A restored houseboat, a clifftop cottage and a chicken shed are just some of the unusual venues throwing their doors open for this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.

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Artists will open up their homes and studios to display their work and discuss with visitors the processes and techniques involved during the project, which runs from May 26 to June 10.

More than 400 artists will be displaying work including contemporary paintings, textiles, prints, sculptures, photographs and ceramics as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Norwich painter Thomas Coulby, participating for the second time, said exhibiting paintings in unusual settings would enhance the work and attract a new audience.

He will be exhibiting a selection of his “landscapes with an abstract feel” in a 1920s houseboat moored at the King’s Head Hotel near Hoveton.

“I spent a lot of time painting at Winterton and Holcombe Bay and on the Broads, so exhibiting on a boat fits in very well with my view, said The 38-year-old.

“Open Studios will be a great opportunity for members of the public who might not generally look at art to see the work of local artists. A static gallery can be quite restrictive, but this is something novel and unique.”

Other quirky exhibition settings include sculptor Mark Haywood’s converted chicken shed in Happisburgh, and a remote coastguard’s cottage in Weybourne, where Francesca Perkins will display her oil paintings of old photographs against a stunning sea view.

A series of taster exhibitions will be launched at the Forum in Norwich today, followed by other exhibitions in Dereham, North Walsham and King’s Lynn, helping people decide which of the 200-plus venues they will visit.

Artists will also run a series of workshops and demonstrations, including smock-making, weaving and making prints, and special art trails will allow visitors to explore the countryside and visit several studios in one day.

The Norfolk Schools Open Studios scheme will also show off the work of young artists from schools in Aylsham, Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

William Galinsky, artistic director the festival, said Open Studios was “one of the highlights of the year” for the county’s arts community.

He added: “It throws a spotlight on to the sheer volume and diversity of talent living and working in towns and villages in every corner of Norfolk.”

Taster sessions:

Breckland taster exhibition – Tuesday May 22 to Tuesday May 29 – The Gallery, The Memorial Hall, Norwich Street, Dereham, NR20 1AD. Tel: 01362 690969.

North Norfolk and Broadland taster exhibition – Saturday May 5 to Monday May 7 – The Atrium, Spenser Avenue, North Walsham, NR28 9HZ. Tel: 01692 400080.

West Norfolk Open Studios ‘One Night Stand’ – Wednesday May 23 – Fermoy Gallery, King’s Lynn Arts Centre, 29 King Street,

King’s Lynn, PE30 1HA. Tel: 01553 765565.

Norwich and central taster exhibition – Monday May 23 to Thursday April 26 – The Forum, 2 Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1TF. Tel: 01603 727950.

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