Brighton artist takes on housing crisis with Portable Open House

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A Brighton artist sick of the cost of housing in her hometown has created a unique and mobile exhibit for the Artists Open Houses festival this May.Having always wanted to host an Open House exhibition but faced with high rents and extortionate house prices, Bryony Devitt decided to channel her frustrations into an art project exploring the housing crisis.

Her Portable Open House is a dolls’ house on wheels, filled with custom-made miniature artworks by local and international artists.

It comes as the average UK private rent increased by a record 9.2% in the last year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Bryony said: “Renting in Brighton has always been difficult but with the cost of living rising it has become ridiculous – and the increase in rent is not reflected in our wages. 

“Seeing how the housing crisis is impacting people of all ages across our community was really getting me down. The Portable Open House is my response to those feelings, celebrating creativity and not letting it keep me down. 

“It has been a cathartic experience – total escapism but also a great way to get people involved and talking about the issue. 

“I’d recommend getting on the property ladder to anyone… You’ve got to start small right?”

Bryony will be exhibiting her Portable Open House as part of the Artists’ Open Houses festival throughout May, taking the house on a tour across the city over the four weekends, including at the Spiegel Garden, Preston Park, Fiveways, Hove, Seven Dials, Hanover and Kemptown.

The Portable Open House tour begins on Saturday 4th May at the Stanley Road Store in Market Street, central Brighton, where the house will be based on weekdays during the festival.

Bryony is also running free art workshops on select dates throughout the month, including at the Hand in Hand pub on Saturday 25th May from 2 – 4pm and at the Jubilee library on Sunday 26th May from 2 – 4pm, where participants can draw their dream house.

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As part of the project Bryony is supporting the tenants’ union Acorn, raising awareness about their work to help renters in the city.

For more information on where and when to view the POH and take part in art workshops, visit www.portableopenhouse.com or follow the Portable Open House on Instagram @portableopenhouse.

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