Suffolk Open Studios Returns to Suffolk for 8th Successful Year

Posted on April 10, 2019

June 2019 sees the welcome return of the popular Suffolk Open Studios programme, now in its 8th successful year. Every weekend in June, artists across the county will be opening their studios to the public to allow visitors a unique opportunity to watch them at work and quiz them about their practice.

The 2019 programme runs over all five weekends in June, commencing Saturday 1 June, with over 100 artists taking part as well as eight galleries. All studios are open 11am-5pm and entry is free. Numbers this year are significantly up on last year, marking a powerful testimony to the event’s growing popularity.

Participating artists come from every corner of the art world and will be showing work across a wide choice of media covering every aspect of the visual arts, including painting, ceramics, glassware, print-making, pottery, sculpture and more. With work ranging from the strictly traditional to the highly abstract, the organisers guarantee there is something for every art lover.

The programme follows the success of last month’s Suffolk Open Studios Annual Showcase Exhibition, which was opened by Ania Hobson, previous Suffolk Open Studios member and winner of this year’s British Young Portrait Artist of the Year Award, and which saw hundreds of people gather at the Apex Gallery in Bury-St-Edmunds gather to admire the work on display.

Cally James, Suffolk Open Studios Chairperson, commented: “It’s wonderful to see artists’ work in a gallery or other formal situation, but the artists themselves are almost always not present. What makes Suffolk Open Studios unique is the opportunity to visit them in their own working environment: to have the chance to discuss their work one-to-one and ask how they go about creating it.”

Ania Hobson added: “Suffolk contains a huge reservoir of artistic talent, not all of which is readily visible via the more formal art channels. The great thing about Suffolk Open Studios is that it gives the public a chance to visit not just established artists but also to discover studios “off the beaten track”, and enjoy work which might otherwise get overlooked.”

This year sees a number of changes in response to feedback from artists and visitors. Simplified maps make it easier find members’ studios, while a new “Meet the Artist” section highlights the four finalists who competed to be the “face” of Suffolk Open Studios on this year’s promotional posters, flyers and directory. This year’s winner was Astra Taylor-Todd’s “Gorilla with Blue Tit”– to see Astra’s work, visit www.suffolkopenstudios.org/artists/wild-astra-designs.

Two features which have been retained are the popular members’ trails and hubs. “Trails” are where a number of artists within a given geographical area produce a leaflet listing their studios, to help visitors make the best use of their time in the locality. “Hubs” exist where artists who either do not have their own space or whose studios will not support public access combine forces to show their work in single venue. Full details appear on the Suffolk Open Studios website and in the 2019 directory.

Visitors can learn about participating artists, see examples of their work, check opening times and plan their route by visiting the Suffolk Open Studios website at www.suffolkopenstudios.org. An online map shows the location of all artists and galleries.

Visitors should also look out for Suffolk Open Studios posters, flyers and pocket-size directories, available in galleries, libraries and tourist information centres across the county, and downloadable from the website. They can also follow Suffolk Open Studios on Facebook and Instagram: search for @suffolkopenstudios.

Suffolk Open Studios continues to support the work of its nominated charity, Suffolk Artlink. A prize draw which took place during the Showcase exhibition at the Apex raised nearly £1,000 to support the organisation’s vital work in community centres, hospitals and hospices, residential homes, refuges and schools across the county. To learn more, visit www.suffolkartlink.org.uk.