Cambridge Art Fair is 5 years old already. What a wonderful journey those 5 years have been with ups and downs (mostly ups), wonderful new experiences and many partnerships and friendships along the way.
When you enter the events industry, you very quickly realise that much of the success of your events is dependent upon partnerships and relationships with others. It takes a year of planning, over a hundred people and two and a half days to build the best and biggest sale of 20th and 21st Century art in the eastern region and we simply couldn't do it without the input, commitment and dependability of others.
Over the years, tens of thousands of people have visited the event, some visit purely out of interest and others come specifically to buy a piece of art. We consider that crucial interaction to be a partnership.
Whatever the motivation for attending Cambridge Art Fair, we love to hear attendees stories and receive their feedback. It's essential for us as a business (and for the hundreds of other people involved in the process) to know that what we are doing is meeting the needs of the people who choose to attend. Without visitors, our events are meaningless, so we strive to create an event that meets everyone's expectations.
An event like Cambridge Art Fair is so much more than the sum of it’s parts and it contributes much more greatly to the cultural environment in the East of England than a three and a half day, specialised, annual event really should.
It creates a bridge between commerce and culture too, evidenced by the continued support and sponsorship of Mattioli Woods plc and the many other local businesses that choose to get involved year after year.
Cambridge Art Fair is one of the few UK art fairs that is able to offer a good mixture of 20th and 21st Century art. This year we feature The Raverat Archive, promoting the catalogue of Gwen Raverat, one of Cambridge’s most celebrated 20th Century Artists. Gwen (1895-1957), the granddaughter of Naturalist Charles Darwin, was one of the first women to insist on and achieve professional training as an artist. She was a highly individual and intensely personal artist who contributed greatly to the revival of wood engraving as an original art form at the beginning of the twentieth century.
We are very pleased to welcome back Cambridge-based Oriel Fine Art, a specialist in 20th Century British Art. This year we welcome Julian Hartnoll to the fair for the first time. Julian is the pre-eminent dealer and specialist in the works of the 20th Century Artist John Bratby, founder of the ‘kitchen sink’ realism style of art that was influential in the late 1950s. Look out for the beautiful French fabrics on Julian’s stand.
If you’ve visited Cambridge Art Fair before you will be pleased to see the return of many of our most popular regulars that specialise in contemporary art, such as Lime Tree Gallery, Byard Art, Eleven & A Half, Clifton Fine Art, The Darryl Nantais Gallery, Colourbox, Robert Fogell Gallery & Carina Haslam Art. There are plenty of newcomers this year too, boasting fantastic portfolios of artists from all over the world.
Iliffe Media stepped in (at very short notice) and provided us with a truly fantastic media partnership through their titles Cambridge Independent & Velvet Magazine. The coverage written by Alice Ryan has been exceptional, as it always is (whichever title she is writing for). Our experience with Iliffe has restored our faith in the media industry and we look forward to working with them in the future.
Every year since the launch of Cambridge Art Fair back in 2013 we have held a VIP Press Launch, hosted by Hotel Du Vin in Trumpington Street. Michelle & the team provided us with yet another wonderful Press Launch in September, attended by many of our exhibitors, sponsors, partners, Artists and the Press. The Press Launch was very generously supported by Porsche Centre Cambridge, who provided a chauffeur service for several of our VIP guests. It was a real treat to see so many lovely Porsches parked outside the Hotel Du Vin for our guests to experience.
We are pleased to be working with Cambridge Champagne again. A Champagne Bar is one of those things no self-respecting art fair should be without and our Champagne Bar, provided by Paul at Cambridge Champagne is wonderful.
Heathrow-based specialist shippers The British Shop have been providing our Wrapping Station for 4 years and are the preferred shipper for us and many of our exhibitors. Knowing that our Wrapping Station is being provided by people so respected in the industry is important to us.
We are very lucky to have a long-term partnership with the lovely team at Cambridge Plants: they make the Guildhall look so green and lush during art fair weekend. Their willingness to support business and culture in the region is impressive and we are always pleased to work with Lizzie, Ruscha and the team (below).
So, it really is all about partnerships. We might be the organisers but we depend upon the involvement, the professionalism, the sheer positivity of others, whether that's exhibitors, sponsors, partners, contractors or visitors.
Fleur & I hope you enjoy the art fair this year and find something beautiful that you can enjoy for many years. If you would like to discuss partnership, sponsorship or advertising opportunities, feel free to send me an email.