WHY SHOULD I AS AN ARTIST PARTICIPATE IN OSLO OPEN?
The goal of Oslo Open is to establish new points of contact between the art and the audience. Perhaps we can also manage to squash some myths? The ultimate goal is to give art a bigger place in society. If you’re an artist, there’s a professional political value in contributing to mediation work in our field, while you get a chance to show your artistic work to a new audience. Oslo Open differs from other art mediation events through our emphasis on the individual artist’s workplace, and no other art mediator in Oslo gives the audience a chance to visit open artist studios. Oslo Open is just as much for the average person as for those in the art field. Even though the initiative has spread to Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø, Oslo Open is still the biggest open studio weekend in Norway.
Many professionals in the art scene use Oslo Open as a way to stay updated and discover new artistic expressions and talents. We also have a separate visitors programme for curators. Assignments and exhibits do not grow on trees, hence the opportunity to have professionals within your artistic field visiting can be a motivation for artists to participate. It can also be a way to acquire new contacts. Still, the event is first and foremost for any and all people in Oslo: Young, old, students and families. During Oslo Open, artists also have a unique opportunity to get together with other artists in their studio building, and visit colleagues on the other side of town.
Oslo Open’s website is frequently visited throughout the year and we know that curators and other art professionals use the list of participants when looking for information about artists. When participating at Oslo Open, your artist profile will be available on our website until next year’s submissions.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN OSLO OPEN?
All artists who work in Oslo and are members of an artists’ organization or have equivalent professional qualifications are welcome to participate. Oslo Open is for artists working in the fields of visual art and material based artistic practice. Some have an artist studio in a studio collective or house dedicated to artists and some rent a space independently. Some work from home and want to invite visitors into their house, others set up a temporary workplace for the Oslo Open weekend. All types of work spaces for artists are welcome.
WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE PART OF AN ARTIST’S ORGANIZATION TO PARTICIPATE IN OSLO OPEN?
Oslo Open is for professional artists. But there isn’t one crystal-clear definition of who is a professional, so we have chosen to rely on the artist organizations. They already have good processes for assessing their members through peer review. Examples of artist organizations are Norske Billedkunstnere, Norske Kunsthåndverkere, Young Artists’ Society (UKS), Norwegian Sculptors’ Association, Norske Tekstilkunstnere, Norske Grafikere, Forbundet Frie Fotografer, Landsforeningen Norske Malere and Sámi Dáiddárrráđđi (SDS). All these organizations fight for better working conditions for artists, and when many artists stand together, much more can be achieved. This is another reason why we encourage everyone to join an artist organization. If you are a professional artist, but are not unionized (as is often the case for master’s students, recent graduates or artists from abroad), you are still welcome to apply. Please fill out the form and send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your situation. Your application will then be assessed by our board.
I SIGNED UP. DO I HAVE TO SET ASIDE THE WHOLE WEEKEND FROM 27 TO 28 APRIL?
You have to set aside the day your side of town is supposed to be open. In 2024 the east side of Akerselva is open on Saturday 27 and the westside on Sunday 28 April. You’re expected to be present from noon to 5 pm on your day. Notify us immediately if you can no longer participate, for whatever reason. We of course recommend that you also take the opportunity to visit your colleagues on the other side of town the day before/after it’s your turn!
AM I SUPPOSED TO CREATE AN EXHIBITION IN MY STUDIO DURING OSLO OPEN?
It is not necessary to turn your studio into a gallery! Of course you may want to tidy up a little more than usual and maybe put on some coffee, but what’s so special about Oslo Open is precisely the emphasis on the workplace of the artist. The visitors will wish to see how artists work, and to be invited into your workplace exactly the way it is.
WHAT WILL THE AUDIENCE EXPECT FROM ME, WHEN THEY VISIT MY STUDIO?
There is a lot you as an artist can do to make people’s visit to your studio as successful as possible. If you put a little extra effort into introducing yourself, talk to your audience about what you’re working on and how you work, chances are the visits will be interesting and you will have some good conversations. Being met with a «Welcome in!» is always nice. Maybe your visitor is a bioengineer/historian/educationalist with an exciting perspective on your work, or you may give someone a unique insight into pigmentation, field recording or the ratio between the sculpture and the pedestal?
DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN A GUIDED TOUR OR LIVE-STREAM FROM MY STUDIO?
No, those things are optional. Oslo Open will make a programme for mediation digitally both before and during the set weekend, but we understand that this will not suit everyone. We always ask in advance. In the sign-up form you can check off if you are interested in having a tour group with a guide come to your studio. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you don’t have to check off on guided tours on the form. This is of course up to you, but we hope that as many as possible will want to do these things as it is a big part of making the artists and the art visible, ultimately giving art a bigger place in society.
WHY DO I HAVE SO FEW VISITORS IN MY STUDIO WHILE OTHERS HAVE MANY?
We see that there is a big difference in which areas get the biggest audiences. For the most part this is geographical. If you are in a studio collective in the city center, chances are there will be a constant flow of visitors, whereas if you work by yourself on the outskirts of town, you may only get one or two. We understand that this is frustrating for those where the visits are few and far between, but you can increase your audience by inviting neighbours, acquaintances and colleagues, and hang Oslo Open posters in your area or your local store. If you are not great with social media, ask a friend for help or advice. Our visiting curators decide for themselves who to visit, regardless of location.
WHAT IS THE PROFESSIONAL VISITORS PROGRAMME AND WHY IS THERE ONE?
In 2014 Oslo Open established an international visitors programme. Through this, high profile curators, gallerists and writers are invited to Oslo to meet the city’s artists. The goal is for Oslo Open to contribute to increased internationalisation for Oslo’s artists. In 2017 we expanded the programme to include art professionals within Norway, which has been beneficial for both artists and curators. Curators come to Oslo Open from all over the country. For the curators who wish to meet artists one-on-one, we arrange this, but it is the curators themselves who select the artists they wish to visit, based on artist profiles from our website.
HOW ARE YOU CHOSEN FOR A CURATOR VISIT?
The curators themselves choose which studios to visit, using the list of artists on our website. Some (in particular those who have never been in Oslo before) may still want advice as it may be hard to find artists according to what they’re interested in, among 400 unfamiliar artists profiles. We will then ask the person to list the types of artists/techniques/themes they’re interested in and we send them several suggestions they can choose from themselves. The point of the curator visits is for it to result in a collaboration – an exhibition or assignment of some kind. This is why it would make no sense for Oslo Open to select which artists the curator would have to visit. That would just result in uninteresting meetings for both the artist and curator.
HOW DOES A STUDIO VISIT FROM A CURATOR HAPPEN?
When we have received the curators’ wishes, we contact the artists they want to visit and set up a schedule. The studio visits last roughly an hour each, so to stick to the schedule as much as possible, each artist will be told whether the curator is to arrive between 9 and noon (before lunch) or between 13 and 17 (after lunch) on your given day. These visits are scheduled on the day of the weekend that your studio is not open to the public, or before you open. It is up to every artist individually what to do with their visit, but remember that the curator coming is interested in your work and that this opportunity may result in potential future jobs. Some may prefer to show their work on a laptop, while others will show off physical artworks in their studio, finished or works in progress. The most important thing is to establish a basis for a good conversion, thus the curator will form their agenda in relation to you.
WILL THERE BE WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN THIS YEAR?
For many years, Barnas Oslo Open (BOO!) – The Children’s Oslo Open – was popular among children and their parents. It has not been decided yet whether or not we are doing children’s workshops in 2024. We will update you when we know more about the funding situation.
Anything else you want to know about being an artist at Oslo Open?
Send an email to email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.