GRAND Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has urged people to get behind Somerset Art Weeks which was launched in Bruton.
The event, which runs until the end of the month, allows artists across Somerset to open their worlds up to the public, whether their homes, their studios or a local town hall or theatre.
Kevin, who lives in Frome, 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.
"You cannot ever separate human beings from where they are from and this will be very apparent when people see the art showcased in the event.
"The most fantastic thing is that we are going to see such a variation in art and artists across Somerset."
He stressed that in a time of recession it is important that sometimes people just let go and enjoy the rich variety of art and culture available here.
He said: "We are constantly being told by the scrooge government that we are going to have to stop spending money and tighten the purse strings – but actually life goes on and people want to have fun and see beautiful things. Art is a great expression of the human spirit in that way.
"You see all these modern, white-walled art galleries in London 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."
Zoe Li, Art Weeks co-ordinator for Somerset Art Weeks, said: "Many artists cannot afford advertising. Some cannot afford their own studios. This is their chance to present their work to the public."
For details of events see www.somersetartworks.org.uk/art_weeks_2012.