Art trails are events where artists open their studios or display their work in public spaces for visitors to explore and enjoy. They are usually organised by local groups or associations, and often take place over a few weekends or a few days. Art trails can be a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work, connect with potential buyers and collectors, network with other artists and art lovers, and gain exposure and recognition.
But how do art trails work for artists? What are the benefits and challenges of participating in an art trail? And how can artists make the most of this experience?
Benefits of art trails
One of the main benefits of art trails is that they allow artists to reach a wider and more diverse audience than they would normally have in a gallery or online. Art trails attract people who are curious about art, who may not visit galleries regularly, or who may not be familiar with the local art scene. They also attract people who are interested in having a nose around your house, but they are still potential buyers.
Art trails can also help artists to sell their work directly to buyers, without paying commissions or fees to intermediaries. This can be a significant source of income for artists, especially if they have a large inventory of work or if they offer affordable prices. Art trails can also help artists to build relationships with buyers and collectors, who may become loyal customers or supporters in the future.
Another benefit of art trails is that they provide artists with feedback and validation from visitors, peers, and experts. Art trails can be a valuable learning experience for artists, as they can receive comments, critiques, compliments, and questions from different types of people. They can also see how their work compares to other artists’ work, and what styles, themes, and techniques are popular or trending. Art trails can also boost artists’ confidence and motivation, as they can see that their work is appreciated and valued by others.
Challenges of art trails
However, art trails also come with some challenges and drawbacks for artists. One of the main challenges is the preparation and organisation involved in participating in an art trail. Artists need to find a suitable venue to display their work, whether it is their own studio or a shared space. They need to arrange the transportation, installation, and security of their work. They need to create promotional materials, such as flyers, posters, brochures, business cards, and labels. They need to register and pay fees to the organisers of the art trail. And they need to be present at their venue during the opening hours of the art trail.
Another challenge of art trails is the competition and pressure that they create for artists. Art trails can be very crowded and noisy, making it hard for artists to stand out and attract attention. They can also be very exhausting and stressful for artists, who have to deal with many visitors, questions, requests, and transactions. Artists may feel anxious or insecure about their work, especially if they compare themselves to other artists or if they receive negative feedback. Artists may also feel disappointed or frustrated if they do not sell enough work or if they do not meet their expectations.
How to make the most of art trails
Despite these challenges, art trails can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for artists if they prepare well and have realistic goals. Here are some tips on how to make the most of art trails:
- Choose a venue that suits your work and your personality. If you have a studio that is spacious, comfortable, and accessible, you may want to open it to visitors. If you prefer more privacy or if your studio is not suitable for visitors, you may want to share a space with other artists or find an alternative location.
- Display your work in a way that showcases your style and skills. You may want to create a theme or a story for your exhibition, or group your work by color, medium, or subject. You may want to highlight your best or newest pieces or offer a variety of sizes and prices. You may also want to include some information about yourself and your work, such as an artist statement, a biography, or a portfolio.
- Promote your work and yourself before and during the art trail. You may want to use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
- Collect contact details of visitors and buyers and follow up with newsletters and offers.
Local art trails and artists open houses that accept members…
Worthing Artists Open Houses
If you are an artist in Worthing, you might be interested in joining the Worthing Artists Open Houses (WAOH) event. This is an annual opportunity for local artists to showcase their work to the public in their own homes or studios. You can also network with other artists, sell your art, and get feedback from visitors.
WAOH is open to artists of all levels and mediums, from painting and photography to sculpture and ceramics. You can register as an individual or as a group and choose which weekends you want to participate. The event runs for four weekends in June and July and attracts thousands of art lovers from Worthing and beyond.
To join WAOH, you need to fill out an online application form and pay a fee that covers marketing and administration costs. You also need to provide some images of your work and a short description of your artistic practice. WAOH is a great way to promote your art and connect with your community. Don’t miss this chance to be part of Worthing’s vibrant and diverse artistic scene. For more information, visit www.worthingartistsopenhouses.com or follow WAOH on social media.
Steyning Art Trail
If you are an artist looking for an opportunity to showcase your work and connect with other local artists, you might be interested in joining the Steyning Art Trail. The Steyning Art Trail is an annual event organised by Steyning Arts, a group of creative people who share a passion for art and culture. The trail features over 50 artists exhibiting their work in 22 venues across Steyning, Bramber and Beeding, including homes, studios, churches and community halls.
Whether you are an established artist or a beginner, you are welcome to apply to join the trail as an exhibitor or a guest artist. You can find out more about the application process and the benefits of being a member of Steyning Arts on their website https://steyningarts.co.uk/. Don’t miss this chance to be part of a vibrant and inspiring art community!
Arundel Gallery Trail
In August every year Arundel Gallery Trail offers the chance to explore this beautiful West Sussex town in a different way. Artists, makers, galleries, shops and homeowners throw open their doors and invite you into their studios, houses and their creative thought processes. The Trail is a largely walkable, open house art event featuring 100+ artists and makers and it’s free to all visitors.
Adur Art Trail
adurArtcollective was formed in July 2010 by a group of artists in Shoreham-by-Sea and surrounding areas in West Sussex, who were keen to ensure the continuation of the annual Adur Art Trail as part of Adur Festival in June.
The membership consists of approximately 100 artists working in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography, sculpture, jewellery, fashion and textile design and stained glass.