‘The Rockies Are Rocking’: Why Rick Friedman Is Bringing a New Art Fair to Denver Next Year

The Denver event joins Friedman's other recently introduced regional fairs in Philadelphia and Jackson Hole.

Scheduled for the spring of 2020, Denver Fine Art Fair will become the city's first gallery-driven art fair. Courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.
Scheduled for the spring of 2020, Denver Fine Art Fair will become the city's first gallery-driven art fair. Courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

The Mile High City will be home to its very own contemporary art fair when the inaugural edition of the Denver Fine Art Fair opens next spring, May 2931, 2020. 

The fair will join a number recently introduced regional fairs produced by ShowHamptons, including the newly minted Philadelphia Fine Art Fair, which opened to robust sales this past April, and the Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair, slated to become Wyoming’s first art fair when it opens this September. 

The West seems to be the next frontier for the fair market. “The Rockies are rocking,” said fair founder Rick Friedman, who has spent the past decade organizing regional luxury exhibitions and fairs across the country, in places like Aspen, the Hamptons, and Palm Springs. The Jackson Hole fair sold out to exhibitors at a rapid clip and has a number of exhibitors on a waiting list. The new Denver fair hopes to showcase a mix of 50 local and international galleries in its venue at Art Center at Denver Mart.

With sizable affluent populations, Friedman sees these locations as an untapped market. “I am about discovering new market regions where we can inspire many to experience the joy and satisfaction of collecting art,” he said. “I see this as a coming-of-age celebration for the art scene in Denver. The city is bustling with creative energy for the visual arts.” 

Denver Fine Art Fair founder Rick Friedman.

With a metro-area population of more than 3 million, Denver is among the fastest-growing cities in the country, and one with a long history of cultural investment. The city is home to several dozen commercial galleries, eight art museums, and numerous arts districts. The Denver Art Museum, the city’s largest institution, is currently undergoing a major building renovation, scheduled to open next spring. 

The fledgling fair is hoping to partner with many of the existing institutions within the city and plans to cultivate an environment specific to its location—a section of the fair will be devoted to traditional west and New West art. 

New York’s Walker Fine Art, which manages the M.C Escher estate has already confirmed it will be presenting an interactive display of Escher’s famous 1935 work Hand With Reflecting Sphere. A similar installation at the Philadelphia Fine Art Fair drew crowds, and Friedman is expecting similar excitement again: “The phone is ringing off the hook!” he said.

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