Free Time

Peterborough Artists’ Open Studios  

Peterborough Artists Open Studios (PAOS) all began in 2000 with just two artists opening their studios to the public; now, over 70 local artists in 27 locations across the city and surrounding villages open their doors to art lovers of every kind  

For three weekends in June and July, artists across Peterborough and surrounding area will once again be throwing their studios open to the public, with venues popping up everywhere from Eaton Socon to Market Deeping. This is not just a series of exhibitions however. It presents an opportunity to enjoy works by a host of local artists – some perhaps familiar, as well as many who may be new to you – but this is also about meeting the artists themselves, having the chance to chat with them about their art and their inspirations and perhaps even watch them at work.

Even if you thought art wasn’t for you, give this a try. There’s a warm welcome on offer at the artists’ venues, many of which are also the artists’ own homes – and in some you may even be able to look around the gardens, or enjoy refreshments such as tea and cake (the brochure has symbols next to the artist information to indicate which venues offer these). You may also be invited into the artist’s studio to peek behind the scenes at work in progress, watch demonstrations or have the chance to quiz the artists about their methods. The essence of the Open Studios experience is individuality; each place you visit will be as unique as the artists themselves. In some cases, artists have grouped together to share venues which also makes it easier for visitors to take in a range of artists in just a few stops.

This year, shared venues include St Mark’s Church on Lincoln Road, Chauffeur’s Cottage – home of arts development organisation Metal – and City College Peterborough, where, in addition to works by practicing professionals, you can see a wide range of arts and crafts by students of the college. In all cases work will be for sale, so you can snap up that unique piece if the mood takes you – there is never any obligation or pressure to buy. It’s all about looking, sharing, meeting, discovering – and even if you don’t buy there and then, you can always come away with contact details of your favourite artists for potential future use.

The most satisfying aspect is discovering something amazing right on your doorstep. The PAOS brochure provides a map of the venues, and gives details of all the artists taking part. You may choose to visit many venues or just a few – it’s up to you – but there’s easily enough variety here for you to make a day or a weekend out of it. Several, in fact. Because it takes place over three weekends, you have more bites of the cherry – more opportunities to explore further afield, re-visit your favourites or find something new. And it’s all free. A launch will also be taking place in Cathedral Square on Saturday 6 June where some of the artists will be previewing their work and giving more information about the main event. Pick up a brochure on the day or visit the website to find out more.

PETERBOROUGH ARTISTS OPEN STUDIOS (PAOS) 27-28 June, 4-5 and 11-12 July FREE entry to all venues

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