Art Fairs Observations

– What is the business model being used? That is, explain the economic workings: where money comes from, where it goes, what is exchanged, and what other business models are similar to this. Art fairs and art galleries are different — in what ways?

– Art fairs exist because they afford some benefits. What would these be? Consider that besides business benefits (economic profit) there are cultural benefits and benefits for individuals who participate.

– Who is the audience? Consider it’s diversity, and the roles played by the diverse parts of the audience.

– If you were going to write a mission statement for your art fair to help raise funds to support the event, what would you say? To a business man. To a grant-providing foundation. To a government cultural department?

– Analyze the spatial organization of the event. How do people move through it, how do they navigate (find their way). Consider analogies to other public places, like shopping centers, libraries, amusement parks, or…? How does spatial layout effect the participant’s reception and response?

– Consider writing not only about the event-at-large but also about specific instances, like a couple of exhibitors’ booths, schedules of events, locations, and problems the organizers need to think about.

– Feel free to include observations and feelings you have that interest or annoy you, things you love, things you hate, things that are worth thinking about.

– Please make references to ideas you get from the four articles, if you can. Make notes about each one – what you think the author’s points and argument is, how you feel about them, what different points of view might relate to the controversies these writers are addressing.

– See the simplified questions below. If you can answer them, you are halfway home. I recommend printing them out to refer to while at the fair.


What is the purpose of this event?

Define the mission or objective of this event. (Does an art fair have a mission? Normally when we say “mission statement” we are referring to a very specific convention [often a legal requirement] for a not-for-profit organization. In the case of a business, the statement will be less obvious, even unsaid. But there is always an objective, often a set of objectives)

How well you think the events fulfill their objectives. What leads you to this conclusion?

What is the relationship of the artist to the art fair? How about the curator? The writer?

Who is the audience? Are there people there who are not the target audience?

What is the business model? How does it sustain itself financially?

How is it organized? Think of both physical layout and larger structure.

Describe your experience navigating the space.

What was unique to this space/event that you don’t find elsewhere?

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