Well SAW Open Studios is over for another year and I for one felt privileged to be able to see so many beautiful works of creativity. We are truly lucky in Somerset to have a county so abundant with creative individuals who are willing to open their studios and houses to us all. Thank you all !
I tried to see as many artists as possible over the two weeks but with running the print studio I didn’t get a chance to see as many as I would have liked. For those I did visit, I was very glad that I did, and was given the opportunity to see the amazing creativity that was on display.
What I also took form it was how friendly people where and how much time they gave to me and other visitors, in talking about their work and explaining their artistic processes which were so informative and inspiring. What else stuck me was the number of people who had been doing the Summerset artweeks year in and year out.
It was interesting that a number of artists I spoke to who talked about the earlier years when visitors would come form all over the UK and even abroad to see the exhibits of local artists. It appears that in more recent years the visitors have been more local and it felt as if the draw of the art weeks wasn’t pulling people in form further afield.
I’m sure there are a number of reasons for this which can be put down to the expense of traveling, people having to take time off work or use their holiday entitlement, and the economy amongst other things. But… I was wondering how much advertising is done outside of the county to attract people from other parts of the country and even abroad.
Not being part of the SAW team I have no idea if they engaged the tourist board in helping promote the event but surely that would help generate interest from those living in other parts of the country, and abroad. It may even be an idea to get B&Bs, independent pubs, hotels, Airbnb coach services in Summerset to offer discounts to help attract more people to the event.
At the end of the day more visitors will result in a more successful Summerset Arts Weeks event for all concerned. Maybe we all need to enter into a discussion on how to better promote the event to a greater audience and pool our ideas and try and raise the profile of the event to an even greater level. We may even be able to get back to the earlier days and have people coming form abroad ! In saying all this I have no idea of the total number of visitors and whether the event was up or down on last year, but by all of us putting our heads together to engage a greater audience can’t be a bad thing.
As a closing note I would like to thank the SAW team for all their work in creating the event as well as all the artists who took the time to exhibit their work and make it a most enjoyable couple of weeks.
Keep on creating……