Four years after the launch of the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, this year’s attendance numbers are estimated at 14,000 — double the size of its first year — with expected displays from 60 galleries. It will all converge Feb. 12–15 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, where fairgoers will have the opportunity to view and buy distinctive paintings, photography, sculpture, and glass works from artists worldwide.
“Many in the art world have become respectful now of the Palm Springs region being a viable and serious art buying market,” says Palm Springs Fine Art Fair founder Rick Friedman. “We have proven to the art dealers, art press, and art media that there is enough money, resources, and knowledge in the fine arts and that we have carved out a stop here with this festival on the art train across America.”
An opening-night preview, benefiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, will take place Thursday, Feb. 12, an event that usually sees around 4,000 people in attendance. Guests will be the first to view the works gathered for the show, beginning at 6 p.m. Then, at 7:30 p.m. in the fair’s theater, Arlene Schnitzer — a trustee at Palm Springs Art Museum, board member of the McCallum Theatre, and founder of Portland’s Fountain Gallery — will receive the fair’s Arts Patron of the Year Award.
On Saturday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m., 2015 Photographer of the Year William Wegman — known for his depictions of Weimaraner dogs — will be honored for his internationally renowned photographs, videography, and drawings.
Bay Area–based artist Fletcher Benton will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award later that afternoon, at 3 p.m. Benton, who will be 84 at the end of February, has his work featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. The artist shows with Palm Desert’s Imago Galleries, which will mount a 60-year retrospective survey at the fair.
Other works not to be missed are those of renowned painter and sculptor Tony DeLap — whose art and career will be displayed through a film screening— and Chinese-born artist Hung Liu.
Friedman, president of the Hamptons Expo Group, remarks that the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair is consistently trying “to make the town, the desert, and the city proud of what we do.” He believes that part of what makes this event so unique is the enclosed natural market that the desert offers. “This is something that is well-received,” he says. “It’s almost like its own private fair. We have a lot of camaraderie. People look to this and are excited by it.” Friedman notes this excitement brings with it an increased interest in art that represents desert sensibility and bright, high-energy colors.
In addition to the quality and consistency of the art displayed, Friedman is also proud of the event’s strong speaker program, which helps attendees learn the ins and outs to collecting art.
New to this year’s showcase is the Print Pavilion, offering publishers and dealers an avenue to promote appreciation and acquisition of the print medium. Participants include Gemini G.E.L., recognized as one of the primitive and premier print dealers in America.
As Friedman and the rest of the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair staff look to the future, they hope to continue delivering on their promise of providing “great artwork for everybody and every budget.” Their goal is to spotlight different artists of note and bring in innovative, exciting installations and sculptures. “The work we bring in, there is an exciting surprise around every corner,” says Friedman, quoting art critic Peter Frank.
Visit www.palmspringsfineartfair.com for more information.