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Artists Open Houses – Get peeking!

Artists Open Houses is back – a chance to see and buy some great pieces from Sussex artists and to get a good nose into some places you wouldn’t normally to boot. I’ve already perused some seascapes in what is usually someone’s front room while their banished dog tried to break the door down.


Quirky art at The Claremont

It’s happening across Brighton, Hove, Rottingdean, Ditchling, Newhaven and Ouse every weekend until the end of the month and if you’ve never paid attention before you really should. Pick up a programme, check out the website, or just wander into any of the venues with a sign outside. Some of them also sell booze and cake. Enough said.

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One of the ones I usually include in my wanderings is The Claremont hotel in Hove (Venue 2) because you get a lot of art in one place, much of it affordable. They did an early preview this year with G&Ts and canapés, bless them, so I went along.

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The lovely Helen Chesshire from Brighton Gin

The boutique hotel packs in heaps of art work from £2+K sculptures to £3 greetings cards


…and lots of affordable prints from around £15 in between.


I bought a linocut print from artist Sue Collins here the other year which now graces my stairway and there are plenty of prints from her this year too along with some fun quirky stuff. You can even poke around the unoccupied bedrooms where there are more works on display.


I find the open houses around Hove’s Brunswick Square are also a good bet and the grass in the middle means if you have kids with you they can let off steam. I usually pop into 21A (Venue 9) which has some quite fun, graphic stuff (lots good for kids’ bedrooms) and you can have tea and cake in the courtyard garden.

If you liked the sound of Vogue fashion/war photographer Lee Miller from my review of the London exhibition of her work but didn’t get to see it, drop into The Friends’ Meeting House (Venue 5) in Ship Street, Brighton where a collection of her archive prints are on sale.


Pretty Ditchling, at the foot of the South Downs has an illustrious arty heritage so always packs a lot of open houses into a small area. You could combine a visit with Sunday lunch in one of the pubs, or sandwiches and cake in the cafés (the family-friendly Green Welly in the newest) and head up on the Beacon to work it off if the weather’s good. Lots of people cycle round there, some with children (The nearest station Hassocks is about 15 mins away).


This year there are extra The Village of Type events to tie in with Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft’s exhibition to mark the centenary of Ditchling resident Edward Johnston’s iconic lettering for the London Underground. Most notable are four huge letters painted freehand by graffiti artist Gary Stranger at certain locations around the village.


During the sunshine over the bank holiday I dusted off my bike for the first time this year to cycle there and have a look (don’t be too impressed, I didn’t cycle up the Beacon!) and they’re really striking.


Have you worked out what they spell yet?


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Sussex