east dean and friston
Openart     the biennial celebration of local creativity

Patron: Grayson Perry   


Chairperson: John Dann

Committee: Paul Liddiard, Tim Pontin, Tony Roberts, Sarah Drury, Marianna Wilson.     Minutes Secretary: Christine Holliday.

OpenArt is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging and celebrating local talent in the visual arts.

Conceived in 2006, the biennial weekend event has been staged since 2008 in the East Sussex Downland villages of East Dean and Friston.

At its centre are the exhibitions of work by professional and amateur artists, of which our small area has an impressive number.

In addition to the open private houses, studios and workshops, OpenArt has hosted short-film evenings by local professional filmmakers and at a previous event, an inspiring illustrated talk by Turner Prize winning artist and patron of OpenArt, Grayson Perry.

Also in 2010, the internationally acclaimed Tony award-winning designer and Royal Shakespeare Theatre associate, John Napier, exhibited artworks inspired by his stage designs for Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables and other productions.

The exciting programme of events in OpenArt 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 attracted visitors from a wide area, many taking the opportunity to visit our historic villages which are set in the South Downs National Park, one of the most beautiful coastal landscapes of South East England.


Sculptor Sheila Hay will install a multi-faceted work, Typical Woman in the Village Hall and this will be complemented on the Saturday by an evening of contemporary dance choreographed by Sheila’s son, Daniel Hay-Gordon and performed by himself with a group of prominent professional contemporary dancers who will explore how the two different art forms can sit together in the same space.

A complete catalogue of events and open houses will be published nearer the time.

OpenArt 2018

Our next event will take place on

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September 2018.