HOUSE: Art and Domestic Space, was conceived in 2009 to provide an annual platform for national and local artists, and to promote a wider public engagement with, and understanding and enjoyment of, the contemporary visual arts within Brighton and Hove during the May festival period.

Importantly, central to the identity of HOUSE is an enquiry into ideas evolving around the notion of art, the domestic and the everyday. This is embedded in both the project concepts and the particularity of place in which work is shown and very often makes a direct response to.

In mid 2008 Judy Stevens and Chris Lord, the Directors behind Artists Open Houses (AOH) were invited to a series of meetings for arts organisations in the city of Brighton about developing and increasing opportunities through collaboration and increasing visibility of arts and cultural events.

AOH Directors, Judy and Chris were keen to develop ideas for commissioning thought-provoking and ambitious contemporary visual arts events in Brighton, that would provide regional artists with high profile exhibition opportunities in the city and beyond. They began to work under the premise that this new and dynamic event would be programmed and curated by a Guest Curator with a commissioned work from an internationally respected Lead Artist at its heart and feature several responsive commissioned projects agreed by panel selection in addition. 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 its citzens, students and visitors had to view 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

History and background