Online start for 2020 Artists Open Houses Winter Festival in Brighton

The second lockdown has forced a rethink for The Artists Open Houses Winter Festival in Brighton.

Hope by Sophie Wake - the festival cover image
Hope by Sophie Wake - the festival cover image

Judy Stevens, festival director, said: “In light of the new national lockdown, plans for Brighton and Hove’s Artists Open Houses Festival, which was due to begin on the weekend of November 21, have had to be revised.

“The first two November festival weekends (November 21 and 22 and November 28 and 29) will now become a virtual festival, appearing online only. The second two December weekends (December 5 and 6 and December 12 and 13) will be running as normal once lockdown ends, with houses open to members of the public.

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“The Virtual Artist Open Houses will be available to view at, and will include virtual tours of artists’ houses and studios and online galleries.”

Judy added: “This year has been like no other and, in this difficult time, we have all needed to be adaptable, to embrace change and make the very best we can of the situation in which we find ourselves.

“This year’s AOH Festival will be different and has, of necessity, evolved in new and interesting ways. Everyone is now in need of some festive pleasure and we believe our festival, virtual and real, will offer special treats and great art for everyone.

“The Artists Open Houses festival provides a fantastic opportunity to shop away from the high street and buy unique Christmas gifts. There will be a hugely diverse selection of arts, crafts, jewellery, gifts for the home, Christmas cards, ceramics and gifts for children – plus much more. You will be able to view the artworks at the virtual festival and buy direct from the makers.

“The last six months have been a very challenging time for the city’s many artists and makers. With the postponement of the May AOH festival and temporary closure of galleries, many of their usual means of selling work have dried up, due to the pandemic. More than ever it is important to support our local artists and the creative businesses that make Brighton and Hove the vibrant city it is.

“All houses will be fully compliant with Covid-19 guidelines which have been produced in accordance with the current government guidance and law, many offering booking systems.”

Brighton and Hove Artist Open Houses, the originator of the open house movement, dates back to 1981 when an artist from the Fiveways area of Brighton, Ned Hoskins opened his house to the public to view his work and that of a group of friends. Other artists in the area followed suit to form the Fiveways Artist Group.

The idea proved popular and soon artist open houses sprang up all over the city.

The Artist Open Houses festival is now the largest event of its kind in the UK. Around 200 houses and studio spaces across the city open their doors for the main festival in May and around 60 open during the Christmas festival.

More than 2,000 artists and makers share their work and homes each year.

Highlights of the autumn/winter festival include:

Red Brick House – Sophie Wake: Brochure cover artist 2020: Sophie Wake is a contemporary British artist known for her human and animal paintings. Shortlisted for three Artists Open House Awards and winner of Best Newcomer, Sophie was selected by Grayson Perry to show in his Yellow Room at the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2019. Immerse and delight your sensorium at Sophie Wake‘s multi award winning solo show. Original paintings, prints, cards and gifts. 10 Walpole Road, Brighton, BN2 0EA

11 Rugby Road: One of the highlights of the Artists Open Houses Christmas Festival- this house is a cornucopia of Christmas delights! New for 2020, visit the re-landscaped sculpture garden, all lit up with twinkling lights– with a one way walking system to help peruse the Open House safely. The house will also be open on Fridays with a limited number of ticketed viewings for those who prefer more room to explore. 11 Rugby Road, Brighton, BN1 6EB

92 Montpelier Road: A real AOH festival highlight, Montpelier Road has a diverse and exciting mix of work by ten artists and makers including painting from Tiffany Lynch and Holly Loader, interactive workshops by Be Chocolat by Michel Clement and jewellery from Risza Lopes da Cruz. 92 Montpelier Road, Brighton, BN1 3BE

We, You, Me – Young Artists from Brighton University. Guided by David Shrigley. We, You, Me, the Artists Open Houses student bursary exhibition, offered by the new Hannington’s Lane Development, features the work of four third year students studying Fine Art and Sculpture at the University of Brighton. This festival exhibition is an opportunity to see the development of these young artists’ work following their conversations with the internationally renowned, artist David Shrigley. Hannington’s Lane, Brighton.

New Grounds – Gallery Lock In: Emerging Artists Workshops by David Shrigley. For the third year running, the Artists Open Houses festival will be showcasing the work of emerging artists through a specially curated strand called New Grounds. Filmmaker, artist and curator Idil Bozkurt, and curator and gallerist Beth Troakes, will be curating an evolving exhibition around the theme of Body/Nobody, tracing a dialogue between physical and digital realities, as well as a programme of performances and events at Gallery Lock In, Hove. This festival exhibition is an opportunity to see the development of these emerging artists’ work following workshops with the internationally renowned, artist David Shrigley. Little Western St, Hove, Brighton BN1 2PU

Home at Sold – Figment Arts. This year we’ve all spent more time than ever at home, and remotely accessing the homes of others. Figment Arts Studio artists have chosen to explore HOME as the theme of this exhibition. The exhibition includes poetry, design, illustration, performance art, animation and projections. The five artists invite you into their HOME to experience the new work created for this exhibition. SOLD is Shoreham Opportunities for learning disabilities. A one of a kind independent Charity Shop in the heart of Shoreham by Sea town in West Sussex, offering training to adults with learning disabilities and/or autism with work experience in the shop. 62 High St, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN435DB

Encounters: This diverse and exciting show explores feelings, perceptions, fears and hopes of Encounters’ artists as words like Pandemic, Lockdown and Quarantine were repeated incessantly, becoming the Zeitgeist of our times. The show features Richard Bagguley’s Tiempo de la Pesté, Marion Brandis’ Time of Corona, Linda Leiberman’s Covid Moment, Carlos Sanchez and Mariana Teixeira’s Lockdown jewellery, Romany Bruce’s Nature of Being, Rafael Reveron’s Exploratory online dialogues, Yole Quintero’s Digital/analogue expression and Andreina Mujica’s La mesa se viste de cine. 12 Langdale Road, Hove, BN3 4HN

The Hidden House: Opening its doors for the second time on the Fiveways Trail, this large Edwardian house is a hidden gem surrounded by a mature garden in which you can enjoy tea, coffee and cakes. The house showcases an exciting mix of eighteen local artists working in a wide variety of media that bridge between the contemporary and the traditional including ceramics by Angela Evans, Jewellery by Vivienne Ridley and prints from Julia Trigg. 142 Balfour Road, Brighton, BN1 6NE

Milton House: Milton House is always voted onto Best Open House List. Full of variety and colour there is a great mix of 14 artists and makers on show. Prints and cards from house owner Sarah Jones. 72 Clyde Road, Brighton, BN1 4NP

Brighton Sculptors. Exhibiting sculptors include Jill Bourner, Ingrid Boucher, Lesley Stepney, Abby Martin, Teresa Martin, John Price, Alison Parker, Neil Wilkinson.Expressive ideas and forms explored by local artists .Exotic fabrics, cold cast metals, wood, ceramics and stone sculptures lead you into another world with dramatic lighting, those famous Burne-Jones windows and a very warm welcome. Church of the Annunciation, Washington Street, Brighton, BN2 9SR

Faye Bridgwater: New venue for 2020. Founder of the ever-growing Facebook group, Brighton Skies, Faye spends her days looking up at the sky and out to sea. Her paintings capture fleeting moments of light, playful movement and her emotional response to the landscape. The Sussex coastline and rolling South Downs are a constant influence. Faye welcoms you to her own home for the first time with this joyful solo exhibition with a focus on areas of Sussex which have been important to her in 2020. This year Faye was awarded two prestigious art prizes - the John Purcell Paper Prize for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Derwent Art Prize (People’s Choice). She also had work selected for The Society of Women Artists annual exhibition. 10 Dawson Terrace, Brighton, BN2 0EL

Paxton Glew. This unique pop-up exhibition brings together huge names from the urban contemporary art scene with art toys, originals, prints and jewellery . A mini solo show by 96togo (Jerome White) runs alongside the Toys show, showcasing his humorous and detailed miniature dioramas. The exhibition houses a technicolor model village complete with graffiti trains and tiny buildings covered in murals by some of the UKs most collectable artists. Over 30 artists including Eelus, RYCA, and Shuby. 12 Hanningtons Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HJ

Joy at the Ceramic House: Kay Aplin opens award winning The Ceramic House with an exhibition called JOY featuring international ceramists exploring spontaneity, improvisation and intuitive making techniques displayed in the extraordinary setting of Kay’s architectural ceramic installations. There will be a special listening event, The Joy of Isolation, 21st November 6-9pm, created in partnership with Aural Detritus. Bring smartphone/headphones.

The Ceramic House, 75 Stanmer Villas, Brighton, BN1 7HN

Deep time at BHWB – Brighton and Hove Well Being: Showcasing work from the Deep Time Project, a creative partnership with the South Downs National Park that explores the culture, history and ecology of Seaford Head using photography, digital art and creative writing. Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre is a forward-thinking GP Practice on Western Road, offering patients an arts programme alongside traditional medical care. 18-19 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1AE

Cameron Contemporary: Cameron Contemporary is an award-winning independent art gallery dedicated to showing a changing programme of high quality established and exciting up and coming British based artists, most with a strong Sussex connection. Ranging from traditional to modern, figurative to abstract, each exhibition is accompanied by a selection of sculpture, ceramics and jewellery. Artists include gallery owner Kirsty Wither, Luke Hannan and ceramicist Rowena Gilbert. 1 Victoria Grove, Second Avenue, Brighton and Hove, BN3 2LJ

The Photographer’s Greenhouse: Celebrating green and sustainable work expect a varied selection of plants, florals, paintings, ceramics, woodwork, textiles, jewellery and vintage treasures in a house and garden setting. Artists include photographer Charlotte MacPherson, who will be doing family portraits, Huntress and Fortress doing wreaths, ceramic vessels from Gill Parry and jewellery from Fran Torr. 24 East Drive, Brighton, BN2 0BQ