Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, The Winter Artists Open Houses Festival returns for 2022 with some very special collections. 60 houses will be opening their doors to the public, including many new venues, across the Brighton & Hove area.
Running every weekend between Sat 26 Nov and Sun 11 Dec, everything will be focused on sharing loads of Christmas joy. Participating artists will be offering a huge range of artworks and handmade craft. And when buying from AOH for Christmas, you can be in the knowledge your money is going straight to the maker and that you are supporting artists’ careers in the process.
Established in 1982, Brighton & Hove’s iconic Artists Open Houses helps artists connect with audiences in self-curated, non-traditional art spaces – which often means the artists’ own homes.
They coordinate and promote two open house seasons, one during May alongside the Brighton and Fringe Festivals, and this bumper festive event. Artist involvement in these is open to anyone living within the 01273 code area. The ethos is inclusive rather than selective, encouraging participation from artists and makers of all ages, at all stages of their careers and from all parts of the community. This can include school and college students and artists who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised from the mainstream art world.
AOH also has a long history of education partnerships, and students and emerging artists are especially welcome this year. Many of its founders were working in the region’s art colleges when the movement began. They recognised the enormous benefits that working on projects alongside professional artists brings to art students. So AOH continues to provide this platform to support students and graduates following the disruption of the pandemic.
Once again, the Artists Open Houses Winter Festival offers a unique Christmas shopping experience. It’s invariably the best way to find stylish and original festive gifts, meet the artists in their homes and learn about their practice. This year includes work by young artists with learning disabilities at the Jubilee Library, a seniors’ residential centre, a group of artists producing a ‘punk’ Christmas tree with handmade baubles, and venues offering Indian and Nordic Christmas treats alongside the art.
On offer will be a sumptuous array of painting, ceramics, homeware, craft, jewellery, children’s toys, cards, tree decorations and preserves. From West Hove to Rottingdean and beyond, you can ease yourself into the Christmas shopping away from the high street crowds, in an intimate, creative environment. Many of the houses will be offering festive fayre and creating a warm atmosphere to make the whole Christmas shopping experience interesting, pleasurable and unhurried.
For those unable to visit, there’s also an online Virtual Open Houses strand. This includes video tours round artists’ houses, as well individual online galleries. You can hear about the artists’ work, the processes of making and ideas behind their work and buy directly from the artists and makers without leaving your home. Artists Open Houses Winter 2022 Festival every weekend on Sat 26 Nov – Sun 11 Dec weekends. For more information, and to explore the virtual AOH strand, head to: www.aoh.org.uk
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