York Open Studios, an arty day out! 
If you like art, exploring and a day out with a difference, then any community Open Studios is the perfect outing for you! There are Open Studios events nationwide however the one that I'll be talking about is York Open Studios. 
If you follow me on Facebook, or are one of my Lauren's Cows V.I.Ps receiving the newsletter, then you will know all about York Open Studios as it is my first year exhibiting as part of it! However it was also my first year of knowing much about it.  
 
In short, it's an annual free public art event that showcases some of the best of York's artists. For two weekends in April artists all over the city open up their work-spaces, whether is be studio, workshop, home or garden shed, welcoming anyone and everyone to have a nosey, view their artworks and have a peak behind the curtain! We've just completed the first weekend and it was a real success.  
 
I'll put my hands up and say that I didn't show much interest in attending York Open Studios, in the time I'd been living in York. I found the idea of going to an artists home and studio to see their work whilst they are in the room with you really quite unattractive. I thought it would be very awkward and uncomfortable. What if I was the only one there and felt pressured into having to buy something? What if I really didn't like the stuff but didn't know how to leave without appearing rude? It would be a real pain traipsing about from house to house and soon get dull.  
Well, although those are reasonable questions they are nothing to think twice about. The York Open Studios are incredibly well attended. We had 700 people through our doors over the weekend which we were not expecting at all, so there were very few times when a visitor was found viewing alone. Or just take a friend! 
As for feeling pressured, York Open Studios isn't a sales pitch! Artists create their work to be viewed! Yes a sale or two is of course incredibly welcome, but art is subjective and we know that. There will be certain artists that really aren't up your street, but that's why there's a catalogue! There's over 100 artists to choose from, odds are you'll like one. For example I had all the people who love cows! They didn't all walk away with a painting but they found something a bit different that made them smile, and that's just as important to me as selling. If you find yourself in a venue that isn't of interest to you, have a quick look round, say thank you and make an exit. We won't be offended, we can tell when a visitor is 'faking it', so it's just as awkward for us as it is for you, so honestly it's a bit of a relief when that person has left the building. Remember, we exhibit to meet new people, receive feedback, hopefully get some nice compliments and mainly to be part of an exciting public art event. 
But one of the things I heard most was just how much fun people were having exploring York, seeing buildings that they never thought of visiting before, like York Cemetery, or in our case discovering buildings that they never new existed! Lot's of people thought our venue Bar Lane Studios was a derelict building! Visitors saw bits of York that they'd never otherwise go to, took the time to explore the city they live in, spent a free day out with friends and discovered the vast unknown art scene that York has to offer. 
The really great news is, there's still another weekend of 2017's York Open Studios to go! So if you want to join in the fun then you have full backing from me! I've been converted and I hope you will be too! Plus I'd love to see you, so stop by Bar Lane Studio's York 29th & 30th of March for cows, coffee and conversation and enjoy a day out with a difference. 
 
For more information on York Open Studios just click on the logo!  
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