galleries and art dealers
Art Fair East Credit Mike and Sonia Marshall

Thousands flock to Art Fair East as it returns to Norwich

Queues snaked through Norwich’s cultural quarter as the region’s biggest art fair opened in the city.

Hailed as the busiest fair to date, creatives, art lovers and everyone from rock musicians to business leaders flocked to the event at St Andrew’s Hall.

Artists, galleries and art dealers set up stand at the venue in what has become one of the biggest contemporary art fairs outside of London.

With an international line up of contemporary art on show, the fair drew visitors from far and wide.

The fair was founded in 2015 by leading Norfolk-based artists Will Teather and Brian Korteling, who both exhibited at the event.

Will Teather said: “The fair was our busiest yet, with queues up the street on the launch night. It also saw the return of international exhibitors, post-pandemic, with exhibitors travelling from Mexico and India for the event.

“We had the busiest opening night ever with over 1000 people arriving in the first hour alone. Works sold ranged in price between £40 and £9,000.

“Visitors included business leaders and rock musicians and including the Stiff Little Fingers bassist Ali McMordie, who modelled for some of my recent paintings.

“The fair attracts not only regional visitors but art collectors from London and across the UK. The dates for next year’s fair have already been set and applications are now open for artists to apply to take part.”

Artists were on hand across the weekend of the fair to talk to visitors about their work, all of which was for sale.

Artist Jane Cochrane, who is based in Suffolk, said: “Art Fair East is like an enjoyable tidal wave of conversations, customers, and like-minded artists – the atmosphere and location is simply wonderful. I’ve had a special time meeting customers and other artists – the fact that I sold lots of paintings is the icing on the cake.”

Jill Blakey, a Buckingham-based artist whose art career started in lockdown, said: “I can’t speak highly enough about my experience exhibiting for the first time at Art Fair East. From the organisation to the publicity, the visitors to the fellow artists, the venue to the quality of artwork on display, everything about Art Fair East was top class.

“The exhibition is clearly carefully curated so that visitors experience a huge variety of artworks for a range of tastes and price points. This is a positive and happy event that I’d be delighted to be part of again in the future.”

The fair annually hosts a range of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video art, installation, kinetic art and original limited-edition prints.

Painter Karen Turner, who launched her career at last year’s fair and has since featured in magazines and podcasts, winning awards and grants, said: “Art Fair East 2022 was another really positive show for me, with an even higher footfall than last year.

“It was particularly encouraging to see lots of last year’s visitors come back out to chat and to see my latest work – and despite the challenging financial situation I was incredibly heartened and very pleasantly surprised by the volume of sales.”

Photographer Shelley Nott, who is influenced by the Dutch masters, said: “It was another very busy time for me at Art Fair East. The Private View was really buzzing and the visitors I met during the weekend were really interested in my work, which is always gratifying.

“I was very pleased with the sales I made there and there were a couple of orders waiting for me when I got back to Suffolk. In addition to those, I have a really interesting commission so all in all it was a really great Art Fair East for me.”

Anna Boon, who was exhibiting her sculptures at the fair for the first time, said: “I was very impressed with the organisation, my stand and the quality of my fellow artists’ work. It was very well attended, and I met some lovely people, making some great sales. I will definitely look at returning next year.”

The next Art Fair East will take place 1st – 3rd December 2023 with applications now open. Art Fair East is sponsored by Musker McIntyre and Chadwicks.

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