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Ouseburn Open Studios

  • Date: 1 October 2010
  • Artform: Visual arts
  • Area: North
Members of public visiting studio workspaces Ouseburn Open Studios event 2009, courtesy of Northern Print

Ouseburn Open Studios is a collaborative enterprise between the Artist's Studio organisations in and around the Ouseburn Valley district of Newcastle upon Tyne. The aim of this annual event is to simultaneously open all shared studios in the area and attract visitors through collaborative marketing and publicity.

The 2009 event took place on the weekend of 28 and 29 November and included Biscuit Factory Studios, Biscuit Tin Studios, Cobalt Studios, Foundry Lane Studios, 36 Lime Street Studios, Northern Print Studios, Mushroom Works Studios and RASKL Studios.

The public were invited to use the opportunity not only to view the work but also to directly engage in conversation with the artists, designers and makers, with an element of being able to see behind the scenes at what goes on in an artist's production space. It helped educate the public in the possibilities of commissioning artists as well as giving opportunities to buy works direct from their creator with the bonus of artistic insight into the concept and inspiration behind the piece. As well as being a direct marketing opportunity it was aimed at engaging the public with the process of production from original idea to finished item.

It included opportunities for workshops and demonstrations and family activities. During the open weekend 48 workshops took place and the event generated 44 new commissions for the artists. Across eight buildings there were 161 artists involved, complemented by over 40 aspiring interested helpers who were enabled to gain first hand experience of such events and of the arts in general. It was a great success - there were increased sales and altogether 6,262 people visited the event in just two days.

The Arts Council's contribution was £8,458 from our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme, which was directed at the marketing and promotion of the event. Almost all of the venues operate the Arts Council's Own Art scheme which offers free credit to potential buyers, and greatly increased sales were reported as a result. 

Newcastle City Council and Ouseburn Regeneration gave a further £3,000.  The Studios themselves contributed £1,600 and a further £700 was garnered through local business sponsorship and advertising.

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