Public Art and Community Crafts

The Hurst in Spring, Sue Side (2019)

Despite its fame, the Ashmolean is far from the only place to get your art fix in Oxford. Every May, Artweeks Oxfordshire open up hundreds of gallery spaces across the county, adding to the already bustling local art scene. Here are a few things you may not have known about what's on offer for art-lovers and craft-enthusiasts in Oxford.


The annual Artweeks series, now the largest visual festival in the country, was founded in 1981 by a group of artists based in Oxford, who hosted their first full festival the following year. The founders were influenced by open studio events that were happening in America and wanted to popularise exhibiting in informal and personal spaces in the UK. By not relying on formal galleries, Artweeks give the public direct access to artists to encourage both strong artist-buyer relationships and collaborative creative efforts.

Artweeks happens across Oxfordshire every May and this year is no exception - there are nearly 500 free events and exhibitions happening throughout the county with painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, furniture, glass, mosaics, jewellery, and much more on display. To see what's happening near you, head over to the Artweeks website and take a look at their interactive map of galleries.

The Jam Factory

Known as one of Oxford's best contemporary art spaces, The Jam Factory is a thriving part of the local scene, displaying original art from both emerging and established artists working in a range of disciplines that rival the selection on offer at Artweeks. Open calls for group exhibitions are a common and popular occurrence so keep an eye out for any vacancies and opportunities by checking out their website.

The Jam Factory are also committed to getting locals involved, hosting two life drawing classes every Tuesday. The earlier session is tutored and is great for beginners who need some help getting started. Their more irregular but equally beloved community arts class is Drink and Draw; led by Bill Crooks, this session aims to help budding artists lose their inhibitions and take more creative risks.

Daily Info's Public Art Guide

There's also plenty of art on show all year round on Oxford's streets, from modern murals and graffiti art to centuries old statues, gargoyles and grotesques. We've complied a page of highlights but are always looking for new suggestions to include, so let us know if there's anything you think should be added!

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