The SOFA WEST art fair opens its doors to the public for a special preview on Wednesday, August 3rd at the Sante Fe Convention Center in the New Mexico capital. Highest-level supporters of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation receive a private preview beginning at 5 PM for their contributions to Sante Fe’s arts community. At 6:30, VIP Cardholders can enter the exhibition space. Then at 7, the doors will be thrown wide so the general public can view the new pieces on display. General admission tickets for the special opening night preview run $50 and are available for purchase in advance online or at the door beginning at 5 PM. This opening night sneak peek is just the beginning of a long weekend filled with lectures, special events, in-booth events, and special exhibits.
SOFA WEST embarks on its third show in Santa Fe, with 35 dealers signing on to the showcase, an increase from last year’s 28 exhibitors. Of particular interest for their work with glass art are several Santa Fe galleries such as Blue Rain Gallery, Elliott Arts West, David Richardson Contemporary, and Jane Sauer Gallery. Also attending will be heavyweights such as Habatat Gallery and Bullseye Gallery, plus international dealers such as London’s ZeST Gallery.
Just as exciting as the art will be the lectures. On Thursday, August 4th Blue Rain Gallery owners Leroy and Tammy Garcia will discuss the gallery’s, “evolution from contemporary Native American to Contemporary, and its role in expanding glass art collecting in the Southwest.” They will also be joined by artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen. She and Ms. Garcia will discuss their evolution as glass artists. Pilchuck Glass School hosts a panel discussion on glass, its evolution, and its popularity as a medium in the Southwest. The panel will be moderated by Pilchuck executive director James Baker and include artists James Drake and John Torreano. Finally, on Sunday artist Rick Beck will discuss, “the evolution of his large-scale glass sculpture, and the concepts, artists and artistic movements that have been seminal in the development of the works.” Beck will also have his work shown by Thomas R. Riley Galleries.
SOFA WEST marks the second collaboration between SOFA and the Intuit Show of Outsider and Folk Art. SOFA founder/president, Mark Lyman says, “After a successful inaugural partnership of SOFA and Chicago’s respected Intuit… at SOFA CHICAGO last fall, we are delighted to work together again on SOFA WEST.” Speaking with the Hot Sheet during last fall’s SOFA in Chicago, Lyman described the inclusion of the Intuit show as being a bit uncomfortable for some dealers at first. As SOFA Chicago got underway, though, the quality of work in the Intuit Show led to the realization that their inclusion added, “to the overall raising of quality to what we’re trying to do.” Eight dealers from Intuit will showcase work in Santa Fe in what organizers are calling, “a spotlight presentation.” Intuit director Cleo Wilson says, “Feedback I received from the 16 dealers who participated in SOFA CHICAGO’s Intuit Show was overwhelmingly positive. Sales were strong, with many items purchased in the $60,000 range. SOFA CHICAGO provided a momentum to The Intuit Show that helped pique the interest of new buyers, who may not have previously been familiar with outsider art.” It remains to be seen if that momentum can be captured in Santa Fe with fewer dealers.
The major change for this year’s SOFA WEST is the date change. In the past, SOFA decided to hold their event in July, but by pushing back until August SOFA founder/president, Mark Lyman is hoping to take advantage of a busier social calendar. “Building on the success of last year’s SOFA WEST, we are looking forward to its new August dates, which is really the high time in Santa Fe,” he says. “We will now have a full-season scale of audience, and even greater opportunities for our dealers in terms of market size. In August, the opera is in full swing, people are getting ready for Indian Market, it’s the best time to be in Santa Fe.”
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