Melbourne Art Fair launches initiative to support Young Galleries

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Taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 4-7 February 2021, Melbourne Art Fair has launched a new initiative that provides subsidised participation rates for young galleries under 4 years, in an bid to build community and foster the development of the next generation dealer.

Melbourne Art Fair, Australasia’s most progressive forum for contemporary art and ideas, is proud to be one of the oldest art fairs in the Asia Pacific region. Started by a group of committed gallerists in 1988, the fair has evolved into a highly selective and respected showcase of new and iconic work from the region’s leading galleries. Owned and operated by the Melbourne Art Foundation, a non-profit organisation, the art fair is dedicated to creating commercial and curatorial opportunities for living artists.

Its gallerist heritage and steadfast mission to support the livelihood of living artists has compelled the Melbourne Art Foundation to act in support of a younger generation of art dealer.

Maree Di Pasquale, Melbourne Art Foundation CEO and Fair Director says, “The artworld is facing an unprecedented crisis that has, without prejudice, impacted all facets of the arts ecosystem. We must as a community find ways to support the livelihood of living artists at every level, and most crucially, within the gallery system.

“As a non-profit organisation we offer competitive participation rates for all galleries and have a renowned commissioning and grant program that supports individual artists. We felt however that more needed to be done for the younger galleries that are perhaps the most exposed in a sector currently under threat.”

In a move to support the cultivation of new ideas and conceptually driven work in the most difficult of times, this new initiative will offer galleries established in or after 2018 the opportunity to participate within an art fair of international significance at a rate that is 40% subsidised by the Melbourne Art Foundation.

Olivia Radonich, Director of ReadingRoom in Melbourne (established 2018) says, “Starting a new gallery is tough and challenging at the best of times, but we now find ourselves in unchartered territory. ReadingRoom recognises and values the critical importance and impact of a platform like Melbourne Art Fair, and is thrilled to be considered for such an initiative. It is a welcome lifeline for an emerging gallery, that is committed to creating support, sustainability and longevity for the artists we invest in and represent.”

Rescheduled to take place within Melbourne’s summer, the February event promises to be a return to culture for the Australasian region, as the first artworld gathering in the new year. With a focus on solo shows and large-scale works, the fair will provide a much-needed investment in the sector as well as satisfy the visual appetites of a loyal and passionate collector base.

Image: Melbourne Art Fair 2018, Visions (Auckland)

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After careful consideration of COVID-19, consultation with industry and advice from the Victorian Government, Melbourne Art Foundation has made the decision to reschedule Melbourne Art Fair to 4 – 7 February 2021. Our greatest concern and priority is for the health and well-being of our team, our exhibiting galleries, their artists and the wider community.

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