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Gateshead Open Studios is a community walking trail pencilled in for the half-term weekend at the end of October 2019. There is a map highlighting creative practitioners & artistic workshops based in the Gateshead region. Carefully curated historic arts venues are open for the public to explore. This includes opportunities to meet local artists/designers/practitioners to see their spaces and discuss their creative process. Also venues will run creative workshop activities, which all are welcome to take part in, including family and children during the half term period. Refreshments will be available at each venue or by visiting nearby refreshment partners. At a time leading up to Christmas, it’s an ideal opportunity for the creatives involved to get exposure of their products too. It's also the perfect weekend activity to inspire children, as well as all local residents curious about what is happening right on their doorsteps, as some of these venues are normally closed to the public.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Gateshead has nothing like this set-up. We did a 1-day pilot on October 27 2018, and it was a huge success in terms of attendance and feedback from participants. Venue doors will be open so the public have access to explore venues possibly for the first time and be taken on guided tours. Creative practitioners benefit from having people discussing, browsing their space and seeing their work first-hand - potentially making sales or gaining commissions. Landlords of studio-based premises have the benefit of the public seeing venues and gaining interest from new prospective creative tenants. There is also a strong historic heritage aspect in some venues, such as the churches of Gateshead. There are some examples of significant locally & British-made arts & crafts furniture, decorations and internal architecture made at the turn of the 20th century. Open Studios as a concept isn’t new, but this particular event blends arts & history which appeared to be a popular combination from feedback.
Steps to get it done:
Based on the pilot test on October 27 2018, we saw a clear pattern of people attending who lived locally and were curious as to what was happening. Others from further afield had an interest in the arts or the history behind the venues. Many people I spoke to had heard about the event via friends, or Facebook, and we printed some flyers & posters which were distributed across the Gateshead & Newcastle region. As predicted, we saw many parents with younger children attending too. It was quite a diverse range of ages though overall. We'd also love to have more volunteers who might wish to help us promote local arts and history to help us on the day!
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