Our First Online Open Studios Event

A big thanks to everyone who attended our recent Open Studios event on 11th July.

It was a beautiful sunny day, which would usually attract large crowds to the Arches, were this a regular Open Studios event. However, due to the continuing threat of Covid-19, this year’s programme was moved online. The result was a unique and varied flurry of activities and events that happened across the city throughout the day – bringing Southampton’s communities together at a time when staying connected is so important.

The day started with a workshop by Dave Hubble, in which participants learnt how to make and play an instrument made from found materials. Later, the group performed together as the Cacophony Junk Orchestra. Stewart Beckett spent the day in his studio – his live portrait painting demonstration offered audiences an insight into his practice and processes. On Instagram, the Arches artists took it in turn to interview each other and over the course of the day, a series of Instagram Stories gave each artist a chance to exhibit a recent body of work and talk about their practice. Lizzie Jones also staged a playful and collaborative performance, The Yellow Teapot Garden Window Puppet Show, which took place in the artist’s garden and out on the streets of Southampton.

You can still access all of this content and more by visiting the Open Studios event page here .

The day concluded with an open discussion – Artists working together in the City of Culture Bid -which was led by Asten Holmes-Elliott. The discussion prompted a number of questions, suggestions, ideas and invaluable insights into how artists can shape Southampton’s City of Culture Bid.

You can watch this discussion on our YouTube account here.

A huge thanks to our friends at Butcher’s Hook Alehouse for supporting this year’s Open Studios by stocking a limited edition run of prints by our Arches artists, which will be available again next week to buy on their website here.

Hopefully next year we’ll be able to welcome you back to the Arches in person, but if not we won’t be too disappointed. Moving the event online came with it’s own challenges, but the creativity and generosity of the Arches artists and our local community prevailed – not even a world wide pandemic could get in the way.