The Art Fair 2022

Great news, the Art Fair will be open Nov 11th & 12th, no charge, please support, visit SN, good time guaranteed.

100% of people I spoke to, simply loved the Art Fair, and had a great time, last weekend, during the fifth edition, November 4th to 6th.

100% expressed deep disappointment from a number of unforgivable glitches, which marred their experience.

In spite objective and subjective  debacles 4,000 or 5,000 people showed up to admire the work on display, but many felt the Art Fair wasn’t optimized, the potential, again, wasn’t reached.

And the elements did not cooperate, 4 to 5 hours of blackout on Saturday, a serious deluge on Sunday.

Sure, people were still looking at artwork with the help of their phone flashlights, and a handful of spectators danced barefoot in the rain, but basically, Friday, was the only undisturbed visiting day. On that day, many of the pieces were still in the process of being hung, leaning against gallery walls, and lights were being installed, some lights never made it, prices and descriptions weren’t up yet, and in general organizers seemed to be one day short from completing the setup.

There was also a glaring information gap: The QR codes on the tickets did not work and consequently we got no information, the website malfunctioned and did not accept large files, and the phones rang, but organizers were too busy to answer.

I can go on.

Still everyone LOVED it, they found it a great opportunity, a wonderful idea, and lamented the fact that in its fifth edition, the Art Fair still malfunctions.

Murals, by local and international artists? How many new murals did we get? I found the information, nowhere.

The Art Fair, is under the management of a privately held foundation, it is a for-profit effort. Which is acceptable. But soliciting subsidies from state, kingdom, business and private sources, asking for entrance fees, 30% commission off artwork sales and Awg 175 registration fees from artisans, does not benefit the event.

Organizers should agree on a set compensation for their considerable efforts, and the rest should all be invested in the event. This is not an ordinary business, this is a business that claims to serve the community, so it cannot be run like an ordinary for-profit business.

Take a page out of the Jazz Festival’s book.

Ticket prices were also high: Awg 35 for a weekend pass, that’s Awg 70 per couple, and no one goes three nights in a row to the same place, they should have DAY PASSES, make it more affordable. (I am told day passes were available, perhaps at the door, after standing in line, not in pre-sale.)

Last but not least: The Fair’s identity.

The Art Fair doesn’t make room for contemporary art, not judged by sales, or beauty, usefulness or function.

It’s a fair and as such it mixes artisans, and artisanal products.

There is no room for Art for Art’s Sake. L’art pour l’art. Expressing ideas and values, beyond immediate explanation. Many local contemporary artists stayed away from the Art Fair, because of its pop definition. They feel the fair doesn’t do their work justice.

While the Art Fair doesn’t have to be everything for everybody, it would be excellent to also expose local audiences to food-for-thoughts and art that is not obvious. The first edition of the festival did.


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November 09, 2022
Rona Coster