The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Dallas Art Fair Draws Visitors to Downtown Dallas

A gallery looking out onto the courtyard at FIG.

A gallery looking out onto the courtyard at FIG.

More than 75 national and international art dealers congregated in downtown Dallas earlier this month for the fourth annual Dallas Art Fair. Officials say the event was again a success. By adding more events to the weekend schedule and promoting other art openings in Dallas, the Dallas Art Fair increased camaraderie within the art community.

The 2013 fair will likely take place again in April, said Lauren Kennedy, a museum and tour official with the Dallas Art Fair.

Located in the heart of the revitalized Arts District, the modern Fashion Industry Gallery’s versatile venue was host to the event. Dozens of rooms were transformed into mini galleries in the 70,000 square foot building, with painting, artwork, installations, works on paper, photography, and video.

The success of the Dallas Art Fair since its inaugural year is shaping the Downtown Dallas Arts District and has led the fair to become a signature of Dallas and a symbol of the revitalization of the area and Dallas’ attitude toward the arts.

The unique setup of the Dallas Art Fair allows collectors and visitors to enjoy art, culture, and refreshments in the vast, yet intimate Fashion Industry Gallery.

“It’s a lot more intimate than any of the fairs I have done, and a lot more open,” said Franklin Melendez of the Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, one of the exhibitors. “That was one of the draws for us.”

At the fair, installations ranging from inflatable cubes to wall-crawling plant sprigs were unusual enough to get people talking, while some pieces spoke for themselves.

As attendants bustled through the hallways with carts of coffee and jasmine iced tea, and champagne at $18 a glass, visitors surveyed the modern and contemporary art with a critical eye that the gallery owners appreciated.

Nancy Hicks of New York’s Gallery Henoch said the Dallas customer is very knowledgeable about art. “They ask a lot of questions,” she said. “They seem to be very sophisticated about artwork.”

Abustle with art buyers, browsers, gallery owners, and artists, the fair was a huge success among local Dallasites and even international visitors. According to the Dallas Art Fair Website, 20,000 guests have attended since 2009.

Eileen Cason of Dallas has attended the Dallas Art Fair three times. She said that it is the variety of galleries that keeps her coming back. “I know we’re a lot smaller than other art fairs,” Cason said. “But it gives Dallasites something that the bigger art cities have.”

Beth Taylor of Dallas’ Talley Dunn Gallery said this was her fourth year showing at the Dallas Art Fair and that the attendance and interest is higher.

This is due in part to the more special events that were been planned for each of the days, including the Preview Gala on April 12, and panel discussions and private tours with collectors throughout the weekend. Events in the evening encouraged visitors to go out into the community and view other openings, such as Eric Swenson’s opening at the Nasher sculpture center.

“A lot of really great projects and exhibitions are planned in conjunction with the art fair, so when out of town people come in, it’s just a celebration of what’s going on in DFW,” said Taylor.

The celebratory feel and camaraderie of the collectors was palpable in the busy but intimate gallery.

Hicks finds that Dallas and its buyers differ from New York. In her third year of attending the fair, she said the people of Dallas keep her coming back.

“People from Dallas seem to like the work here and we like Dallas and find it a very hospitable and nice place to be,” said Hicks. “It’s a good market for our artwork,”

The friendly atmosphere has certainly not been lost on Melendez.

“Every fair has its own type of buyer, but also its own personality,” he said. “The collectors here are engaged and open, so we have had a great experience.”

For many galleries and artists, exposure from the Dallas Art Fair is invaluable. Julie Webb of Webb Gallery in Waxahachie said the fair opens up doors for a new audience that might not have the opportunity to see her art otherwise.

Fresh faces keep things interesting for visitors looking to buy at the Dallas Art Fair. Cason said she enjoys seeing little bits from different artists, and so does the typical visitor.

Most people, she said, are here to buy, not browse. “They may not buy tonight, but they will go back to the galleries,” said Cason.

Lights and mirrors give this sculpture from C. Grimaldis Gallery the illusion of going on forever.

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