Margaret River Region Open Studios is celebrating its 10-year anniversary after a decade of bringing artists and the public together.
The annual event involves artists from all over the Margaret River region opening their personal studios to showcase their diverse art to the public for free, from September 9 to 24, this year.
The open studio event encourages upcoming artists to display their work to the public, bringing the two communities together, with WA tourism back at pre-COVID levels.
A 2023 report from Tourism Western Australia found that the number of visitors since 2021 has increased from 26,242 to pre-COVID levels at 33,692 in 2023.
Emerging Open Studios artist Laura Griffith said the event is good for tourism, bringing many people to explore the region in a new way.
“The event is pretty inclusive, it’s just the whole experience of exploring the region, driving around looking at people’s properties, going down the backroads to some people’s studios that you can’t normally experience, and it’s all of that entwined.”
Griffith said the event is also a good way for new and upcoming artists to gain a bit of exposure without the external pressures of gallery regulations.
“Applying to galleries requires a cohesive body of work, whereas, with this, I feel a lot more confident to experiment and explore. The one-on-one feedback from visitors, and networking with other people in the industry is such a positive experience to be a part of.”
The event is known for creating an environment for feedback and inspiration to be exchanged.
Chair of the Margaret River Region Open Studios event Jim Davies said the event adds to the tourism value of the region, by putting a spotlight on the vast range of art present down south.
“The region is better known for the wine and surfing, so to give it an art focus and reveal the sheer number of artists in the region, it gives another arrow to its bow, in terms of attraction to visitors locally, interstate and internationally.”
Mr Davies said the event enriches all participants and visitors, bringing the art community and the wider community together to reveal the talent in the region.
“The event has bound the artists and the public together because half of them didn’t know each other existed until we came along, so I suppose we are the glue that keeps the community together once a year.”
Mr Davies said the volunteer-run event has grown over the last 10 years, with 130,000 studio visits in 2022, this year’s 10th anniversary is highly anticipated.
“To have lasted ten years, the way the event’s grown is a real testimony to the strength of the organisation and to the desire for the artists to make this work.
“Ten years is quite a milestone in terms of this kind of community-run, volunteer-based event, and we are very proud of that.”