About Us

Dorset Visual Arts is a not for profit organisation and registered charity. DVA has a membership of over 300 artists, designers and makers who live and, or practice in Dorset. Some of the Members have national and international reputations. 

DVA is about interaction, collaboration and, importantly, creative development.

DVA’s activities recognise that artists have different interests and needs in developing their work and careers, yet are so often left to find their way in isolation, particularly in a mainly rural county. Previous projects work and links with Arts University Bournemouth are testament to a programme of artistic development. When possible, DVA develops bursaries for artists to undertake individual research and development as well as providing commissions.

DVA currently runs three project groups focused on professional development; The Interrogating, Salon and Emerging artist project groups facilitate connections between artists with different areas of critical focus. Since 2023, DVA has been involved in developing an ambitious programme of exhibitions, community activity and visual arts-based events as The Sherborne (formerly Sherborne House) opens, creating an exciting and dynamic new opportunity for the Dorset arts community. 

DVA is known for its biennial, flagship event, Dorset Art Weeks, reputedly the largest biennial Open Studios Event in the country. Research data shows DAW benefits the Dorset economy by approx. £2.1M. The trading arm of DVA will continue to run Dorset Art Weeks as a visual arts event open to all artists practising in Dorset, regardless of DVA membership. The next Dorset Art Weeks will run 25 May - 9 June 2024.

The charity arm of DVA will now focus on the creative and professional development of its artists through its different Membership categories and as of June 2023 has relaunched its Standard Membership offer with an improved range of benefits of DVA Members and a more inclusive offer for artists living and working in Dorset. Involvement for Members will focus on exhibition opportunities during Dorset Art Weeks, the Sherborne House programme, and plans for a brand new ‘interval year’ event from 2025 as well as other blended activities such as residencies, workshops, network meetings and get togethers.  

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