Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Venue Registration deadline: 30 March 2020

  2. What is the Open Studios Event?

The event draws Art Weeks back to its roots, showcasing Somerset Art Works Members 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’. Art, making, design and craft are all celebrated. The event enables Somerset Art Works members to demonstrate their working practice directly to the public within a studio space. It is an opportunity for artists to market their work to potential buyers, curators, dealers and new and diverse audiences.  It is not for group shows or exhibitions.


  1. What is the difference between Open Studios and Festival years?

Somerset Art Weeks alternates each year between Open Studios and Festival events.

Open Studios 2020 Art Weeks Festival 2021
Event focus Individual artists and their practice, at their chosen workspace/studio. Group shows, collaborations, curated exhibitions, projects, events.
Who can take part Individual SAW Members, in a work space or studio of their choice, up to three artists sharing. If you are part of a studio group with more than three artists, please contact SAW to discuss options. Groups made up of min 50% SAW members,
max, 50% non-SAW members.
Can galleries take part? Yes, but only to offer space for Pop-up studios to SAW members. Registration to be made by artists only and artists must be present and working in the space. Yes
Can schools take part? Yes, but only to host artists-in-residence or to offer space to create pop-up studios. Registration to be made by artists only and artists must be present and working in the space. Yes
No of venues in the event Approx. 200 Approx. 100
Fee structure Based on number of artists. Based on size of guide entry.


  1. Who can take part in Somerset Open Studios?

Somerset Open Studios is a bi-annual event which is only open to Somerset Art Works members. TO TAKE PART, YOU MUST HAVE CURRENT SAW MEMBERSHIP. You can sign up for membership online Once membership is confirmed, you will then be able to access information regarding venue registration and the next stage of the process.

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

SAW Emerging Artist Membersareencouraged 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 [email protected] more details.


  1. 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:

  • Participate in the biennial Members’ only event: Somerset Open Studios
  • Participate in the biennial Somerset Art Weeks Festival
  • Have your own artist profile page on the SAW website
  • Join local networks and meet other artists through regional meetings and events organised by SAW
  • Take part in SAW’s Artist Development Programme, including bursaries, events, residencies, workshops, mentoring, peer support and symposium
  • Receive a monthly Members’ e-bulletin with latest news and opportunities
  • Representation of your interests at local and national level through involvement in consultation groups and arts development organisations
  • Attend SAW’s Annual General Meeting and be part of the organisation
  • Access advice, information and resources to help support development


  1. 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 2018, visitor numbers averaged 254 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 nearly 40,000 copies distributed throughout Somerset and beyond.


  1. 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 some artists wishing to take part need to find suitable studio space, 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 February.

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 OR 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 venue matching service page on the SAW website. Email [email protected] for more details.

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


  1. Can schools, community groups, galleries and public venues be part of Somerset Open Studios 2020?

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 arranging this. Please note that artists must be present at the venue and making work during the event.

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

For additional advice schools can contact: [email protected]

This is also an opportunity to promote your business/venue/gallery/school by advertising in the Art Weeks guide. The deadline to advertise is 30th April 2020. For advertising and sponsorship queries, please contact SAW  [email protected]or 01458 253800.


  1. How much does it cost to take part?

The cost to take part is:

  • 1 artist: £200- single guide entry, 1 image, 20 words + member page on website
  • 2 artists sharing: £330- double guide entry, 2 images, 40 words + member page on website
  • 3 artists sharing: £450- double guide entry, 3 images, 40 words + member page on website
  • There is one £50 reduction available for each venue featuring one or more SAW Emerging Artist Members

* 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 ‘SOSVenue2020’ & your surname

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: ‘SOSVenue2020’


  1. How to register your venue

Step 1: You need SAW membership to register your venue

Step 2: Go to the Venue Registration link on the Art Weeks page

Step 3: Fill in the online venue registration form

Follow the instructions and enter all venue registration details online. Images will be submitted separately. Make sure you gather all the information you need before you start to complete the form. You will have the option to edit the form once you have submitted it but only until the end of April.

Step 4: Payment

You can pay bybank transfer, online payment or cheque. Venue registration must be paid for  at the time of registration. SAW reserves the right to refuse entry to any venue where payment has not been received before the registration deadline.

Step 5: Confirmation

SAW will send you an email confirming your venue registration once it has been received and processed. A PDF proof of your guide entry will then be sent to you no later than mid-June, via email, which you will be asked to check and then notify Somerset Art Works of your approval.



  1. 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
  • Composite mages made of several photos stitched together will NOT be accepted


  1. What happens after I have registered my venue?

Once we receive your registration form and payment you should receive an acknowledgement email within 7 working days. We will then communicate with you via email during the design process. You will receive a proof of your guide entry for approval in June before the guide goes on press in early July. We will also communicate with you via the monthly Member’s newsletter to keep you informed about Art Weeks news.


  1. What does SAW do with the registration fee?

Your registration fee is 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, printing and delivery costs
  • Guide distribution costs: Storage and delivery
  • Marketing: Advertising costs, printed marketing materials, Road signs, Social Media campaign, professional fee of PR/marketing consultant
  • Administration: Stationery, 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.


  1. How does Somerset Art Works promote Open Studios?

  • SAW will organise a high profile press and advertising campaign from January 2020onwards, 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 been awarded NPO status by Arts Council England,strengthening its links with art organisations, artists and audiences at national level.
  • Nearly 40,000 copies of the guide will be distributed from July 2020to Libraries, Tourist Information Centres, Museums, Galleries, Garden Centres as well as each Open Studio Venue receiving copies for their own contacts and marketing.
  • Event information is published on the website from July.
  • SAW will lead a strong social media marketing campaign around the event. SAW has over4000 followers on twitter and Facebook and over 2000 on Instagram.
  • Updates and news about the event is sent to SAW’s mailing list, which contains over 2000 contacts, including visitors, patrons, councillors and art organisations.


  1. 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 theMember Resources areaon our website to assist with marketing yourself and your venue
  • Be aware of communications with SAW- look out for your newsletter
  • 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


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

You will be assigned an Area Representative, who supports SAW in organising networking in your area. They will contact you and let you know about 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).


  1. 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 Studiosevent, 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. 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 and colleges, 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 Officer Beccy Swaine

[email protected]