March 2020

Suffolk Open Studios Reaches New High

Popular Visual Arts Programme Returns with Record Numbers of Artists

Suffolk Open Studios returns again in June for its 9th successful year in its current format, with a record number of participants. Every weekend, artists across the county will be opening their studios to the public to give visitors a unique opportunity to see their work, watch them create it and to discuss their practice.

Starting on Saturday 6th, this year’s programme runs over the four weekends of June. All studios are open 11am-5pm and entry is free. Numbers this year are up again significantly up on 2019 with nearly 140 artists and galleries taking part, marking a new high point for the programme.

Visitors can see work ranging from the strictly traditional to the highly abstract, and covering every aspect of the visual arts – including painting, pottery, ceramics, glassware, print-making, screenprinting, woodturning, sculpture and more.

Cally James, Suffolk Open Studios Chairperson, commented: “It’s wonderful to see record numbers of members enrolling this year – some old faces returning again from previous years, many joining for the first time. It’s testimony to the programme’s popularity that so many artists want to take part.”

She continued: “The great thing about Suffolk Open Studios is that it gives the public a unique opportunity to meet the artists in person. How often do you go to a gallery, see something you love and think “I wish I could ask them how they went about creating that – what was in their mind”? With Suffolk Open Studios, you can!”

As in previous years, the 2020 programme launches with the Annual Showcase Exhibition on Wednesday 27 May at the Apex Gallery in Bury St Edmunds. This year, the event will be opened by renowned artist and portrait painter, and long established Suffolk resident, Benjamin Sullivan RP NEAC, winner of the 2017 BP Portrait Award. Among his other achievements, many people will recognise Benjamin’s work from his 2018 portrait of The Queen.

Benjamin commented: “I’m delighted to be invited to open this year’s exhibition. Suffolk is famous for its artistic talent, both past and present, and it’s a pleasure to be involved in a project which seeks to bring so much of that talent into the public eye and give it the recognition it deserves.”

Visitors can download a copy of the 2020 Directory from the Suffolk Open Studios website at www.suffolkopenstudios.org/directory,where they can learn about participating artists, see examples of their work, check opening times and plan their route. They can also look out for posters, flyers and pocket-size versions of the directory in galleries, libraries and tourist information centres across the county, as well as following the programme on Facebook and Instagram: search for @suffolkopenstudios.

One feature retained in the directory by popular demand is the “Meet the Artist” section, which highlights the four finalists who chosen by public vote to be the “face” of Suffolk Open Studios on posters, flyers and the directory front cover. This year’s winner is Ruth Simpson with “Summer Hedgerow” – to see Ruth’s work, visit www.suffolkopenstudios.org/artists/ruth-simpson.

Suffolk Open Studios continues to support the work of its nominated charity, Suffolk Artlink. A new joint fund-raising venture this year, “Hares around Bury”, will see artists creating customised hares for display in retail premises around the town, with all entries available for purchase at the Annual Showcase exhibition at the Apex, opening on 27 May.