PREVIEW & important New Year Message

Welcome to the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue. We will resume our 1st of the month circulation from February. In the meantime here is a New Year message from our Chairman, Mel Hilbrown.

Making Open Studios a Success

A New Year message from Mel Hilbrown, Chairman

2012 is set to be a BIG year with a lot going on. There’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics – including the water-sport venue in Hertfordshire – plus the Paralympics – and that’s just for starters. With new opportunities within Herts Visual Arts (HVA) as well as these attractions to bring more visitors to the county it should be a great year for Hertfordshire’s creative talent too! So I want to encourage as many members as possible to take part in Open Studios 2012.

New ‘HVA Open Evening’ for members and non-members

At HVA we are determined to make Open Studios 2012 a big success. The Organising Group are planning an Open Studios Success workshop in February open to members and non-members. The focus of the evening will be to help anyone who is going to take part, or is just considering it, to:

  • learn how it has worked for others
  • touch base with their local support network
  • find out how to get the most out of Open Studios
  • network and meet with other artists
  • link people who have space to share with people who need a venue.

So please, don’t just join, join in!

Members and volunteers

Herts Visual Arts is your organisation. Your membership gives you the opportunity to volunteer and support other artist members in a wide variety of ways. We are a fellowship of artists – we all have visual arts as a common factor that binds us. With the exception of part-time input from Linda, our co-ordinator, without whom Open Studios (and other events) would not happen, all the work in HVA is done by volunteers from among the membership – and some from outside.

HVA and Open Studios

Old hands at Open Studios will know the special relationship between HVA and Open Studios. Only members of HVA can take part in Open Studios – and then the strong network of volunteers that make up HVA get behind the artists taking part and help to make it successful. Historically around a half of all members take part in any one year, although many artists do not take part every year.

Brochures and press coverage

HVA’s publicity for Open Studios starts with the call for artists in February and goes right the way through to October culminating in the county-wide distribution of 25,000 brochures and high visibility coverage in the press. Then Open Studios blossoms. It is HVA’s major activity, its most significant public face, its biggest and brightest showcase. It creates a lot of interest in art in the county, and generates sales and commission and connections for all the artists taking part.

HVA and you…

The more artists that participate in Open Studios the better for all, as the event becomes bigger, attracts more publicity, more visitors and more awareness of Hertfordshire’s rich variety of artists. Success breeds success and we all want that success for you this year. If you are not currently one of our volunteers (we have a few vacancies) you can personally help make HVA and Open Studios a success by:

  • Taking part in Open Studios yourself in 2012
  • Encouraging others to take part
  • Helping to publicise Open Studios anywhere you can!

For more information contact Linda on

Interesting facts about Open Studios…

  • Every year HVA organise the printing of 25,000 full colour Open Studios brochures which we distribute around Hertfordshire over a three month period giving visibility for each participant’s work during the project and beyond.
  • Many visitors keep the brochure for reference and requests for copies are made even after Open Studios has ended.
  • Printing and distributing our quality 64 page brochures costs over £13,000.
  • In previous years arts funding has cushioned the costs of Open Studios, but there has been no funding available for it since 2008.
  • Low participation in Open Studios 2011 created a financial strain on HVA. Only 130 members took part so that for every participant paying £90 HVA lost over £10 on brochure costs alone, before taking into account any of the other costs of organising such a large event.
  • In 2011 coverage in the press and on-line filled three large cuttings folders – this is publicity artists could not easily achieve for themselves, let alone for the cost of participating!
  • If 200 members take part in Open Studios 2012, with a small amount of income generated from advertising revenue, we can cover all our costs.
  • 200 participants will ensure Open Studios continues to help artists generate interest and income.
  • Less than 150 Open Studios participants puts the future of Open Studios at risk.