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A decade for Dallas Art Fair


April will mark the 10th anniversary of the Dallas Art Fair. Nearly 100 prominent national and international art dealers, representing painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video and installation by modern and contemporary artists, will descend on the Fashion Industry Gallery from April 12 – 15 to showcase an amazing array of art.

The Fair was co-founded by John Sughrue and Chris Byrne, and this year the new director is Kelly Cornell. Her appointment highlights the young leadership and the Fair’s continued growth toward establishing a team that will continue the organization’s future progress and burgeoning contemporary program.

Cornell has been involved with the Fair since 2011, when she began working as an intern. She fell in love with the fast pace of the art fair and has learned the business from the inside out.

Dallas Style & Design talked with Cornell to learn more about this year’s art fair and what patrons can expect.

What are your expectations for the 2018 Dallas Art Fair?
As it is our 10th anniversary, the 2018 Dallas Art Fair will be momentous. The quality of galleries attending the fair continues to grow, and I expect to see innovative and exciting works from these dealers. We have an exciting group of new galleries participating in the Fair, bringing a larger international presence than ever before.

What changes have you seen in Dallas with regard to art collectors?
Art Fairs are interesting places of commerce, with tightly curated presentations and fastpaced sales. Helping shape the Dallas Art Fair’s growth and development over the past eight years has been incredibly inspiring as it has become such an integral part of the city’s cultural scene.

I have seen more and more collectors emerge in Dallas. The scene is quite dynamic and becomes more active each year. Local collectors are catching the bug, oftentimes due to the Fair, which seems to engross them more in the culture. We have seen this through our various outreach initiatives. People are seeking more knowledge about collecting, and we work to provide opportunities for both collectors and art dealers to create meaningful relationships.

What changes have you implemented in the Dallas Art Fair?
The Fair has grown and changed so much during my tenure. I have worked to make the Fair more community driven, involving students of all ages, from elementary to college. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to introduce contemporary artwork to students—to show them artists who are being shown and created internationally.

The development of Dallas Arts Month has also been a great catalyst to engage the larger community of arts organizations involved with the Fair. The Fair is a civic endeavor, and we try to do things that will positively serve the city. An exciting amount of commerce is generated, from the hotels and restaurants to the Fair itself, all of which helps bolster the community.

How has your relationship changed, if at all, with art collectors in the last few seasons of the Art Fair?
With the development of the Dallas Art Fair Foundation and Dallas Museum of Art Acquisition Fund in 2016, we have built relationships with many new collectors in the city. Some of these individuals are new to collecting and some are looking for more knowledge. By working with the museum, these collectors have access to intelligence about the acquisition of works that is invaluable. This has been an exciting group for us to get to know and develop.

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