Open Studio Weekend
Spring Open Studio May 23 & 24, 2020
Open Studio Weekend is a statewide event held during Memorial Day weekend, during which Vermont craftspeople and artists open their studios to the public for the sale and demonstration of their work. It has become one of Vermont’s premier arts events, through years of hard work on the part of individual artists and craftspeople. Our three steadfast sponsors, the Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and Cabot Creamery have provided grants that have leveraged a huge return both to the state in the form of tourism dollars and to the art and craft community.
The Vermont Crafts Council produces this unique event for two equally important purposes; to educate the public about the skill and processes that go into the production of craft and art work and to generate sales during and following the event. We believe that through education, visitors become loyal customers and supporters of craft traditions. And they have. Fully forty-five percent of those visiting studios in 2006, knew about the event from years past.
Visitors find their way to your studio by using the Vermont Studio Tour Map which locates you and contains directions to your studio. The map is widely available throughout the state in galleries, local lodging businesses and tourist information centers, and is also on our web site.
Using the map, when visitors get close to the studio, yellow event location signs lead them directly to you. The map, posters, signs and Open Studio training materials are included in your participation fee.
Special reasons to participate in Open Studio
If you have recently moved to a new location, refurbished your studio, or opened for the first time, use Open Studio to invite your neighbors, clients and friends to see your new environment.
Use Open Studio as a special event to offer better prices on certain sections of your inventory.
If you normally do not invite others into your studio, use this event as your once a year open house.
Galleries, Craft Schools, Other Sites. Dangerous or Inaccessible Studios.
Open Studio celebrates the craft and art network in Vermont by identifying physical sites where visitors can see work being produced or find some sort of art or craft educational presentation. The core group of those participating will be single studios, but there are other ways that artists and craft sites can participate as long as they keep authentic work and educational interaction at the center of the event.
Artists who don’t want to open their own studios to the public can show at another studio or site.
Galleries and craft schools can participate by hosting artists and demonstrations.
Those who feel that their production process is dangerous or not appropriate for the public can meet the educational mission of the event by creating a visual display of processes. For example, furniture makers have had pieces of work in different stages of construction and stained glass makers have had a display of work from the cartoon to the finished window.
What you can expect if you participate in Open Studio Weekend?
Depending on your work and location, you can expect to see from 30 to 150 visitors over the course of the weekend. Sales vary widely according to the type of work you do. The event offers you an opportunity to make connections that will be stronger that may possibly result in more lucrative relationships than will a typical craft fair or gallery show. Many artists and craftspeople like this event because it is different than other sales venues. Overall visits in 2008 numbered above 20,000 with 40% coming from out of state. Sales and orders from the weekend topped $290,000. Two hundred and sixty-four sites participated.
Visitors Seek Authenticity and Clusters of Studios!
Visitors are faced with choices about how they will spend their limited amount of time during Open Studio Weekend. Some focus on map regions with clusters of sites, or on sites only open during this event, or sites that seem to offer more authenticity or more of a personal, small scale, experience.
We strongly suggest that galleries or other sites that are normally open should plan a special event or exhibition to coincide with Open Studio Weekend. Every site must provide an educational element.
Grouping many artists at one local site may look like the most convenient and least expensive option for you and your colleagues. However, it may not be competitive. Even though you may gather a group at the town hall, you will only have one spot on the map and you will offer a very different experience from an actual studio visit
Visitors have given mixed feedback about these hub sites. Some like the convenience of seeing many people at one place but others are disappointed about the marketplace atmosphere.
Open Studio Weekend is not a craft fair.
Most visitors expect to be able to talk with you about your creative process and to see how you work. Some do treat the event as a sales event and others purely as entertainment. If you have concerns about location or the appropriateness of your work, please call.
What we expect. (also see policies) Call us with questions about any of these expectations.
1. Participants must show an educational component as a part of their Open Studio Weekend event and must be present in their studio for the hours of the event. Galleries and other sites with normally different hours, must make an effort to be open during the hours of the event. What makes the Open Studio Weekend different from other craft sales events is that visitors can come behind the scenes to look at your creative space and process. This is an opportunity for you to show and tell the public why they should spend more for a hand-made object. It is an investment in the present and future sales of your work. Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed report that they are more likely to buy craft after seeing a working studio and their favorite part about Open Studio is being able to speak to artists about their work and studios.
2. Public sites should be accessible to those with disabilities. Private studios should be ready to accommodate visitors with disabilities. We expect you to be informed about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it might apply to you (in general, if you are not normally open to the public you are legally not required to do anything different than you are doing now). You can find definitions of public and private, and an online course, free, about businesses and accessibility at their website, http://www.ada.gov. We will cover this topic in the Open Studio Seminar in April.
3. Studios - We expect you to be producing and exhibiting your own, original work.
Galleries - We expect you to be selling and exhibiting primarily, Vermont artists or craftspeople at least for Open Studio Weekend.
4. All sites must be safe. Sharp or dangerous machines or tools should be cordoned off from the public. The space should be clean and easy to navigate even when crowded.
5. We expect you to help us promote this event by planning your own promotion or joining with a regional group. The Vermont Crafts Council handles limited, general promotion for this event. We try to keep the fees down to allow you to invest in promotion that will benefit you the most. We expect you to share the job by promoting the event locally and to your clients. In exchange, we offer training in how to promote your event in low-cost, highly effective ways. We encourage you to join with others in your area to co-promote. Here is a partial list of what the Vermont Crafts Council will do to promote Open Studio.
Promotion - We list the event in Yankee Magazine. We post our press release online. We list you on the Vermont Crafts Council Web Site with Open Studio maps and directions to studios. We produce and distribute 35,000 copies of the Vermont Studio Tour Map, about 10,000 through the tourist information centers, and the rest by mail and through participants and galleries. We produce and distribute posters and yellow signs to participants.
Advertising - Print: Vermont Life, Seven Days, Radio: WNCS “The Point”, Boston radio “The River”, Vermont Public Radio
Packaging Open Studio - Join with a local lodging establishment to create a “package” consisting of your work and their lodging. These “packages” are then sold by travel agents to people coming to Vermont for Open Studio Weekend.
Exhibits at State Information Centers - Take this opportunity to become familiar with this often overlooked but highly effective way to connect with visitors. Center staff are eager to add you to their list of interesting sites in their local area and this connection could benefit you after Open Studio. Best of all, it is free! Check the wiki for more info (linked from our homepage).
Additional Optional Advertising on the Map
Check the application for sizes and fees for ads that will be placed in the general vicinity of your county section in the Vermont Studio Tour Map .
A Summary of Policies
Hours: Participating sites are required to be open from 10 - 5 both Saturday and Sunday.
Presence: Artists or craftspeople are required to be present on site during Open Studio Weekend.
Payment: Any outstanding fees owed to the Vermont Crafts Council must be paid, before registration. Membership must be current to pay at the member rate for this event.
Refunds will be issued, minus a 25% processing fee, for those withdrawing from the event by January 5, 2012.
Withdrawals, Closings: It is very important to honor your agreement to be open to the public during this weekend. We advertise that studios are open and when they aren’t, it damages the credibility of the whole event.
If we hear of studios that are not open, these studios will not be allowed to register for the event in the future. This consequence can be avoided in the event of emergency closings, by notifying the office and providing signs to that effect during the weekend
Options and Fees:
Any participating site, gallery, hub site, or studio: *VCC Member $95 Non-Member $140
Participant at someone else's studio or site: *VCC Member $42, Non-Member $52
Hub Site exhibitors: Will not be listed unless they complete and return an application and fee.
Sites participating in Open Studio will be limited to galleries, studios, and craft or art education facilities.
*VCC Membership can be paid at the same time as Open Studio registration and is $60.
Everyone who pays a fee will be listed in 35,000 copies of the Vermont Studio Tour Map, on our web site with maps and directions, and everyone is invited to a free Open Studio Weekend training session TBD.
We welcome your participation and hope that you will help us spread the word to others in your area that might want to join us. Application materials due December 17. Those registering by December 1 will be entered into a drawing for a free ad in the Tour Map.
Martha Fitch, Executive Director
Vermont Crafts Council
PO Box 938
Montpelier, VT 05601
Ph: (802) 223-3380
Fx: (802) 223-3380
Vermont Crafts Council Mission:
The Vermont Crafts Council will create and enhance an appreciation among the public of the quality, beauty, and history of Vermont crafts and artwork in order to encourage and sustain the creation of original craft and art work in Vermont.