Artists line up for Chichester Open Studios Art Trail 2021

Chichester Open Studios Art Trail 2021 will see scores of artists hoping to put last year’s disappointments behind them.

Nicola Hancock
Nicola Hancock

Instead of its usual May slot, the trail for this year moves to the middle weekends of July and becomes part of the 2021 Festival of Chichester

Coinciding with the festival’s final weekend, the first weekend of the trail will be Saturday and Sunday July 10 and 11. The 2021 trail will then conclude the following weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.

Venues will be open from 10.30am-5pm each day bringing together 132 artists exhibiting a wide range of work across 112 venues (16 of them online only) in and around the city of Chichester.

The event will offer a number of different trails within the trail: Peninsula, Regis, City, Downs, Harbour and Online.

Organiser Nicola Hancock moved the event solely online last year. Now she is delighted to offer a mix of real and virtual, to match the concerns/confidence of artists and visitors alike.

“The artists seem very pleased to have this opportunity. For some of them, it is one of their main selling opportunities of the year, and that was lost for some last year. But now they have got the chance to sell the things they were making last year.”

And that will be key. Nicola senses it will be a very different trail this year – a reflection of all that we have been through: “I do think it will be really important this year. For me certainly, art was a lifeline. Creativity was what helped get me through. I have got work to show that I made in a very tender place, a very poignant place. I think a lot of people have struggled but they have continued to work, and so it will be art from a very different place this year. And that’s another reason why it will be a very special event this year. We have all made work in isolation and this is a chance to share it at last. The fact that it is happening just feels like a miracle!”

Nicola contacted the participating artists with newsletters outlining the track and trace and Covid-precautions they needed to put in place. The artists then made their own decisions whether or not to open for real or to go online instead. And the public will make a similar choice – whether to enjoy the art in person or whether to view online from home instead.

“I completely understand if people feel that they don’t want to visit in person and go into people’s studios. We are putting all the safety measures in place, but obviously visitors will have a choice and they can always contact the artists and visit them in person at a later date when they will feel safer.

“The whole trail is slightly smaller than usual this year, which is understandable. I did wonder whether it would be bigger, with lots of people having lots of work from last year to show. But I am just delighted that it is going to be happening.”

As for whether it switches back to May next year, Nicola suspects it probably will – though that isn’t necessarily a decision just yet.

Visit for more information about the Chichester Art Trail and its artists who will include Emma Adams, Lauren Alderslade, Sarah Amos, Catherine Barnes, Tim Bar-tell, Collette Batho, Alexandra Beale, Fiona Bell-Currie, Jacky Bellamy, Camilla Blackett, Heather Bowring, Maureen Brigden, Victoria Brown and Anne Burn.