Discussions about HOUSE began in 2008 with a view to introducing a curated, contemporary and dynamic visual arts strand to complement the annual Brighton Festival season.
Originally a partner event to the Artists Open Houses, and now a major partner working with Brighton Festival, HOUSE provides a unique annual showcase and commissioning opportunity for the work of critically engaged artists and curators from the South East region.
In 2008, Judy Stevens and Chris Lord, Directors of the Artists Open Houses festival were invited to a series of meetings for arts organisations in Brighton concerned with developing and increasing opportunities through collaboration and increasing visibility of arts and cultural events in the city.
Stevens and Lord were keen to develop ideas for commissioning thought-provoking and ambitious contemporary visual arts projects, providing artists from the South East region with high profile opportunities to exhibit work in the city. They began to work under the premise that this new and dynamic event would be programmed and curated by a Guest Curator with a new commission from an internationally respected Invited Artist at its heart and also featuring several responsive commissioned projects, agreed by panel selection. And so HOUSE was born.
"A starting point for HOUSE was the lack of dedicated spaces for the presentation of new works of contemporary art in Brighton, and the consequent limited opportunities local audiences had to view work by internationally regarded artists.
Using domestic locations and other small artspaces we wanted to address this issue as well as to provide new commissioning and exhibiting opportunities for emerging regional artists. Whereas Artists Open Houses is an inclusive open to all festival, HOUSE was designed to bring a curatorial vision and focus to the visual arts in the city during the May festival." Judy Stevens, HOUSE Director