Open for Art 2016

I bloomin’ love jelly.

Nope, I’m not talking about the pink wobbly stuff you have with ice-cream, (although that definitely has it’s place on the party table) I’m talking about Reading’s awesome arts organisation.

The wonderful jelly hosts all sorts of amazing arty events in Reading, including Open for Art which is running from Friday 1 July to Sunday 3 July.


It’s the third year of Open for Art, and this year is bigger and brighter than ever as it’s also celebrating Reading Year of Culture 2016.

Kicking off with an artists breakfast at the Pentahotel at 8am with Sir John Madejski himself, the weekend will see arts trails, crafty events, and even a rave for the under 10s.

The full programme is available to download over here but I thought I’d pick out a few highlights in case, like me, you look at it and go ‘I want to go to everything!’

  • The Artists’ Trail. The lovely photos of art you can see between each event below are a small selection of the awesome work which will be on display as part of the artists trail. You can download a map here and weave your way around town. There’s also a public art trail, a tree trail and a heritage trail which are all explained on the map.
Curiouser by Tim Wilson

Curiouser No. 7 by gooey eye

  • Room. The Open for Art HQ for the weekend is going to be the old Waterstones building in the Oracle, which is going to be transformed into an exhibition space featuring the work of 180 children from five different schools across Reading. They’ve been working with seven artists to create a room per school – including all the wallpaper, vases, chandeliers and wall hangings – and you can check out all the different rooms which will be brought together at Waterstones. Cool huh? You’ll also be able to see a room made by the seven artists – who include Emma Bradbury, an awesome textile artist.
Cley Beach by Emily Gillmor

Cley Beach by Emily Gillmor

  • An Evening of Vintage Glamour. This is taking place at Electric Hairdressing on Friday 1 July, from 6pm-8pm, and will see Reading’s retro experts Alexandra Vintage hosting a night of vintage fashion, hair styling, make-up demos, fizz, discounts, music and cake. Tickets are £15.
Sculpture by Sadie Brockbank

Sculpture by Sadie Brockbank

  • Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s classic film has inspired Milk bar to get all retro for a night of specially created cocktails and music from Demis Roussos. Entry is free, and there’s a prize for the best dressed (think chiffon and flares!). The party is on Friday 1 July from 8pm.
By Neil Horne

By Neil Horne

  • Sitelines presents Walking: Holding. This sounds totally amazing. It’s a performance piece, created by Rosanna Cade which sees one audience member at a time walking down the street holding hands with different people from the local area of all different ages, sexes and appearances. You can just imagine the kind of public reaction it will get. A fascinating social experiment, and well worth paying £5 for. It’s on Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm and you can book at
Thumbs Down by Matthew Potts

Thumbs Down by Matthew Potts

  • Workshop: Rave and the Under 10s Rave. The Rave workshop will be taking place at RYND on Sat 2 July from 12.3opm-2pm, followed by the Under 10s Rave at 3pm. Parents and children under 10 will be making instruments, and practising dance moves before strutting their stuff with glow sticks at the rave.

There’s also a mini artisan food market, a cultural heritage trail, a tree drawing workshop, the return of the Open Air Art Challenge and loads more talks and workshops. It’s well worth taking a look at the programme, and you never know, you might just discover a hidden art talent which you never knew you had!


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