How Two Fairs in Houston Could Transform the City’s Art Show Scene

It may come off as superfluous, but some say the city’s art market needs a little healthy competition.


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Silver Street Studios in Houston's First Ward filled up quickly with art lovers for the Houston Art Fair last night. This year, the fair (formerly known as the Houston Fine Art Fair) is being held the same weekend as the Texas Contemporary Art Fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center. And while that may sound like a case of dueling shows, it's being embraced by some in the arts community. "I think that the idea behind having the two fairs together is sort of a takeoff of what you see in the successful fairs in Art Basel in Miami," says John Bernhard, publisher of Art Houston Magazine.

In previous years, the two Houston fairs have been spaced out by a couple of weeks, meaning some folks have had to choose which weekend to attend. This solves that dilemma, says Donna Davies, Vice President of Urban Expositions’ Art Group, the company hosting the Houston Art Fair. "It's an opportunity to bring in people from not only Houston and the surrounding area, but also across the country, (and) perhaps internationally," she says. "They can come in on one weekend and see two fairs, museums, and galleries."

Texas Contemporary's Director Max Fishko says about 12,000 people came out to their show last year and doesn't expect this year's attendance to be impacted by having a similar fair just two miles away.

"We think that more is more," he says. "(That) people in Houston are aware that there is art, art activity, and arts commerce happening on this weekend at large."

The Texas Contemporary Art Fair and Houston Art Fair run through October 2nd.

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