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Inaugural Palm Springs Fine Art Fair exceeds first-year expectations with 9,500 visitors
Reaction to the first-year event was understandably positive, with attendees and participants already anticipating an even more spectacular future.

PALM SPRINGS, CA.- The inaugural Palm Springs Fine Art Fair exceeded all first-year expectations, with a total Presidents Day Weekend attendance of 9,500 visitors and sales reaching into the millions of dollars during the February 16-19 event at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Beginning with an opening night gala that drew in art collectors and connoisseurs from across the United States-bolstered by a massive presence from the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego art scenes, and the generous support and unprecedented turnout from the local art community-to benefit the Palm Springs Art Museum, more than 1,500 attendees toasted the more than 2,000 significant works of post-war and contemporary art on exhibit and sale at the fair. Attendance was steady throughout the three day event-which was founded by the Hamptons Expo Group (owners of the noted and successful Houston Fine Art, SF Fine Art Fair, ArtAspen and ArtHamptons)-and resulted in a first-year fair that boasts the attendance and sales results of an established veteran.

Reaction to the first-year event was understandably positive, with attendees and participants already anticipating an even more spectacular future:

Steven Biller, Editor-in-Chief at PalmSprings Life magazine, summed up the event's impact: "I thought the fair was a transformational event for Palm Springs. It demonstrated the power and sophistication of this market's art community. And it drew people from L.A., Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix/Scottsdale, and the Pacific Northwest. What better place than sunny Palm Springs in the dead of winter to come see art and decompress from the real world? The quality of the some work was world-class, and it was exciting to see red dots on works by blue-chip artists like Andrew Wyeth; L.A. artists like Peter Alexander; established and mid-career artists like Enrique Chagoya and William Betts; and Chicano artists, including Ricardo Ruiz, from the collection of Cheech Marin."

Like Biller, exhibitor Emmett Potter (Bentley Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona) was impressed with the level of work on display: "You'd have to go to LACMA to see art of this quality."

Kathleen Crain, Associate Director of Scott White Contemporary Art, said,"We have been very pleased with the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. From the caliber of galleries who participated to the knowledgeable collectors visiting our booth, we feel the fair is off to a great start. We look forward to seeing the fair gain even more attention in the years to come."

Lorna York, owner of the Madison Gallery, counted the fair a success: "This was a fabulous fair for us. There was a lot of synergy here: great dealers, great artwork and a great body of collectors. I brought four artists to the fair and all four have sold, so yes, I'm very happy to have been a participant."

Sales at the fair were steady throughout the weekend, reaching into the millions of dollars. An early partial list of works sold includes blue chip alongside venerable mid-career and emerging artists: Slim Aarons, Lita Albuquerque, Peter Alexander, William Betts, Stanley Boxer, William Theophilus Brown, Steve Burtch, Enrique Chagoya, Judy Chicago, Michael Childers, Lori Cozen-Geller, Ron Davis, Walter de Maria, Matt Devine, Richard Diebenkorn, Carol Donjuan, Robert Dunahay, Eric Fischl, Eric Forstmann, Sam Francis, Michael Glier and Jenny Holzer, Luis Gutierrez, Grace Hartigan, Scot Heywood, David Hockney, Tom Holland, Robert Irwin, Paul Jenkins, Craig Kauffman, Mary-Austin Klein, Jason Kowalski, Mayme Kratz, Jaehyo Lee, Joanne Lefrak, Roy Lichtenstein, Kim MacConnel, Carrie Marill, Richard Misrach, Henry Moore, Rodrigo Moya, Neil Nagy, Siegried Neuenhausen, George Platt Lynes, Ricardo Ruiz, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Salmieri, Steven Schaub, Alexis Smith, Doug and Mike Starn, Andrew Taylor, Wayne Thiebaud, Jeremy Thomas, James Turrell, James Verbicky, Robert Walker, Andy Warhol, James Weeks, Joel-Peter Wikin, Andrew Wyeth, and Scott Yeskel.

In addition to a weekend-long lecture series led by Steven Biller (Editor. Palm Springs Life) and art critic/curator Peter Frank, alongside a non-stop schedule of VIP parties hosted by fair Sponsors and Culture Partners, the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair was highlighted by a number of featured exhibitions and awards, including:

Judy Chicago: This legendary artist was honored on opening night with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for her pioneering work. The fair entrance featured Judy Chicago, Material Girl, a retrospective exhibition of her 50 year career, curated and produced by David Richard Contemporary.

Cheech Marin: The nation's foremost Chicano arts advocate received the Arts Patron of the Year Award for his continued support of Chicano art and artists. He also exhibited work, hosted a book signing and VIP party during the run of the fair.

The Big Picture, Paintings from Southern California, 1960 -1980: Art critic Peter Frankcurated an historic Pacific Standard Time-sanctioned exhibition of work culled from participating galleries at the fair.

Palm Springs Fine Art Fair Owner Rick Friedman sums up the reasons for the event's first year success: "We see this as a cultural highpoint of the season. We've now established that there is an art savvy and vibrant buying base up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Taking place during Palm Springs' annual Modernism Week, the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair rounds out a must-attend West Coast winter resort weekend for fine art and design."

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