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Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 


If you haven’t been to the Site Festival in Stroud before, or if you’re a long-standing supporter, you can certainly look forward to June 2023. 

The organisers of Site Festival have been taking a moment to reflect on previous years and are deep in planning for the art festival in June. 

What is it all about? 

Site Festival is an annual programme of artist-led projects; events, exhibitions, talks and directory of Open Studios in the Stroud district; established in 1997. There is always a wide range of events, and there is something for everyone.

Open Studios is part of the wider programme of Site Festival, allowing artists to explore, develop projects and open their work up to the public.

  • Gilson Pereira at Site Festival 2021 by Simon Pizzey 2 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Mair Hughes in her SVA studio by Kazz Hollick 2022 1 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Jo Nathan at Woodchester Mansion Site Festival 2021 by Paul Grellier | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • A Validation by the Officials from the Bureau for the Validation of Art by Simon Pizzey 2021 1 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Alice Begg of Humphries and Begg with her printed fabric 2022. Image by Alice Begg @alicebeggprints | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Site 2023 logo 2 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • SiteFestival logo yellow | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • The studio of Deborah Roberts 1 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Zed Macdonald sketching by Simon Pizzey 2021 2 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 
  • Taster Exhibition at Stroud Brewery 2022 image by Sam Judd 1 | Site Festival 2023: a strong art community in Stroud 

For visitors it means there are 6 routes to follow, on which artists open their studios for two weekends, so you can find original artwork and have interesting conversations. For artists, it’s a great opportunity to sell work directly to the public, build new connections, and find future exhibition and commission opportunities.

Open Studios 2023 will be 10th-11th June and 17th-18th June – so put it in your diary! Artists can register to take part in Open Studios until 14th February, and local businesses who support local artists can advertise in the directory as well.

2022 Site Festival Film

In this film, artists from Site Festival 2022 share their thoughts, their studios and their work; from established Stroud-based artists such as Chris Bingle and Jo Casling, to emerging artists such as Elena Ferro Kirby. The film was captured and edited by Sam Judd; a brilliant videographer who was based at SVA for the Kickstart Scheme.

The coordinators of Site Festival, Jo Leahy and Kazz Hollick, are keen to share this film – “We’ve loved this reflection and are grateful for all the contributors to this film, and to the festival. It really summarises why we do what we do, and inspires us to keep going! We would love for this to inspire artists to take part, and to register for 2023.”

What are Open Studios? 

Open Studios celebrates the incredible diversity of creative talent that exists here in the valleys, supports artists making a living from their work and builds meaningful connections in the artistic community. Jo explains : “We set up Open Studios in 1997 when we first moved into John Street Studios. For us it was really important that SVA was not just about the building but about the community of artists who lived out in the five valleys, working away in their spare rooms, sheds and kitchen worktops as well as the more formal studio spaces.

The word “open” not only reflects the open studio door welcoming curious visitors to discover the wonderful world of the artists studio, but also it reflects SVA’s openness to all artists of all backgrounds, ages, disciplines and experience.  Open Studios is not selected and we welcome conversations with artists who may be held back in their practice.”

Community and the Site Festival Team

The focus for Site Festival has always been on community, and the team will be encouraging the community feel of Open Studios. They are continuing to work hard on inclusion and accessibility as part of the planning process. 

Kazz has been a part of coordinating Open Studios for the past 5 years and says “I love the part of planning Open Studios when I get to see artists’ work flooding in; seeing all their new work and the directions they’ve taken. It’s the best part of the job for sure, and makes me really excited to share their work with others. I can’t wait to reveal the new plans we have for 2023, and am so grateful to the feedback from artists who have taken part over the years. Also, having been trained up by Peter Shaw who was a massive part of Site Festival for over a decade, it’s a great experience to be part of”. 

It’ll be the 27th Site Festival and artists can register until 14th February – “We’re developing other ways for visitors to interact with artists and their studios, and different ways for artists to take part, so it’s a really exciting year to take part”.

“I’ve taken part in Site Festival 3 times and I absolutely love it. I can share the space, share conversations with visitors and other artists.” – Alice Sheppard Fidler

“Being part of Open Studios is being part of a community. You’re letting people in which you don’t do most of the time.” – Chris Bingle

“It’s always lovely because you meet other artists, and you feel part of something” – Sally Hampson



Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/sitefestival/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/SiteFestival

Email : site@sva.org.uk

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