Artist Open Houses are nearly here! The annual event is a perfect opportunity to see some of the wonderful artwork produced in the city and acts at the best place for the snoopers and artistically-inclined residents of Brighton to see inside other houses and meet new people. There are over 1000 artists in over 200 homes across Brighton and the neighbouring areas. It is an “inclusive open-to-all event, welcoming participation from all areas of the community, including community groups, marginalized, school and college student artists.” Additionally they have said this year “a key theme in this year’s festival is homelessness, recovery and outsider art. Several homeless and recovery centres across the city will be taking part – some for the first time – and exhibiting the work of many talented artists, writers, photographers and makers who access support.” All entry to the houses are free and it will run from the 5th-28th May – mostly over the weekends between 11.00-17.00. Our in-house journalist Georgia looked through, read and evaluated all 200+ open house listings and has compiled this list of the most intriguing, community-based and interesting homes featured in the event. This list in no way suggests that the other houses on the trails are not worth going to, it is just the listings we found most compelling – if you can try and see all of them!
First up we have the Central trail. This loop of houses takes you through the North Laine, South lanes, the Seafront. The Artist Open Houses we have picked here span from salvaged sea litter, photography, painting and more!
Beyond The Level
This trail has been on the Artists Open House circuit since the early 90’s. This year in its 24th iteration, the houses present the work of those struggling with mental health problems, creative studios, painters, jewellers and more.
This was the first trail set up in 1981 by Ned Hoskins. This year, according to the Artist Open Houses website, there are “ceramicists, photographers, illustrators, print makers, painters, sculptors, textile artists and makers representing all strands of creative practice.”
Hove seems to be the hub of the award-winning houses. Over the last few years there have been winners of Best Open House and many more shortlisted. The trail is open on both bank holidays of May and will show off the gardens, studios and workshops of the artists featured. The Hove trail is definitely one to make a day of, particularly if you don’t frequent the area often.
There are four brand-new houses on this trail this year! Stretching all the way from Sackville Road to Boundary Road, you will be able to find some of the best fine art, design and craft work in Brighton & Hove.
There is a very diverse range of hosts in Brunswick. From studios to churches to hotels, Brunswick Town trail offers those participating the chance to truly explore the boundary between Brighton & Hove. Brunswick Conservation Area is home to a lot of the original Victorian structures that Hove is famous for and offers a great area to explore if you’re not from Brighton & Hove – even better if it’s sunny as you can sit in one of the many square parks in between open houses!
Seven Dials is a real community-hub in a slightly off-the-beaten track area of Brighton. There are countless coffee shops, independent restaurants and shops to browse in between each open house. There are many local artists exhibiting in this area so it’s not one to miss!
The smallest trail in the group Dyke Road open houses could easily be done in a singular afternoon. The venues are all very close to each other and there is a wide range of media used so it’s definitely worth checking out. Tivoli Crescent has a new ‘Wild Cherry Cafe’ at the end of it too so you can quench your thirst and eat some great food at the end of the day!
Oh Hanover…the inspiration and home of the infamous ‘Hanover Community Notice Board’ on Facebook, this area is quintessentially Brighton with a mix of students and London commuters thrown in too. The streets are busting at the seams with independent businesses, organic greengrocers, butchers, craft-ale pubs and (slightly boujee) shops. The hills are the only battle in the area but are well worth climbing for the wonderful Open Houses and local buzz.
So this was the hardest to wittle down. Kemptown has the creme-de-la-creme of Open Houses. It covers a large area of Brighton from St James Street all the way to the Marina but almost every house on the list caught our eye. It’s a wonderful and semi-undiscovered area which backs on to Hanover, Queens Park and beyond. There’s printworks, galleries and for those with kids, if you head to The Little Giraffe House they can wile away their time by decorating their own miniature giraffe.