September Arts Festival
We support a number of creative opportunities throughout the year with our main event being the September Arts Festival taking place from 1st September to 29th September 2024, with a launch taking place on Saturday 31st August.
Involvement with NROS is designed to develop stronger links between artists in and around Northamptonshire and Rutland. Our main focus is the Open Studios Arts Festival, but we also provide access to networking events and advice/guidance to support your practice. You must take out a membership to be involved with our events (except for the Spring Open).
A real showcase and celebration of the art and artists that we have across both counties. We are open to all ages, abilities and all art forms. From the passionate ‘Sunday painter’ to the serious professional artist we welcome you all to this vibrant and enthusiastic community.
The registration for the 2024 event is Open.
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES is 30 APRIL 2024.
OR read the tabs below to find out more information.
What is Northants and Rutland Open Studios?
During the month of September artists invite the public into their studios to witness at first hand the inspiration and motivation which drives you to create. Visitors can step inside a pottery studio, discuss carving with a stonemason or watch demonstrations of painting, printmaking and traditional crafts. They can also visit the many exhibitions that ‘pop-up’ across the area hosted by artists as well as visit the Central Exhibition at Lamport Hall.
NROS is the large visual arts festival in the counties and we are quickly growing a fun and friendly community which wants to promote arts and culture in positive way to all those that want to experience it.
The September Festival is a chance to show off your skills, get feedback about a body of work and join a community of people that love to create and make artwork just like you!
Northants & Rutland Open Studios aims to make art accessible for everyone and so try to open up as many opportunities as we can over the course of September to really come together to celebrate our passion.
Studios and pop-up exhibitions will open across both Northamptonshire and Rutland as well as some areas across the borders (Leicestershire).
Northants & Rutland Open Studios is open to all. We pride ourselves in being really inclusive, welcoming any artist, from the hobbyist to the professional, practising in the visual arts.
We encourage and support those who have never exhibited their work before and push and direct the seasoned professional into new directions. Providing links to galleries and giving advice on how and where to present work etc.
NROS is a visual arts group, giving members of the public access to art throughout the county. We are very inclusive and feel that art should be celebrated and enjoyed by everyone, therefore, our annual festival not only gives artists the opportunity to engage directly with art lovers, collectors and enthusiasts of their work, but also allows them to demonstrate their practice, discuss new work and sell or accept commissions. There is no selection process to be part of NROS allowing us to accept artists of varying abilities, ages and disciplines.
NROS provides opportunities throughout the year for artists and makers in Northamptonshire, Rutland and its borders including the organisation of an annual Visual Arts Festival traditionally held in September each year.
Become part of a supportive community that celebrates the achievements of all its members.
The benefits of taking part in the NROS festival
- Inclusion in the printed brochure – 20,000 copies circulated
- Listing on NROS website – XXXXXX unique visitors
- Low-cost option to showcase your work
- Largest annual art event in the region
- Event marketing carried out centrally by the NROS co-ordinator
- Support and advice from the lead organiser and the community of artists
- Creates opportunities for some artists to exhibit in large venues, giving them the confidence to grow and develop their professional practise.
- Choose your opening dates and times
- Average artist sales of £1,000+
- One of the only Open Studios events to hold a central exhibition, giving each member the chance to have work in a quality, reputable venue.
- Get direct feedback on your work
Each artist opening up a studio should commit to opening up at least one weekend 10am - 4pm throughout September.
If you want to open up during the week, then that's fine, but you must commit to one full weekend during September.
This years event will be split into two;
Rutland and the North of Northants will open up in the first half of September
Central and the South of Northants will open in the second half
To see where you fall, please download the map. Click here
What to expect
It is hard to predict how many visitors you will have and if it is your first year, you should not be disappointed if it is only a few.
Visitors will come to talk to you, view your work and they may even buy something. They will be just as nervous as you are, but it is enjoyable and once the first visitor has been and gone. You will get a feel for what you can improve for the next one.
Refreshments are always a good way to make them feel welcome but this is obviously down to individuals and what they feel comfortable doing.
What do you need to do?
Promote widely to invite people to your studio. We will promote the event as a whole but can’t do that for individuals.
You need to ensure your studio space is safe and that it is suitable for visitors. It doesn’t have to be fully accessible to everyone but you will need to make sure you feel comfortable to allow people inside to look. There will be a list of how accessible your studio is when you sign up so please be honest so those less able understand before visiting.
Set up your work in your studio so that visitors can see what you do, have sketchbooks, tools, works in progress. Have smaller items to sell that are affordable and hooks them in, which may get them back for other work later or even a commission.
Insurance for your work in case of any accidental damage.
Public Liability Insurance – https://www.a-n.co.uk/about/insurance/
What do visitors expect?
A warm friendly welcome and a nice experience.
A conversation about you and your work.
No pressure to buy works
They will be interested in the materials you use and where you get your inspiration from. You resources and the studio space itself. Visitors tend to be nosey so only invite them into the spaces you want them to go into.
Refreshments – If these are offered, you may be expected to allow them to use the ‘facilities’
Have a go sessions – if you allow visitors to ‘have a go’ then you may need to provide a space for them to wash their hands.
Card payments – if you are selling work then visitors will probably assume you take card – if not then make this clear on your profile page on the website when asked at sign up.
2024 Venues sourced by NROS will be sent out via the newsletter, but do keep an eye out for other venues that might be suitable.
There will be a £5 promotion fee per artist for the brochure this year to pay for the advertising space for exhibitions.
What do you need to do?
Work as a team but appoint a group leader – share responsibility and the costs between the group.
Stick to the install and take down dates the venue has agreed already.
Promotion of the event – work with the venue as much as you can to promote the exhibition to get the most out of the experience.
Artist Statement – venues will want some information about you and your work so be prepared.
Labels – Some venues will want you to produce all the labels for the exhibition.
Some venues will want you to install or at least help install the exhibition together.
Only choose this option if you can commit to meeting deadlines and help your group make the exhibition successful. Don’t put all the work on one individual.
What will the venue need?
Co-operation. If you are going to work with a venue then you need to work with them to put on the exhibition.
To be able to meet deadlines. Give them the information they need before they need it.
Your BEST work.
Stewarding – Some venues will want you to be in the space, whilst others don’t. Share the responsibility.
Demos or workshops – Some of the venues will ask you if you want to be in the space to demo what you do. They may offer you some space to run a workshop if this is something you would be happy doing.
Preview or meet the artist event – The venue may organise a special opening for you. Invite all your friends and promote it so you don’t waste a great opportunity to meet and greet. The group as a whole should be involved in this and share the respective costs, even if they cannot attend. The event is for everyone.
How to approach a venue not on the NROS list
Visit the space and ask who the best person is to contact if they aren’t available and get contact details.
Tell them what NROS is – point them to the website
Attach some of your images and ask them if they have space.
Tell them the benefits of them taking part
More visitors or footfall
Promotion (brochure and website from us, posters, social media etc from you)
Don’t be too despondent if they say no, try again somewhere else.
Think of good places – pubs, cafes, library, village halls, local shop windows etc.
Launch Event - Saturday 31st August - times tbc
Exhibition Dates - Every Wednesday - Sunday 10am-4pm, 1st Sept - 29th Sept
NROS Awards Night tbc
Artwork Collection date - 29th September (AFTER the Closing Event) and Monday 30th September (non negotiable) £5 per late collection.
All packages require an Annual NROS Membership of £25
Click here to read about a NROS Membership
Entry 10th February - 30th April 2024
Brochure Entry £50*
Central Exhibition £45 - currently 2 pieces of work
Brochure and Central Exhibition £90*
*Plus £5 (per artist) promotional fee for each exhibition they are involved in for the brochure. Artist must be taking part in the brochure or the whole event in order to be allocated a venue.
If you are a school, college or other educational organisation then please get in touch
Publicity campaign including
Press and media releases
Radio coverage (with possible radio interviews with artists)
Social Media posting, sharing and advertising
Local Magazine advertising
Blogs and media partnerships
A page on the website where visitors can view your work, videos, contact details and directly link to your social media - it’s like your own personal website.
Over 160,000 hits between from 2020-2023 and 457,000 interactions with the website.
The website has proven useful for further contact being made by those who would like to commission a piece of work or find out more about the artists’ practice.
A supportive Facebook page and group.
Online virtual exhibitions taken from artist content.
Platform to advertise exhibitions, events and workshops information outside of NROS for the whole of the year.
A growing mailing list, tailored to our artists including exhibiting opportunities.
An individual section in the brochure to advertise your work and venue
20,000 high quality brochures are distributed (with the help of artists) across the area and beyond to promote the festival and the artists taking part.
See our archive of previous documents here
A Central Exhibition showing an example of each artists work takes place, allowing visitors to select which artists they want to visit. Think of it as a physical brochure.
Catalogue production and/or labelling
Administration of sales and quick payments
Production of invitations
Installation of the exhibition and materials to do so (paint, screws, tools etc)
Wrapping and packing materials for sold pieces and delivery to those buyers who can’t collect.
Launch and Closing party
A chance to invite as many guests as you want to a large event
Meet and network with special guests and other artists
Awards and Bursaries
The chance to be awarded several high profile awards including exhibitions, bursaries, framing vouchers, experiences and more.
Buyers and collectors
Known for selling art, having sold over £35,000 in the Central Exhibition alone in 2023.
Having your work on sale as part of NROS highlights it to certain buyers and collectors in the county currently on our mailing lists. They will be invited to all of our events.
- DON’T wait too long before sending in your forms!!!! - The more time I have the more time you have.
- DON’T wait for others to organise things within your area.
- DO champion other artists close by, it’s not a competition, this group is about supporting one another's successes!
- DO come along to the central exhibition even if you don’t have work on show – it’s a great way to meet the other members, network with any buyers and gallery managers.
- DO attend some of the group events, even if you THINK you know everything, chances are you might not or you may find a friend to share the experience with.
- DO reach out, share ideas and ask those silly questions.
- DON’T rely on NROS to do everything! We can’t hold your hand for everything.
- DO tag NROS in every social media post
- DO take advantage of everything NROS provides and read all information carefully and fully!
- DO ask for help in plenty of time from other artists or the Organiser
- Think about what work you are showing – does it represent you and your practice at its best?
- Only add photos that are of a certain quality – A bad photo can make your profile stand out for the wrong reasons.