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Affordable Art Fair: Where Contemporary Art Thrives

New York’s Affordable Art Fair holds a special place in my heart. It is one of the first art fairs I attended as a Fine Arts student. Engulfing myself into what the fair had to offer opened my eyes to a larger contemporary art community and creativity from around the world. The fair is known for celebrating and creating a platform for living artists, while being accessible to all types of art aficionados. Buying and seeing exciting artwork from around the world has never been easier. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector, you will find that the energy and selection at this fair is diverse, fun, engaging and sophisticated.

The Affordable Art Fair happens twice a year, but each time it feels shiny and new. This time the fair celebrates its 27th year. The 2019 Spring Edition, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, welcomed 16,000 visitors. Showing no signs of stopping, the spring’s fair has resulted in record-breaking 2,000 works sold for a total of $4.4m. The fair has become one of the leading and most popular art fairs in the world. The next New York Edition is in the Fall and it is not to be missed. In today’s world of technology, having an in-person sensory experience is more important than ever. If you are ready to see thought provoking art that starts a conversation, and make a possible purchase for your bare walls, visit The Affordable Art Fair.

Read our interview with the Fair’s Director, Vanessa Seis.

In what ways is New York’s Affordable Art Fair supporting local arts? 

There are so many ways in which we support the local arts. Most abstractly, by presenting contemporary art by living artists in an accessible, inclusive and welcoming environment to New Yorkers, we foster a dialogue and put art on the map for many people who have maybe never set foot in a museum or a gallery. More specifically, platforms such as the Young Talent Exhibition or the Limited Edition Print allow us to partner with local emerging artists and arts organizations and give them exposure amongst our large audience. And then we work with a wonderful group of New York-based exhibitors, each fair, whose program and exhibitions we like to promote year-round.

How does the New York Fair compare to other cities? 

Each Affordable Art Fair caters to its local market and has its own identity within the branding. Our New York edition is very strong, and our audience is art-literate, fun, edgy, sophisticated and curious. Because New York has so much to offer, the overall experience is very important and so we create interesting and stimulating content that goes beyond the art on the walls, such as our performances during our Thursday-evening signature event.

In what ways have you seen the fair change over the years? 

We have obviously grown a lot—From one edition in 2001 to two editions since 2009. But most recently, we have noticed that our galleries’ stand presentations have improved, embracing a more minimal hang which our New York audience responds well to. Part of this has to do with our launching the Curatorial Excellence Award initiative in 2016, where all stand presentations are reviewed by an external jury and the winning gallery receives automatic acceptance into the next edition. We have also done a lot of education alongside this initiative and it’s been wonderful to see the galleries embrace this.

How do you think technology impacts the way we view and sell art today?

We promote our galleries’ artists heavily on social media in the lead-up to the fair. And there are some pieces that sell even before the fair, just off Instagram. Often, visitors also come to specifically look for a piece they have seen online. And then everybody takes pictures of the works they like and often reach out to the galleries after the fair because they can’t stop thinking about a certain piece.

Who are your typical buyers that come to the fair? 

We attract seasoned and new collectors alike. Some visitors have never bought art before and either come with the intention to browse, or to buy their first piece. Our seasoned collectors often have long-standing relationships with the galleries that have exhibited with us over the years.

What would you like potential new buyers and attendees to know about the fair?

That Affordable Art Fair is the perfect place to embark on your personal journey with art. We present art for every taste and for every budget in a curated and transparent environment. We also ensure that all art is original and by living artists and that edition sizes are fairly small, so we already do some quality control for you. Our galleries love to engage with new visitors and love talking about their artists, which makes it a great environment to learn about art.

Any exciting future plans for the fair? 

This spring, we launched new programs such as Stroller Hour for families, with young children and Lunch Time Talks for members of trade. Both were very well received and we look forward to continuing and expanding these programs in the fall.

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