Information for Exhibitors & Venues


The timeline may be subject to slight changes as we get nearer the dates but does give you an idea of timescale:

  • Call for artists, organising venues: from now onwards
  • Registration: 1st January to 11th February
  • Children and young people’s images deadline 6th February
  • All booklet info, adverts, young people’s competition final deadline 28th February
  • Amendments to text: up to 11th March
  • Final proofreading and printing: 15th March
  • Delivery to distributors 1st to 8th April
  • Distribution: 8th April onwards. Booklets in place by Easter Saturday 20th April
  • Launch Event Saturday 11th May

Open For Art Launch

The launch of Open for Art will take place at Sculpture by the Lakes.
Saturday 11th May 10.00am – 5.00pm

We are hoping to have lots of visitors that day and the entry price is reduced to £7.50 (normally £10.00) to encourage people to attend.
Artists named in the brochure have free entry.
We would like to make this an interesting and interactive event with lots of OFA artists attending. Artists named in the brochure are welcome to:-

  • Paint en plein air around the park
  • Exhibit your work (please bring your own table/chair/gazebo)
  • Demonstrate your techniques. You are welcome to do this anywhere in the park but there will be a limited number of spaces in The Retreat. If you would like a space in The Retreat, please let us know what you propose so we can select the artists
  • Wander around aimlessly and enjoy the day

Please email office @ if you would like to:-

  • Visit Sculpture by the Lakes on 11th May FOC (artists named in the brochure only) so we can compile a guest list
  • Exhibit your work (artist to bring own table/gazebo etc.)
  • Demonstrate your techniques in The Retreat – we have a limited number of spaces for this so please let us know what you propose so we can select the artists
  • Would like to paint En Plein Air around the park
  • Any other proposals

Please let us know so we can plan the day and provide the relevant details and promote you in our social media campaign.

En Plein Air Exhibition

As part of the OFA venue programme Bennetts Water Gardens will be hosting a mixed exhibition of works influenced by their lovely setting.  You as participants are invited to attend en plein air painting days scheduled on 3rd and 17th April to capture the magic of these surroundings which once finished, dried and framed you can then submit for hanging during the show.  Alternatively you could exhibit complementary types of work such as botanic or water studies to reflect this environment.  This is a great opportunity to show in another venue and also to signpost where your main venue is as well as meeting and working alongside other artists. There will be no charge for submission of works – however, depending on uptake, we cannot guarantee everything will get hung.

Liz Bowers will be organising the painting days, which will be from 10-4pm and cost £5 (half normal entry price) and submission and hanging of the work so please register with her if you wish to take part: liz @


Domvs are again sponsoring the event and will be putting up a 100 road side banners throughout the area.
Sculpture by the Lakes and Artwey are also sponsors.

Our grant request was successful with Weymouth Bid and we pleased to announce West Dorst District Council are also a sponsor of Open for Art. 

Most recently we have valued the support given by The Duchy of Cornwall.

Promotion & Brochures

We would ask each venue to help to distribute our 20,000 OFA brochures from Easter onwards. Distributing in your locality is your first priority leaving them, with the owner’s permission, around local libraries, cafes, restaurants, shops, hairdressers, waiting rooms and anywhere else you can think of.

Getting everything out there is important.

For the twenty brochures you have left and never bothered to hand out, that could have been twenty more people in your venue.

In addition to the first distribution cycle it is important to keep all those places topped up. In addition to your locality, we would encourage you to take them with you when you go out anywhere – not just Dorset, but Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and further still. These brochures do not just publicise our two week event but continue to advertise you and your work whilst they remain in situ for people to pick up and read.

Social Media

This is a fantastic offer to promote you and your work, whether you use social media or not. Social media is the most effective ways of connecting with your audience and collectors on a level you otherwise would’ve never known outside of the web. It allows collectors and fans to connect more intimately with the artist and allows for a stronger relationship with the art itself.

We would encourage all our artists to use these media to promote themselves as well as Open for Art. In order to help those who do not use these platforms or only have a basic knowledge of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram we will be organising workshops, in combination with The Arts Development Company.

We have 3 volunteers promoting and managing 3 different social media platforms for Open for Art:

Facebook: open for art Dorset @openforart19-Lyn Kirkland
Please do ‘like and follow’ our Facebook page Open for Art Dorset @openforart19 and share with all your friends on Facebook. The page is public and so anyone can post on it, but we will be approving posts to ensure they support the overall campaign. If you already post to other Groups which are Art or travel/holiday related, please do link to our page to encourage visitors and artists to follow us.

Instagram: openforart_dorset – Antje Rook
Instagram is an easy and effective platform to promote art and art events, because it is a visual platform which operates with photos. This means you don’t need to write long texts or think of the right words, people on Instagram want to see pictures!! I encourage everyone to join Instagram and follow our account: openforart_dorset
When you post, please use our main hashtags #openforartdorset #openforart19 #artwey. If you do this, it will enable me to promote you and your work. If you are a little nervous about using a new social media platform, here is a link to help you get started.

Twitter: is @openforart19 #openforartdorset – Stephen Yates
Search and follow us on twitter.
Here are ten really useful tips to help you.

Media campaign for the Launch
There will be a social media campaign run by a professional to promote the launch of Open for Art at Sculpture by the Lakes and the upcoming OFA19 event courtesy of our sponsor Sculpture by the Lakes.

Social Media Training

We have processed our social media forms to see what kind of social media training was requested and found only a small number wanted help and these ranged greatly in type and experience, so in consultation with the Arts Development Company it was decided it was too difficult and time consuming for them to run a tailor-made course for OPEN FOR ART participants.

The videos listed below are the recommendations made by the Arts Development Company to get you started. The benefit of doing it this way is that you can pause the video to match their/your pace. Once you have set up and gained some experience both the Arts Development Company and the Dorset Growth Hub offer excellent and free social media courses in addition to other courses offering help specifically for artists and their practice and the general setting up of businesses etc.

How to set up a Facebook artist page

How to setup a Twitter account and start Tweeting

How to Use Instagram, Part 1: How to Set Up Your Instagram Account

How to curate your art on Instagram to gain more followers

Signs and Banners

Over 100 street signs will be erected by DOMVS who will be putting them up along major routes in and around the outskirts of our region. We plan to print more for various localities. There will also be 6 direction signs and venue banner per venue.

Make sure that you put your direction signage out in the places that, if you were arriving for the first time, you could follow easily (don’t forget to add a large arrow and your venue number). Although with these days of satnavs it’s not so much of a problem.

Local councils in Dorset react to these signs in different ways: some are absolutely against them while others take the blind-eye approach. If you are lucky enough to be able to put them up temporarily without the local council objecting, please ensure you don’t abuse this favour.

Don’t put them up too early (the afternoon before should be the earliest) and ensure they are taken down on the last day, or the very next morning at the latest.

Make sure that from every direction your venue can be easily seen. Hang your long banner in a prominent position outside your venue.

We will also have some half metre square correx signs and some larger vinyl signs which we would ask you to distribute within your location.

The better the signage, the more people you will get!

Your Exhibition Space

It’s fun, enjoy it! – You get to meet all sorts of people running a studio and often people contact you from brochures long after the event so bear this in mind when you are talking to the visitors. Make them as welcome as possible and remember, they have chosen to see your art in this way because they are interested in knowing how you work. For some this is an important part of their day out.

Your ArtWork

Try, if possible, to frame it in a sympathetic way. If you are with other artists, discuss this and plan together. If you show alone try to frame work in a similar way. This is difficult to give advice as each venue is so different but if you try to keep it as professional as possible you can’t really do any better.

Float and Sales

If you sell any small price items, such as cards or anything under £50, you may well want to hold a float. We usually find fifty pounds in change & notes works well. Don’t leave large sums in your studio if away from the house and accessible. For the payment of larger sums, if you have internet access the easiest way is to use PayPal and if the purchaser also has a PayPal account they can just email the sum direct from their account to yours. There are fees involved so you might want to take these into account when pricing. You can take a cheque and offer to deliver to the visitor’s home after the event, which is another way. Otherwise make sure you know where the nearest cash machine is. However, once the customer has left, they can change their minds and not come back.

Competition and Feedback

OFA will hold a competition for visitors to collect six signatures from at least two different areas to enter into a draw. This will be on the back page of the brochure. Do encourage visitors to enter this competition which helps drive them round several other venues. You will be asked to sign and put in the venue number on the back of the brochure and may have the completed form left with you, which you will need to give to an organiser or post to the address on the form.


During conversation, it is helpful to ascertain how they found out about Open for Art – and have a head count on how many people have been through your venue. It is useful to have a visitors’ book where you can collect positive feedback from your visitors which you can use for future publicity.

We will have a feedback form for you to complete during or after OFA. We will need this information about numbers of visitors and where they are from in order to justify the grants we have been given by West Dorset District Council and Weymouth Bid. It will also help us in our future planning.


It’s really important that you are present when you say you are open in the brochure. The flow of people can be very inconsistent so don’t be tempted to for instance close early. You can have no one until the last hour and then lots turn up.
If you have an emergency, then try to find someone else to take over the stewarding or, if not possible, alert studios near you so that any visitors are warned in advance.

Insurance Advice

If you are exhibiting in your own home, it’s wise to notify your household insurers. If you don’t have public liability insurance then you can contact a specialist company dealing with the arts, such as Hencilla Canworth or another from the internet. Some artists decide to join, the artists’ network and, should you join for the year, your annual sub covers basic public liability insurance. Please read everything carefully and should you want liability against theft you will need to contact the company direct and sort out the right fit for your needs.


You may wish to use this disclaimer or your own version to display in your venue:

The organisers of Open For Art 2019 and the Artists at Venue ***, cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage or injury sustained by members of the public, when visiting this venue, howsoever caused.

All and any damages to artwork by visitors must be paid for, howsoever caused.
Children must be kept under adult supervision at all times and not be allowed to wander around on their own.

Dogs must be kept on leads at all times.

Contact the team

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