About Open Studios for artists

Any further information please contact openstudios@hvaf.org.uk


2018 Open Studios dates are 8th - 30th September

For 3 weeks in September, Herts Open Studios connects our members with art-lovers – a unique opportunity for inspiration, discovery and to perhaps purchase direct from the artist. Established almost 30 years ago, it’s a popular and well-established part of the Hertfordshire annual art calendar. Open Studios is funded by the artists who participate, commercial advertising and other sponsorship where available.

By taking part in Herts Open Studios you are joining all other Herts Open Studios artists as an equal partner. The success of this annual event relies on everyone working together. 

Who can take part?

Open to artists, artisans and designer-makers who live or work in or on the borders of Hertfordshire, there is no selection process but you must be a Herts Visual Arts member.

Herts Visual Arts (HVAF) is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation run by/for artists, artisans and designer-makers who live or work in or near Hertfordshire. Our members have wide-ranging opportunities and benefits throughout the membership year (1st April – 31st March): take a look at our membership pages.

Can non-HVAF members take part?

Open Studios is a members-only event.  Please do not display or include non-members work in your Open Studios, even as a friendly gesture – everyone must be a member.  Please do not invite non-members to exhibit with you – you will be barred from future events.

The only exceptions are for two very special cases: school entries and the new art class/therapy group entry. For these two categories, the lead artist must be a member and the participating artists are not identified in the brochure. These 2 categories are designed to encourage participation, personal development, and perhaps encourage membership in the future. 

What kind of art can I display?

The work must be your own, made by you. It must fit the themes and ethos of Herts Visual Arts and Open Studios.  It must be safe for visitors and suitable for a general audience, including children. 

Why be part of Open Studios?

Our artists take part for many reasons.  Everyone has different priorities, challenges, ideas and motivations, depending on where they are on their personal art journey. From artists starting out in their living room or garage for the first time, to established artists with a secure customer base - everyone is different. Whether you open your studio, use a space in your home, put on an exhibition, work solo or with others, there are many benefits. Being part of Open Studios is a cost-effective way to take your work directly to a County-wide audience,  to show people your work, talk about your techniques and inspirations, listen to  visitors and hopefully sell some work.  Some find it an excellent opportunity for additional sales (but while sales are lovely, they can also be unpredictable and variable).

Wider benefits are perhaps related to new experiences, developing skills, having fun, meeting new and existing customers and extending your business and art networks and practice.  Getting feedback and the opportunity to talk to others is invaluable. The message from repeat Open Studios participants is clear: Each Open Studios year is part of a journey, a step or two into your future, another opportunity to meet and connect with new artists and customers, to develop your art practice and more.  Individual objectives for any year may be totally different from previous or future years. Where will your journey take you?

How do I take part if I don’t have a space of my own?

If you don’t have a venue or group, try contacting other artists in your area. You can also look for shops, local halls or exhibition space– the possibilities are endless. You don’t have to use your own home, or even join in close to your home – you can use any suitable individual or group space available across the County. 

Groups are a really good way to make the most of Open Studios. Take a look at last year’s brochure for ideas about working in groups. Venues and groups sometimes get in touch with HVAF to offer spaces, and individual artists can ask for a space or for a share. Opportunities (venues, groups and artists) that HVAF finds out about will be on facebook and the web site.  See below for our Open Studios ‘classified’. If you have a venue or artist in mind, contact them directly to see if it would work for you. 

How do I join in?

Apply/ pay on line before the closing date – this year applications close 30th April 2018. Payments are made via PayPal using a Debit/Credit Card. You do not need a PayPal account.

Already Herts Visual Arts Member? Log in and (when booking has opened) you can click ‘Apply to Open Studios’

Not renewed yet? Log in, renew your membership first, then you will be able to apply as above.

Not a Member? Join first, and you can apply as soon as applications open.

Open Studios blank flyer for your info

Due to popular demand! Here's an Open Studios blank poster for 2018. Feel free to download and add your own Open Studios details. Great for local publicity!


Open Studios pavement branding

For 2018 Open Studios participants, we have strengthened our pavement presence! We're looking to unify our brand and make it really easy to find our venues.

HVA Risk Assessment for events and Open Studios

Open Studios Participants: all artists please complete, sign and date a Risk Assessment Form for your event. It must be produced on request and may form part of any insurance claim – it must demonstrate that precautions and care were taken to reduce the risk of an incident.

Open Studios tips

These tips are offered as just some of the things you might like to consider when getting ready for Open Studios. There may well be other things you are already planning for your own event, or perhaps these lists give you ideas better suited to your situation. 


New for 2018, we’re delighted to add this latest option for Open Studios participation. Established groups can take part for the same rate as an individual artist, subject to additional participation rules.

Who can take part in this special group rate?

Active art classes or therapy groups established prior to 31st September 2017, and in active operation since the qualificiation date and throughout 2018.

Who cannot take part in this special group rate?

Art studios, or groups of individual artists who otherwise operate individually. It also does not apply to Art Societies, Art Galleries, shops or similar businesses.

What does established mean?

The group/class must have been operational with regular meetings, with a membership of at least 5 participants.  HVAF must be able to clearly see that you are an operational group that meets the group criteria. Please check our terms and conditions before signing up. We recommend that you provide evidence to HVAF prior to registration.

How can we take part?

The group leader must be registered as an individual Herts Visual Arts member in the usual way.  The leader then applies for Open Studios as an individual, paying a single fee and entitled to a single entry/image in the Open Studios Brochure. Where the leader runs more than one group, they can apply/pay for multiple classes/groups at different locations. For example, if classes are run in, say Letchworth and Watford, separate entries would be justified for each class. The OS brochure entry/image must represent the group, not showcase a group leader.

Why take part?

Herts Open Studios provides an amazing opportunity for group members to work together and gain invaluable confidence and experience in all aspects of showing their work, supported by their group leader.

How can a group/class take part in Open Studios?

You’ll need to find a space to use, decide when, how and what you want to show, in the same way as any other Open Studios participant.  The prime reason for this special class, however, is to offer class/group members an opportunity to show their work and engage with an audience. 

The exhibition, studio or other event must offer equal opportunity to all class members, without favour and without bias towards the group/class leader. Whether you are an artist who delivers art classes, a therapy or other group leader, this Open Studios should showcase work by students or group members, not the leader.

The work on show may have been created during classes/meetings, as a result of classes/meetings, it may be created by individuals, collectivley or collaborativly by the group.

Evidence required (in addition to standard Open Studios information requirements)

-        Name of the group/class

-        Name of the group/class leader

-        Type or purpose of group/class

-        Date of start-up (approximate if prior to 2017)

-        Web site, facebook or other public information sources

-        Details of membership/participation

-        Class/group dates

Looking for an Open Studios venue to share?

If you would like to share a venue, please send details and a contact email to marketing@hvaf.org.uk and we will add to this list and keep updated for 2018. You can also use our Private Facebook Page to connect with other members.

In this final week of registrations, there are still some venues available, and artists looking to share. Please contact the venue or artists directly for more information. Deadline is 30th April! We have a number of members still looking for or offering a home.

Francis Evershed - Bovingdon home, looking to share her space. fevershed@yahoo.co.uk 01442 832236

Hilary Kidd - looking for a shared space, Barnet area hkidd48@gmail.com

Mitzie Green - Berkhamsted - looking for garden sculpture and jeweller to share 01442 862978 / 07952 339488 mitzie.artist@gmail.com

https://www.hvaf.org.uk/Mary-Ann-Day/gallery (Southgate, Barnet or North Herts)

https://www.laurareiter.com/ (non-member looking to join a group) South Herts, N London borders arc could include Berkhamstead

https://www.hvaf.org.uk/Daniella-Coronel-Saavedra/gallery - lives in Hitchin


https://www.laurareiter.com/ (non-member looking to join a group) South Herts, N London borders arc could include Berkhamsted


Venues available for Open Studios:
Please contact these venues directly to make arrangements
Artistsmeet, Rickmansworth: email Elaine.johnson@threerivers.gov.uk
The Radlett Centre:  email clare.waller@radlettcentre.com
Mudlarks Café, Hertford has also previously offered.

Contact Sally sally@sallyanndesigns.co.uk for info regarding the following venues

The Barn at the Victoria Pub, Hitchin. Free space, variable days.

Herts MS Therapy Centre, Letchworth, Lots of space available, will need your own gridwall, but tables and chairs provided.

Letchworth Community Museum plus other venues run/owned by the Letchworth Heritage Foundation.

Open Studios 2018 fees


Individual Artist: £90

-        An individual entry/description/photograph in our brochure and on the web site listing (age 18+)

**New for 2018** Art Class/Therapy Group: £90

-        A single entry/description/photograph (representing the whole group) in our brochure and on the web site listing. See below for further details about this new category. (Leader age 18+)

Registering/Lead Artist for a Group: £90

-        An individual entry/description/photograph in the brochure, in first position within the group (age 18+)

Additional Artist in a Group: £50

-        An individual entry/description/photograph in the brochure, within the group

-        Each artist must be Herts Visual Arts Member and signed up to Open Studios to take part

Schools: We always encourage schools to take part, including ArtsMark schools.  If your school would like to join in, please get in touch via openstudios@hvaf.org.uk

Galleries/Art Businesses:  If you would like to take part, please get in touch via openstudios@hvaf.org.uk to find out about options and opportunities.

What is included in my entry fee?

-        professionally-produced print media, with studio details and a square photograph (similar to 2017)

-        downloadable promotional materials for your personal use, including arrows, signage, posters  etc.

-        your details/work listed in the brochure (minimum 15,000 print run) and on Herts Visual Arts website

-        national, county and local publicity via social media, arts centres, libraries, tourist offices, etc.

-        targeted press coverage

-        first-time individual or group lead artists will receive a strip of Open Studios bunting

-        optional (small extra cost) additional distinct signage

Advertise in the Open Studios brochure 2018

Deadline 8th June

Please find attached details and booking form to advertise in the 2018 Herts Open Studios brochure.


Nationally, Open Studios is now recognised as an important event in the art calendar. Now in its 28th year Herts Open Studios is one of the most established OS events in the country.

Open Studios is publicised widely in local and national media, and in arts venues across the county. An advertisement in a professionally produced brochure with a minimum print run of 15,000 A known, special interest circulation.

The brochure is widely distributed to targeted outlets before and during the event. A click through link to your business website from the on-line brochure which will be available to view and for download from our website.