ALMOST 70 artists will throw open their studio doors next month for Swindon Open Studios.

The annual event is now in its ninth year. It sees artists across Swindon and the surrounding area open their studios over two weekends in September.

Heavy stone sculptures, panoramic landscapes, piercing portraits and beautiful embroidery will all be on display – and all free of charge.

Linda Kasmaty, one of the festival organisers, said: “We’ve got some good people taking part this year.

“With Swindon Open Studios, you can have a look at people’s art and talk to them about it. It makes such a difference to actually meet the artist.”

Swindon was a thriving centre for artists in the last century. Painters like Hubert Cook worked at the GWR works – painting fellow workers. Others, like Swindon-born Leslie Cole, found fame as war artists – with Cole later exhibiting his art regularly at the Royal Academy.

Linda said that the town remains a strong place for art: “I think there are an amazing number of artists in Swindon. We always find there are a massive number of people taking part in Open Studios.”

The Open Studios team have this week launched a guide to all the studios taking part.

Studios dotted around Swindon will open – including sites in Cricklade, Wroughton, Longcot and Highworth.

Among the artists opening their doors is Chris Waddell – a digital artist who is exhibiting alongside his wife and young son.

David Bent, who has found fame painting fighter jets and other planes, will open his Old Town studio – offering refreshments in his beautiful Marlborough Lane garden. 3

Many of the artists opening their studios will be selling their work, as well as offering coffees and other refreshments.

This year art lovers will get the chance to win £200 towards the cost of an artwork exhibited over the Open Studios weekends. 

To enter the art prize draw, you will need to visit at least six studios - getting an antry form at each studio. Forms are available at every studio.

And, for those unable to wait for Open Studios, the Old Town Art Trail runs from August 21 to September 18. Shops and businesses will be displaying a selection of artists' work. A guided tour of the trail will set off from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery on Tuesday August 29, at 5pm.

Swindon Open Studios is on September 9/10, September 13 and September 16/17. For more, visit: