The Open at Arvon

In September 2015 The Arvon John Osborne Centre approached Ludlow Open with a request to help source artwork for the walls of their newly refurbished writers’ retreats, two impressive regency buildings in the grounds of The Hurst, Clunton, Shropshire.  At The Hurst people can find the time, space and guidance they need to write, free from the distractions of everyday life, and writers come from all over the world to do so.


In March 2016 Ludlow Open was awarded funding from Arts Council England to show at The Hurst the work of 14 contemporary artists who live and work in The Marches region.  Please click on ‘Arvon Artists’ for information on the exhibiting artists. 

The Open at Arvon is a year long exhibition of paintings, prints, drawings, photography, mixed media and wall hung 3d, all made by artists living and working in the region, and the show will be seen by the one thousand visitors The Hurst receives throughout the year, who come from all over UK, Europe and beyond.

The Hurst is primarily a home, and all the artwork in the show is hung in a mixed, informal fashion, just as we may hang art in our own homes.  Arvon gave Ludlow Open’s director Jo King a guiding brief to select work which included local landscape, but also had storytelling and narrative as strong themes.  Jo then asked selected artists if they would allow her to visit their studios and jointly choose work, through discussion on their studio process and subject themes.  ‘Process’ became a buzz word for Jo in the selection of the pieces, and through narratives of humour, history, travel, mystery and exploration, Jo feels that the art work selected can support the writing process.


Jo has hung the chosen artworks to suit each room, based on the room’s purpose at the writers’ retreat; in a small tutorial room are hung landscapes – conversations between tutor and writer in this room can be challenging, and Jo felt that a journey out of the room via the art work might offer some timely relief to a writer; in the workshop room, where groups listen and debate, Jo chose more abstract, shape based work, work that may perhaps support thinking about new ideas.  And so on, throughout the two houses.

Each body of work by each artist brings a different element to writers’ themes and the weekly courses that Arvon presents at The Hurst.  Jo King hopes that each writer will find at least one piece that will support their time there, and that every visitor to the Hurst’s two houses enjoys this ‘domestic’ exhibition.

All the artwork is for sale via Ludlow Open, and any work sold from the exhibition will then be replaced, on a rolling basis, until the end of the show in June 2017.

Accompanying The Open at Arvon is a week long artist residency.  Our selected artist in this pilot year is Sophie Herxheimer, and she was at The Hurst for ‘an Arvon week’ in October 2016, making work in response to the concept of a writers’ home and retreat in the Shropshire countryside.  This residency has been funded by The Millichope Foundation.  Please click on ‘The Arvon Hurst Residency 2016’ for more information.