Our Open Houses First published on Thursday 20 May 2004: Letter: Our Open Houses Pardon me, but I have a better claim than Norma Binnie to having begun the Open Houses. In 1982 I was Ned Hoskins' co-conspirator in opening the first Open House in Brighton. At the time, Brighton Open Studios (which Norma cited as synonymous with the Open Houses), were dying. The previous year, Ned and I did visit the diminishing number of open studios but rather than vowing to continue a tradition, we opted for something new. Our open house concept was to show a variety of original works of art in a domestic setting and to offer the works for sale at an affordable price. This was quite different from inviting study of an artist's work and studio techniques. Today, with the advent of working from home, many artists' studios are in their houses and visitors can catch them at work. But this is not the main reason they flock to the open houses. They're also looking to purchase unique artwork directly from their host or one of their guest artists. They also want to be entertained and educated. They crave inspiration, social interaction and, perhaps, some exercise as they walk from house to house. Sorry, Norma, but the Open Studios didn't bring this about. You weren't there when we burnt our furniture in the garden and hung our first show. You had nothing to do with our early efforts to generate publicity, sponsorship and visitors. And, to my knowledge, you've not been involved in the subsequent development of the Fiveways Group or the wider promotion of the open house concept. Enduring successes do attract groupies but without Ned Hoskins there would be no Open Houses and nothing to hijack. -Stella Cardus, Creative director, Desktop Display Limited, www.display.co.uk"

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