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echo: Art Fair at Larkin Center of Commerce this weekend

At echo: Art Fair, you'll find works for sale by at least 40 artists, including Dorothy Fitzgerald (above), Kristan Horton (below right) and James Paulsen (below, lower right)

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This time last year, Buffalo’s art community was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the first echo: Art Fair, a juried fine art exposition connecting experienced collectors and first-time buyers with established and emerging local, regional, and international artists in a centralized, creative environment. The wildly successful one-day event, held at Buffalo’s historic Central Terminal, drew more than 3,000 art collectors and art lovers alike to view work from 40 artists and galleries elected from an international pool of applicants. This new event proved equal to the buzz surrounding it; indeed, the result exceeded visitors’ expectations.

Now in its second year, echo: Art Fair boasts an impressive jury made up of artist Charles Clough, CEPA Gallery executive director/curator Sean Donaher, UB Art Galleries curator Sandra Firmin, Memorial Art Gallery director Grant Holcomb, Rochester Contemporary Art Center executive director/curator Bleu Cease, Castellani Art Museum curator Kate Koperski, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery curator Heather Pesanti. A jury of this caliber was necessary as artist and gallery applications increased 60 percent over last year, and the jury received first-time submissions from Toronto, Cleveland, New York City, Brooklyn, and across New York State. The increased interest in the fair is great news for Buffalo, and there will be a continued local presence at the fair: Of all who applied, 72 percent are from Western New York. Local exhibitors include 464 Gallery, Monica Angle, Michael Amrose, the Benjaman Gallery, the estate of Jackie Felix, Fotini Galanes, Indigo Art, Felice Koenig, Esther Neisen, OGRE, Katherine Sehr, and more.

Out-of-town exhibitors include Cappuccilli Fine Art of Syracuse, Daniel Faria Gallery of Toronto, Gigi Gatewood of Brooklyn, Jeremy Holmes of Ithaca, PDX Contemporary Art of Portland, Karen Sardisco of Rochester, and more.

In addition to a fresh lineup of artists and galleries, echo: Art Fair is expanding from one-day centralized event to a two-day celebration of art with a robust schedule of events. The weekend kicks off with a VVIP Art Tour on Friday (July 6), 10am-2pm at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery led by director Louis Grachos, and a VIP Preview Party, 6-8pm, at the Larkin Center of Commerce. The preview party is sponsored by Tecumseth Street Galleries, which are four Toronto-based contemporary art galleries (Birch Libralato, Diaz Contemporary, Georgia Scherman Projects, and Susan Hobbs). Attendees can preview and purchase artwork while enjoying refreshments from Sample restaurant, a major sponsor of the fair.

The fair itself begins on Saturday (July 7) and continues through Sunday (July 8), 9:30am-5:30pm both days, at the Larkin Center of Commerce. The Larkin Center of Commerce is part of an entire revitalized industrial district, including Larkin Square, where site-specific installations (sculpture, photography, video, and mixed-media) will be on display. Curator Joanna Gillespie will lead walking tours during the fair. The fair will bring together artists, collectors, businesses, entrepreneurs, vendors, sponsors, and the public to in order to see art, buy art, talk about art, and enjoy refreshments and music by DJ Keith Harrington and Projex.

To further stimulate Buffalo’s already formidable art scene, a free panel discussion entitled “Art Collecting 101” will be presented on Saturday, 10-11am at the Filling Station, a café in Larkin Square. The panel will be moderated by artist, collector, curator, and educator Gerald Mead and will feature participants Nick Norton, Brooke Fitzpatrick Leboeuf, Nina Freudenheim, and Adam Greenberger, who are collectors, art advisors, and gallerists.

To bring the arts energy into the night, the d’echodance after party, held at the Dnipro Ukrainian Hall (562 Genesee Street), will begin after the fair at on Saturday at 9pm. For $5 visitors will enjoy music by DJ Cutler and Johnny Two Cents (a.k.a. Bill Rupp), live performance art, a cash bar, and more. The d’echodance after party will be presented by long-time event promoter Tony Billoni and will benefit Give for Greatness, which raises funds and awareness for the arts and cultural organizations in Western New York (

When Artvoice spoke to E. Frits Abell, the founder of the Buffalo Expat Network and creator of the fair last year, he seemed to have lofty goals. He hoped to strengthen the connection between Buffalonians and Buffalo expats, encourage Buffalonians to start their own fine art collections, and to create a high profile art event. With the first echo: Art fair, he accomplished these goals and far exceeded his own expectations. And just as he hoped in 2011, that “…echo: Art Fair [will] become a powerhouse regional art event and serve as a catalyst for the city,” this fair has returned for a second year that is sure to be bigger, better, and filled with more inspiring arts community growth.

View more artwork images from the artists who are participating in echo: Art Fair at

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