Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud has urged Somerset communities to get involved with Somerset Art Weeks.
Somerset Art Weeks' Open Studios event runs from September 15 – 30. Its aim is raise awareness about local art and it allows artists across Somerset to open their worlds up to the public, whether this is from their home, their studio or a local town hall or theatre.
Kevin, who lives in Frome, attended the Open Studios launch party in Bruton and enthused that ours is a "very special county" with a thriving artistic community.
He said: "The fact is, we are just so lucky to live in such a special and unique part of the world where artists can feed off beautiful sceneries and use varied local materials from the surrounding landscapes to create their vision.
"The most fantastic thing is that we are going to see such a variation in art and artists across Somerset.
"A small town like Glastonbury is going to produce completely different works to a larger city like Bath, and that's the wonderful thing about it.
"I definitely think people all over Somerset should enjoy the Art Weeks and get involved, there is some truly wonderful art to be seen."
Kevin stressed that in a time of recession it is important that sometimes people just let go and enjoy the rich variety art and culture available in Somerset:
"We are constantly being told by the scrooge government that we are going to have to stop spending money and tighten up the purse strings – but actually life goes on and people want to have fun and see beautiful things.
"You see all these modern white-walled art galleries in London, such as the Tate, and as much as I would love to be the sort of man who enjoys that sort of art, I just can't get to grips with it
"The great thing about the Art Weeks is that it is completely the opposite idea. Artists are opening their homes to everyone so they can see their lives, their works in progress and really understand the process in which all these people work."
Over 300 Somerset artists will be showcasing their work in 221 different venues across Somerset over the next two weeks. A full list of artists and venues can be found at the Somerset Art Works website.
Zoe Li, Art Week Coordinator for Somerset Art Works, said that this was an excellent opportunity for artists all over the county:
"Many artists cannot afford advertising and some cannot even afford their own studios,
"This is their chance to present their work to the public whether it is by opening their homes or renting out a display area for a few weeks."
Angie Rooke, from Shepton Mallet, will be one of the artists opening her home to the public during Somerset Art Weeks.
She said: "I love the Art Weeks because it gives people the opportunity to come and see artists, speak to them and learn how they work.
"Anyone is welcome to just pop up the garden path, come into my house and see what I do on a day to day basis.
"I'm happy to make them a cup of tea and have a chat, or just get on with my day to day activities, which tend to be trying my best to recreate the beautiful scenery around me."
"I think art is very important to everyone the local community, not just art lovers and dealers, because it lets people see the world through the eyes of other people."