Herts Open Studios 2020 – Call for Artists and Venues Opens 1st March 2020


Our annual Call for Artists and Venues will open 1st March for our special 30th Anniversary year. 

Open Studios 2020 runs from Saturday 12th September to Sunday 4th October 2020 – 3 full weeks of art and opportunity that brings artists, artisans and art-lovers together.  Inspiration, discovery and rich opportunity are all to be found with this long-running event that puts art into the heart of our communities across Hertfordshire. It’s a very popular and well-established part of the Hertfordshire annual art calendar. All professional and amateur visual artists, makers and designers who live or work in or near Hertfordshire are invited every year to be part of Herts Open Studios.

2020 is a very special year for us.  Not only are we celebrating 30 years since the first group of Hertfordshire artists got together to welcome visitors to their studios, but this year is also Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020. With more going on and more reasons to be part of our thriving art community, it’s a great year to be a Herts Visual Arts Forum member and event visitor. We are particularly keen for members from our earliest years to get in touch.   

As a major contributor to the Year of Culture since the very beginning, Herts Visual Arts is delighted that the September Year of Culture theme is centred around our very own Open Studios - Meet the Maker, alongside Heritage and History. What better time to explore our county?

To be part of Open Studios, artists first become Herts Visual Arts members, which itself brings a fantastic range of benefits that include member-only opportunities, networking, events and an on-line gallery.  We always encourage membership sign up as early as possible. It gives the very best opportunities for early networking and venue planning with other artists. Once a member, artists apply to take part in Open Studios: registration this year is open from 1st March – 30th April 2020. 

Whatever your motivation and wherever you are on your art journey, Open Studios offers a unique chance to grow. From those starting out for the first time in their living room or garage, to established artists with a secure customer base - everyone is different. Being part of Open Studios is a cost-effective way for artists to reach a County-wide audience. It’s an opportunity to show or demonstrate work, talk about techniques and inspirations, listen to visitors and perhaps sell something – either from solo events or our highly popular group options.

This year we have again kept the group price structure that has proved so popular in recent years, encouraging groups of artists working together at a single venue. 

We also encourage personal development and perhaps membership in the future, with established classes/groups able to register for a single entry in our brochure for a class exhibition. Also this year we again welcome enquiries from schools, encouraging them to take part.

Every year there are artists wishing to take part in a shared or other suitable group venue and look forward to hearing from shops, community spaces or other potential hosts. Herts Visual Arts can also help match artists to potential venues. As a host, you’ll benefit not only from being part of Open Studios, but also the extra promotion around the Year of Culture. 

The entry fee covers a full entry in the Open Studios on-line gallery, inclusion in on-line and printed publicity materials, promotional materials and Open Studios signage for your own use. Complementing the special Anniversary Edition of the print brochure, our new web site brings excellent mobile access for visitors on the move, making journeys easier and venues simple to find. Herts Visual Arts also run a publicity campaign in the press and on social media.

“This year we are specifically encouraging original or very early members to get in touch and be part of our celebration, with features in our annual Showcase and Big Art Fair events as well as Open Studios. Alongside this and our regular participants, there is also the buzz around the new artists who join us each year. There really is so much for any visitor to explore, so many conversations and experiences to fill those three full weeks.” said Herts Visual Arts Chair, Hillary Taylor, who continued “I love visiting as many artists as I possibly can during Open Studios, I think my record was about 60 visits on year, 60 warm welcomes and fantastic experiences. Planning routes is also so much easier with our new web site functionality too – truly inspirational days out for anyone. Where will your journey take you?”

www.hvaf.org.uk ‘More creativity, more fun, more buzz, more laughter in our lives’




Herts Visual Arts is the largest county-wide volunteer run organisation for amateur and professional artists and makers in Hertfordshire. An annual programme includes members meetings, exhibitions, Art Showcases, the Big Art Fair and Herts Open Studios.

Many artists join simply to be part in Open Studios each year – but there is so much more to the excellent value annual membership (currently still just £40 per year, with senior concessions available). *Registration for Open Studios is not included in the cost of membership.

Benefits of annual membership include a gallery on the HVA web site, social media promotion across HVA platforms and a PRIVATE Facebook group to connect with other members. There’s also access to opportunities and a full annual programme of meetings and events, just for members. A monthly newsletter includes news, opportunities and exhibitions across Hertfordshire, as well as hints, tips and articles on Open Studios, marketing and more. Members can also promote their workshops, classes, exhibitions and publications and contribute to the newsletter itself.

Non-members can sign up for our newsletter.

 *Registration for Open Studios is not included in membership, and full membership must be taken out to take part in Open Studios.



28th February – 28th March 2020:  Herts Visual Arts Big Art Showcase, New Maynard Gallery, Welwyn Garden City,  AL8 6BX  A rich mix of creativity and skill on show for this annual Herts Visual Arts member’s Big Art Showcase, around 60 Hertfordshire artists and artisan makers taking part. First in a series of annual member-led events, a visual feast awaits gallery visitors with a wide range of paintings, drawings, ceramics, glass, textiles, mixed media and more on display. All work is for sale. Herts Visual Arts members are all artists who live or work in Hertfordshire. Everyone is welcome to the Preview Evening from 8pm on 27th February.

7th-10th May:  Herts Visual Arts Living Crafts Showcase at Hatfield House.  Visit the Herts Visual Arts Marquee at Living Crafts for a fantastic opportunity to meet 24 members.  Each day six different 2D and 3D artists will be on hand, ready to talk to visitors who can experience work in the making, watch demonstrations and see completed work on show.  A unique chance to purchase direct from the artist/maker.  

18th-19th July: Herts Visual Arts Big Art Fair.  Following on from the success of our previous Art Fairs during the Hitchin Festival, we’re delighted to bring the Big Art Fair back to Hitchin during this year’s festival. Art by over 50 2D and 3D artists and artisans will be on display at Hitchin Town Hall.  All work will be for sale, with opportunities to meet the artists.  Our Preview Evening (small fee on the door) on Friday 17th July has complimentary refreshments and features Sponsors Choice certificate awards, the launch of our 2020 Open Studios Brochure (special anniversary edition) plus a delightful evening in the company of our fabulous art and artists. Please get in touch if you would like information on our Sponsorship opportunities.

12th September – 4th October: Herts Open Studios 2020 – celebrating 30 years, and also tied into the Hertfordshire Year of Culture theme: Meet the Maker. Herts Open Studios is Herts Visual Arts annual flagship event, when artists open their doors to visitors. Details of participating venues and artists will be available online and in print from Summer 2020, with the special Anniversary Edition brochure launch at the Big Art Fair. Our new web site has some great features that allow visitors to easily find studios to visit. There is also a comprehensive advertising and sponsorship offering.


The easiest way to join HVA is online:  www.hvaf.org.uk

Twitter: @HVAF #HertsOpenStudios                      Instagram: @HertsVisualArtsChair

Facebook: @HertsVisualArts

Press Release by Hillary Taylor chair@hvaf.org.uk

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For marketing email Kelly marketing@hvaf.org.uk