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At the Dallas Art Fair, Walls Aren’t Just Walls


by Stephen Becker 5 Feb 2009

I want to take a second to introduce a new guest blogger, Cindy Schwartz. Cindy is involved in many local visual art organizations: as the founder of her art-advising company Cynthia C. Schwartz Fine Art, as a former board member and docent for the Dallas Museum of Art and as the president of the Dallas […]

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I want to take a second to introduce a new guest blogger, Cindy Schwartz. Cindy is involved in many local visual art organizations: as the founder of her art-advising company Cynthia C. Schwartz Fine Art, as a former board member and docent for the Dallas Museum of Art and as the president of the Dallas Architecture Forum, to name a few. She’s currently working with the Dallas Art Fair to implement its educational components. I asked her to give us an inside look at the fair, which holds its gala tonight before opening to the public on Friday. Here’s what she had to say:

At the Dallas Art Fair, walls aren’t your ordinary trade-show walls. Months before the show was scheduled to open, its founders, John Sughrue and Chris Byrne, made the decision to purchase walls to be specifically constructed for this space. Normally, pre-fab walls are inexpensively erected the week before an art fair. These walls were designed by an architect and constructed for installation four months before they were to be erected on-site, to have muslin stretched painstakingly over them, and to then be painted. The intent was emphatically made that these walls were to be used again for Dallas Art Fairs for years to come. The commitment to our cultural community is not just for this year.

I could see it from my first visit to the space as the dealers were installing their works. The difference in this art fair was immediately evident. There is a human scale that lends intimacy about the space. The booths are located within the former Dallas Power and Light building, now the Fashion Industry Gallery. The ceilings drop to a more reasonable dimension, and the art installs beautifully as a result. With about 35 exhibitors’ spaces to peruse, the casual visitor can manage the entire fair without being plagued by art-fair fatigue. There will be the opportunity for visitors to spend some time with the works of art, to fall in love with the pieces, and to establish relationships with the gallery directors. That is the goal of everyone.

The gallery owners that came to Dallas to exhibit are as committed to this fair as its founders, and there is probably a reason for that. Dallas has always offered a warm welcome to dealers from around the world, and with the co-operative gift of the Hoffmans, Rachofskys and Roses to the DMA, the collecting spirit of Dallas is now legendary. As an employee of the Fair, to plan and implement educational programs with Becky Bruder, I had some lofty goals that the people of Dallas would engage with the art and the gallerists would be happy they committed to our Fair. After seeing the art installed and greeting the exhibitors, I am excited for our city once again. This Fair is good.

Though the Saturday morning symposium is sold out, tickets are still available for the Sunday symposium. All VIP packages are also sold out, but day passes are still available for purchase for Friday, Saturday and Sunday by visiting www.dallasartfair.com.

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  • Sarah

    Interesting about how the walls will affect how the art is displayed. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes look…
    I’m looking forward to attending the fair.

  • Mary

    I wish tickets weren’t $20. Seems a bit high.