Open Studios. 7 Tips for Success.

It's getting that time of year again, when we must decide whether to take part in summer Open Studios or not. After each one is finished I say "never again!!!" All that preparation, all that anxiety and hard work, not to mention cleaning and tidying. 

And then the quiet and boredom that assails us all after Christmas takes over, and hey! what a brilliant idea to take part in this wonderful sharing, cultural event that is Peterborough Artists Open Studios. 

So off I go again and fill in the form and send it off with my most colourful bestest image. I'm so excited. I'm already planning what paintings to display and it's not until June!
Mary Kemp. Whippet at Sunset
© Mary Kemp
Whippet at Sunset
And as if that wasn't enough this email pinged into my inbox.
"Dear Mary, I'm thinking of taking part in open studios this year. Have you any advice?"
Well. I don't need much encouragement.So this is what I wrote: 7 tips for success.

Hi Sarah,
Lovely to get your email. I love giving a bit of advice.
I've been doing Open Studios on and off for about 12 years now , and I would say YES without a doubt DO IT. 

1.It does take over your home and life for the time it's on though, so I only take part 2 weekends (usually the first 2) out of 3.

I've done it alone and with other artists. I like having someone else with me. This year it will be the mosaic artist who was with me last year.

2.Advertising I think is key. I usually make up an invitation and print it on the computer, then give it to everyone I know, and I have distributed in the neighbourhood. Any one is fair game.  There's also social media and your email list. I feel quite exhausted just typing all that!

3.I usually open 12 to 5 pm. The mornings I've opened have been slow. I serve tea and coffee and biscuits. Nothing fancy.

4.I say that the garden is open because people do like a good nosey round your plants.

5.I'm sure you know you must have someone with you, if only to make the drinks.

6.Usually my latest, best work goes in the most prominent place. I try to curate so it looks as though I meant to do it. I try not to put anything rubbish up.

7.I do mounted prints too, ideally in a size that fit standard frames. And I do LOTS OF CARDS. 3 for £5 seems to work well, because people often want to buy something even if it's not a painting.

This year I'm thinking of taking plastic payment as there are lots of devises on the market for that, otherwise it's cash or cheque.

Hope that gives you a bit of an idea. It's a lovely experience and well worth the effort in my opinion.

Now I look at it and I've written so much I may turn it into a blog!

Best wishes


On reflection there's a couple of other things I think I could have mentioned, like having a visitors book to collect contact details so as to let them see your latest work, or paying attention to the lighting in the rooms.

If you've any ideas please leave a comment in the space below.

Oh, and did I say I'd spruced up my website at


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