Throughout the month of October artists within Wasps Studios from the Scottish Borders to Shetland are providing visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at how they develop and make their art by opening their doors to the public.
Wasps Open Studios first started in 2002. Since then, the event has attracted nearly 50,000 visitors. Its success shows audiences have a real appetite to learn more about how and why artists make their work. Visitors have unrivalled opportunities to meet artists in their place of work and to gain a greater understanding of studio practice – a vital aspect of the creative process. Around 400 artists will open their studio doors to showcase the broad range of creative practices that Wasps supports. Wasps Open Studios is a nationwide event and one that celebrates the diversity of studio communities across ages, art forms, practice and experience. It will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Irvine, Selkirk, Kirkcudbright, Newburgh, Skye and Shetland.
Scotland is a nation of art lovers. Press reports on various surveys over the last few years have stated that in each year over a fifth of the population visits art galleries. Yet despite the popularity of visual arts in Scotland, the majority of the country’s artists survive on very low incomes. A membership survey in September 2013 suggested that six out of ten Wasps members earn under £5,000 each year from making art. Wasps Studios exists to support these artists’ careers by providing a studio for them to work in at a price they can afford. Set up in 1977, Wasps has now grown to become one of the UK’s largest providers of affordable studios for artists and arts organisations. Today, it supports 850 artists and twenty-two arts organisations at sixteen buildings across Scotland.
The Wasps Open Studios programme begins with taster events across the country throughout August and September. These events include artist talks, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, and visits from Wasps’ curator to many of Scotland’s art schools and colleges. The Wasps Open Studios Weekend is staggered across the month of October. The programme includes talks from visual artists, curators and fabricators, a children’s trail and treasure hunt, and themed studio tours. Workshops for children and adults include life drawing, paper-making, photography, casting and printmaking. There are exhibitions and artists’ performances across seven locations as well as discussion events around studio practice and sustainable careers for artists.