I’ve never taken part in Open Studios before. Where can I get help?
There will be a Zoom Q+A style briefing in June for new artists to Open Studios, and also those who have participated previously. We’ll go through the details and give you the opportunity to ask questions. Watch out also for our emails with updates, information and reminders in the run up to the event.
Do I need to open my studio for the full ten days?
No, you don’t have to open for the full ten days. We ask that you open for just one or both of the two weekends. Then there is the option of also opening midweek. We have extended the duration of the event so that you have more flexibility and it gives visitors chance to view more studios.
My studio is too small to have many visitors at once
Consider setting up outdoors if you have a garden. Or alternatively share a venue with another artist. If you want help finding someone to share with, get in touch and we may be able to put you in touch with others also looking to share. Your alternative location must be in Worcestershire.
What steps must I take regarding Covid-19?
All artists must comply with the national and local guidelines relating to Covid-19 in place at the time of the event.
Please refer to the Government website for the latest information Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK
What if I can’t be at my studio when I’ve said I will open?
Visitors expect to meet the artist taking part. Unlike a gallery or exhibition, meeting the artist sets Open Studios apart and visitors expect the artist to be there and studios to be open as advertised on our website and in the brochure. To avoid disappointment and wasted journeys it is mandatory that you open for the days you have registered for and to be present at your studio for that time.
What should my studio look like?
Visitors like to see how you work, the materials you use and any reference materials. Have sketchbooks or work in progress on display around you so that they can be seen, and it gives you good talking points. By all means, declutter a bit but there’s no need to tidy everything away. It all adds to the interest.
When preparing your studio/space, remembering that people have been drawn to you because they want to see art work, know how it is made, talk to you and get ideas. They don’t want to see just a pop up gallery.
There are two elements to preparing your studio – firstly so that it is appealing and secondly so that you can be business-like should people want to purchase your work.
Make your space appealing:
• Have sketch books around – people love these.
• Have some work in progress on the go.
• Put some of your tools and media out.
• Display what influences your art.
• Have a clear, concise system of labelling and pricing your work.
• Have some smaller work for sale, cards, etc. so people can take away a bit of what they like.
• Have business cards or similar – something that visitors can take away with them with your contact details.
• Think carefully about pricing, especially if galleries already sell your work, or you would like them to in future.
• Keep a note of artworks and prices – take good (printable) photographs of your work – selling a work of art does not include your copyright unless specified in the sale terms.
What if I have to cancel?
If you cancel before 8 May we will provide you with a full refund. After that date the brochure will go to print with your details in it and no refund will be possible.
If you do have to cancel after that date, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can update the website to let visitors know. Also we ask that you put a closed sign on your door during the event.
What do I do when my studio is open?
Give a warm welcome
• Be pleased to see visitors and explain how to make the most of your studio. Tell them about any Covid requirements in place.
• Be open for the hours that you have committed to.
• Let visitors browse but be on hand to listen, chat and answer questions.
• Work on pieces whilst they are with you and/or show them how you achieve your look.
• Recommend other Open Studio artists to visit.
• Remember to eat! Open Studios can mean long days so think in advance about what you might eat throughout the day.
• Keep a record of visitor numbers and sales made on the sheets provided by the organisers.
• Have contactless payment options available.
• Have change available; notes and cash.
• Have red dot stickers available if work isn’t being taken away at the time.
• Have a supply of suitable packaging.
• Enclose your business card and/or short biography with art work.
• If you are asking visitors to leave contact details, do explain how and why they will be used; if they will be shared and give a reassurance that they won’t be kept for longer than a year.
Can I sell my work?
Yes of course, but feedback has shown that visitors don’t expect to visit a shop. If they like you and your work they are going to be looking for an opportunity to buy something. Your studio is the priority. If this is successful then sales are more likely to happen, and your visitors will return and follow you online.
A separate area with works for sale, cards or other merchandise is a good idea. Give as much space as possible to allow for visitors to maintain a safe distance. Also avoid racks or things to pick up and browse to minimise handling of items. Have plenty of hand santiser available.
How should I price my work?
It is really up to you how you price your work, depending on whether you are starting out, are building a following or are well-established.
If possible offer work for sale at a range of price points. Consider having some smaller works or sketches at affordable prices alongside larger, more expensive items. If your work is sold in galleries or retail outlets you need to make sure you don’t knowingly undercut their prices.
How do I take payments
Wherever possible we recommend that you take contactless payments only to minimise handling of cash. Make sure you have hand sanitiser available for use at your point of sale.
Card and contactless payments – These are increasingly in regular use and many visitors will expect this facility. If you take part or attend artists markets you will be familiar with them.
Online payments – Those visitors with banking apps may be happy to pay direct into your bank account. If you have a PayPal account then it’s possible to set up a PayPal.Me profile so that people can transfer funds to you easily.
Cash – Many visitors have some cash on them and often pay for cards and smaller purchases this way so be prepared with a small float so that change can be readily given. Occasionally people will ask where the nearest cash machine is so that they can access cash to pay for items, so be aware of your nearest. Be mindful of where you keep your cash during the event – in a pocket, in a container in a room you are not using etc.
Cheques – Although these aren’t used so much now someone might produce a cheque book to pay for an item. It will be your decision as to whether you are happy with this.
Do I have to pay commission on sales?
No, we don’t ask for any commission. We do ask you to keep a record of numbers and types of sales and to provide this feedback so that we can use it to help us track the success and effectiveness of the event.
Do I need insurance?
You must have Public Liability insurance to cover any accidents to visitors whilst they are on your premises. You may also wish to consider covering your artworks against loss and damage, and professional indemnity insurance.
The SAA, Axisweb and a-n.co.uk all offer cover.
You may be able to put extra cover on your household insurance for an additional charge. This may also be included if your buildings are insured – check with your insurer.
Can I update my Open Studios event details?
Your web page for the Open Studios event will be created from the information you supply when you register. You can go back and edit your details until 8 May when we will extract the information to start producing the brochure. Remember though your profile page will link to your event page and you can update your profile page at any time throughout the year.
How do people choose artists to visit?
Our yearly evaluation of the Open Studios event tells us that the main reasons the public visit an artist are to:
1. See artwork
2. Meet and talk to artists
3. Get inspiration and ideas
They choose the artists to visit based on their guide/website image combined with the type of medium and the geographical area.
Will there be a printed guide this year?
Yes, absolutely. Each artist will have their own entry in the guide which will include one image of their work, type of artwork, short description, opening times and facilities. You will receive copies of the guide for your own use. We will also distribute copies to tourist information centres and libraries across the county to help promote the event.
Are we having a printed feedback card this year?
We are finalising details for this year now. In previous years we collected paper survey forms, last year we ran an online survey and prize draw. We ask you to encourage visitors to provide feedback on the event. Their comments are invaluable in understanding how well we have all done and any things we need to add or change.
Will you supply any marketing materials to promote the event?
Yes, you will receive printed guides, posters and handouts along with road signage to promote the event locally.
Can I produce my own posters and marketing materials?
Yes, we supply a customisable template for you to create your own posters and postcards.
Can I use the WOS logo on my own web pages and marketing materials?
We will provide a specific WOS logo for use by artists participating in the event.
What about demonstrations or ‘Have a go’ sessions?
We encourage that you share with visitors as much as possible those things which give a real insight into your studio practice and how you create your artwork.
Demos and have a go sessions are a great way to do this, however you may need to balance them with maintaining safe distancing and managing numbers of visitors in your studio at any one time.
Can I charge an entry fee?
No. The Open Studios event is advertised as free to all visitors.
How should I prepare my artwork?
It’s never too early to start thinking about the pieces of work you will exhibit for open studios and the time frame left for finishing/creating more pieces.
• Know how you will display your work – framed, unframed, in a browser, placed on display in a cabinet/on a surface, worn etc?
• If work is framed already, does the framing quality reflect the price you would like for the work?
• Is the piece clean and free from scratches?
• If your 3D work is displayed outside – does the surrounding area do them justice; can they be appreciated from all angles.
• Does the back/underneath of the work look presentable?
• Are your contact details on the back/underneath?
• If your work needs framing, don’t leave it too late to take it to a framer – they get busy AND go on holiday.
• If your work is in a browser leave yourself enough time to cover it professionally, price it and include your contact details.
Can I display works from other artists at my studio?
No, only work by participating artists who have registered for the event may be exhibited.
What are the rules about roadside signs?
We must all adhere to rules enforced by local councils and highways agencies. The night before, or on the mornings you are open, place the A3 signs at key roadside junctions. We cannot guarantee that any placed on a highway will remain. Use the A4 sign outside your studio. After you have closed please remove all signs and store them safely so that they can be used again next year.
Are there any hints and tips from previous open studios artists?
• Some artists, especially those in the centres of Malvern or Worcester, can have a lot of visitors appearing at the same time, so be prepared for that scenario and think about how you will manage numbers.
• Display your work well and help the visitors engage with it perhaps by
giving them a sheet with the information and prices on.
• Label the work with the price and a description of how it was created.
• Lay out pictures that show the process of creation – from sketch, to design, and through the various stages.
• Put your ‘tools’ on display – not just the paints but the toothbrushes you may use to splatter, cards for making marks etc. These create a talking point and can put visitors at ease. This provides a kind of ‘added value’ for people that people don’t get in galleries and helps them experience more than just looking at pictures.
• Make the visitors’ journey around your home/studio as easy as possible by using clear signage – arrows etc. so they don’t feel they are intruding in any way.
• Greet each visitor on arrival and chat again at some point.
• Break off from chatting with friends when visitors arrive.
• Ask visitors why they have chosen your venue, it creates a talking point.