Slate Fine Art Gallery makes the Praries proud
The Toronto International Art Fair is a four-day event meant to showcase modern and contemporary art from around the world and provide a chance for galleries to network and build clientele. This year’s fair was held from Oct. 23-27, in (surprise, surprise) Toronto. Vendors included galleries from London, Tokyo, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Antwerp, New York, Paris, Venice, Toronto, Regina, and more. Yes, you read that correctly: Regina was included in that impressively diverse list. Our local art gurus, Slate Fine Art Gallery, travelled across Canada with more than forty works of art to show off the incredible talent of Saskatchewan artists to the world.
“We set up a booth [in Toronto] that would be a representation of what we do here. So, it’s almost like a mini-gallery at the show,” explained co-owner Kimberley Fyfe. “We chose a balance of those artists that already have national or international careers that people would know, and then a group of artists that we have that are younger and that haven’t yet had that exposure…Almost all of them were Saskatchewan-based artists.”
Co-owners Fyfe and Gina Fafard were extremely excited to have the opportunity to participate in such a well-renowned and international fair. Fafard once lived in Toronto so had visited the fair before, but she was excited to have the opportunity to go as a vendor, even if that meant the experience was much more tiring.
“It’s a lot of work and very long days, but we really enjoyed it, and we made some really wonderful contacts,” says Fafard.
The art fair provided a chance for Slate to put their name on the map. They were able to meet face-to-face with people whom they had been in contact with previously. Fyfe and Fafard also met many new faces, so were able to expand their network and clientele.
“We have sold work all over the world, but there’s just a lot of people who, number one, don’t know we exist and don’t know the artists that we carry. So that I think was the main key, just letting people know that we are here and what we have to offer them,” Fyfe said. “A lot of galleries will do referrals to each other. So it helps put a face behind the name.”
Visitors and other participating galleries were extremely impressed with the work that Slate displayed.
“It was fabulous to see the way people responded to it. I think it was quite a unique booth actually. Out of all of the galleries that were there, we felt we had a very different feeling. We made it pretty obvious that we were showing off prairie artists,” Fafard explained.
Slate also had a diverse range of media. In a mostly 2-D-focused group of galleries, Slate stood out, displaying both painting and sculpture. In fact, the gallery took a 5-foot tall sculpture of a rooster to display. The sculpture, created by Joe Faffard, was a major hit and brought many visitors to the Slate booth.
With so much work going into this trip: transporting art, securing funding from Creative Saskatchewan, and spending long days networking, Fyfe and Faffard were tired, but happy.
“It was great. We’re exhausted, but excited. It was really beneficial, no regrets at all,” Fyfe happily assured me. “We look forward to going next year.”