Saratoga Springs is known for the arts. Whether it’s at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Caffe Lena or the National Museum of Dance, the arts aren’t lacking.
Yet, there’s never been anything quite like REVEAL International Contemporary Art Fair, which comes to the City Center beginning today and brings together artists and galleries from around the world to celebrate all things visual arts.
“I want to invite people to fall in love for the very first time or just over and over again with art,” said Jacquie Dunbar Grande, who organized the fair.
It’s focused on contemporary art, from sculptures to paintings to photography and everything in between. Some of the artists are internationally acclaimed and others are just starting to gain accolades for their work. With more than 30 galleries representing more than 150 artists, there’s plenty to see and to buy.
The intention isn’t to draw in only art aficionados; far from it.
“I want this art fair to be accessible,” Grande said.
Grande, who grew up in central New York, has been fascinated by art ever since she was a child.
She went to college (Union College and Albany Law School) in the Capital Region before settling in Saratoga Springs. Though she worked in the financial industry, her love of art didn’t dissipate. She kept collecting contemporary pieces and would frequently visit galleries and shows in New York City when she had the chance.
“Art has always been a lifelong passion,” Grande said. As a child, her aunts and uncles traveled extensively and they would send her art and figurines from all over the world.
“It was just that connection to a greater world and to this beautiful creation that an artist had made,” Grande said. When she traveled for work, she did the same thing.
“I would walk around these fabulous cities and go into art galleries and I’d buy a piece of art and bring it home with me,” Grande said.
She’s built up her collection over the years, taking joy in adding in not only contemporary artists but works from her own children. Grande is comfortable with the idea of collecting art for a variety of reasons: because you connect with it, as an investment, to complete your collection, etc.
It’s part of the reason that she named the art fair: REVEAL.
“There’s a double-sided sentiment here,” Grande said. REVEAL asks both what a piece of art reveals about the artist who created and also what it reveals about the buyer.
The planning for REVEAL began over a year ago and even though it’s the first of its kind to come to the city of Saratoga Springs, getting galleries and artists and others in the industry on board was a breeze.
“We’ve got world-class racing at the Saratoga race course, SPAC is in the height of its season, we have world-class polo here and it’s the weekend leading up to the absolutely amazing Fasig- Tipton horse sales. So that’s a compelling argument,” Grande said. Saratoga Springs is also committed to the performing and visual arts, which helped too.
“I think Saratoga is evolving pretty rapidly,” said Zack Lobdell, co-owner of Harrison Lobdell Gallery in Saratoga Springs.
Lobdell grew up right down the road from the gallery (located at 2 Franklin Square) and said that the visual arts scene is changing along with the city itself. There was once a focus on equine inspired art and landscape art, but it’s become more diversified.
He opened the gallery with fellow local artist Peter Harrison in late 2017. They focus on exhibiting their own work, however, they include shows by visiting artists, like photographer Taylor Sesselman. Harrison is a modern furniture designer, while Lobdell is a painter, working in an abstract contemporary style.
For Lobdell, the art fair is an incredible opportunity, for him and Saratoga. He’ll bring a few of his large-scale works, like “The Watchtower,” and “Shift,” which gallery owners from around the world will see. It’s also a chance for people in the art world who have never really considered Saratoga to see what the city has to offer.
“It could change the profile of the city,” Lobdell said.
There’s also plenty for collectors to do and see. Beyond buying art, attendees can also check out Art Talks: “Buy What You Love . . . and Other Advice,” and “The Art of Collecting: Building, Managing, and Protecting a Collection” with Ray Piacentini, the senior vice president of Marsh Private Services.
The fair runs today through Sunday, with tickets priced at $15, with a multi-day pass at $25 (today’s VIP preview event is $50). Seniors, students and veterans’ tickets are $10 and free for children ages 12 and under.
The VIP preview beneficiaries are the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital and the Massry Family Children’s Emergency Center at Albany Medical Center.
REVEAL Art Fair
WHEN: 6-10 p.m. Thur., 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Fri. - Sat. and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sun.
WHERE: Saratoga Springs City Center
MORE INFO: revealartfair.com