Toronto’s Feature Art Fair Is Shutting Down—Or Is It?

The fair director says there's more to the story.

Feature art fair.
Photo: Courtesy of Jean-Michael Seminaro.

News broke today that Toronto’s Feature Contemporary Art Fair will not be returning for a third iteration in 2016.

In the Contemporary Art Galleries Association‘s (AGAC) statement to its members, the board’s chair, Émilie Grandmont-Bérubé, explained why the Association decided against renewing Feature: “Firstly,” Grandmont-Bérubé states, “because its assignment was carried out with success, and secondly, for financial reasons.”

While these reasons may seem symptomatic of hard times, AGAC’s director Christine Blaise told a different story in a phone interview with artnet News. “The board realized that the needs of our members have changed in recent years,” Blaise said. According to Blaise, this is simply a move to make room for bigger things on the horizon.

Feature art fair.<br>Photo: Courtesy of Jean-Michael Seminaro.

Feature art fair.
Photo: Courtesy of Jean-Michael Seminaro.

“It’s not that the fair was unsustainable,” she said. “We have changed the landscape since 2014. Feature is evolving into something else to answer the needs of our members, and everybody is excited about the changes that are coming.”

Granted, the Association’s new direction is still unclear. The board’s chair told Canadian Art, which broke the story, that “[t]he plans for this renewed presence aren’t ready to be revealed yet.”

Since its founding in 1985, AGAC has spread its reach across Canada’s borders in cities like Lyon, Shanghai, and New York. Feature, which was founded by the Montreal-based association in 2014, has served as an annual platform in Toronto for galleries across Canada to represent their artists, including Montreal-based venues Galerie Division and Galerie Trois Points.

Stay tuned.

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