, 2 images, and website entry
  • 3 artists sharing: £430- 90 words, 3 images, and website entry
  • There is a £50 reduction for each SAW Emerging Artist Member

* Please contact us if your venue does not fit the above structure, i.e. you are part of an established studio group/venue with more than 3 artists.

Payment by BACS:

Account: Somerset Art Works
Account No: 19638168
Sort Code: 30-62-63
Reference ‘Open Studios 18’ & your ‘username’ (i.e. your membership username)

Payment 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: ‘Open Studios 18’ & your ‘username’  (i.e. your membership username).

8. How to register

The online registration process is as follows:

Step 1: Membership Login

Once you have SAW membership, use your membership account password to login to (Login button at the bottom of the website home page).

Step 2: Go to online venue registration page

Step 3: Fill in the venue registration form online

Follow the instructions and enter all venue registration details online, and upload your images.

Make sure you gather all the information you need before you start to complete the form. The form has to be completed in one go and you CANNOT return to change the information once you have submitted it.

You can download the sample form HERE

Step 4: Payment

SAW does not have an online payment facility, so you will be asked to make the payment either by cheque or bank transfer. Venue registration payments at the time of registration. SAW reserves the right to refuse entry to any venues where payment has not been received before the registration deadline (15 March). If you send your cheque via post, please ensure you obtain a receipt from the post office as proof of postage.

Step 5: Confirmation

SAW will send you email confirmation of your venue registration once it has been processed. A PDF proof of your guide entry will be sent to you, via email, in May which you will be asked to check and notify Somerset Art Works of your approval.


9. 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. Max image size 2MB.
    • We only accept JPEG format images.
    • Images made of several photos stitched together will NOT be accepted (because this will affect the quality and clarity of your entry).

10. What happens after I have registered my venue?

Once we receive your registration form and payment you should receive an acknowledgement via email within 7 working days.

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

11. What does SAW do with the registration fee?

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

  • Staffing: Event Coordinator with support from the SAW Team
  • Guide design and printing: Designer’s fee and printing and delivery costs
  • Guide distribution costs: Storage, logistics and delivery
  • Marketing: Advertising costs, printed marketing materials, Road signs, Social Media campaign, professional fee of PR/marketing consultant
  • Administration: Stationary, postage, office and finance management
  • Documentation and Evaluation: Professional fee for photographer and evaluator
  • Expenses: Coordinator, Area Reps and volunteer expenses
  • Launch Event: Invitations and refreshments

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.

You can support SAW in keeping costs down by signing up to

12. How does Somerset Art Works promote Open Studios?

  • Somerset Art Works will organise a high profile press and advertising campaign from January 2018 onwards, targeting newspapers, local and national magazines, television and radio.
  • SAW works throughout the year as an advocate of the visual arts in Somerset alongside recognised regional arts professionals and has recently been awarded NPO status by Arts Council England, strengthening its links with art organisations, artists and audiences in national level.
  • 40,000 copies of the guide will be distributed from July 2018 to Libraries, TICs, Museums, Galleries, Garden Centres as well as each Open Studio Venue receiving copies for their own contacts.
  • Event information is published on the website from July.
  • SAW will lead a strong social media marketing campaign around the event. SAW currently has nearly 4000 followers on both twitter and Facebook and over 1000 on Instagram.
  • Updates and news about the event is sent to SAW’s mailing list, which contains over 2000 people, including visitors, patrons, councillors and art organisations.

13. What are my responsibilities 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.
  • Follow core opening hours and open as advertised in the guide

14. Who are the Area Representatives? What will they do for me?

You will be assigned a volunteer Area Representative, who supports SAW to organise guide distribution and networking in your area. They will contact you and let you know if there are any meetings or marketing initiatives planned which 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 can advise about certain aspects of setting up and promoting your Open Studio but other enquiries should be directed to the office (i.e. Public Liability Insurance, risk assessment etc).

15. What is the Family Friendly Weekend and Educational Pack? How is that relevant to me?

In 2014, SAW created a Family Friendly Weekend as part of the Open Studios event, with more than 30 venues offering activities for family audiences. For many artists, this focus provides an opportunity to promote their workshops, engage with a different audience and meet potential buyers. Family Friendly Weekend will be on the final weekend of Somerset Open Studios 2018 – Saturday 28th & Sunday 30th September. If you are interested in offering an activity as part of Family Friendly Weekend, please tick the relevant box in your registration form. SAW will then get in touch to ask for further details.

SAW has 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 schools visits. If you are interested in this, please tick the relevant box in your registration form. SAW actively encourages members to engage with schools throughout the year and recognises the benefit this brings to artists and students alike. If you are interested in further information, please contact SAW’s Learning & Engagement Manager Beccy Swaine:


SAW Website