Arts & Culture

Dallas Art Fair Creates New Digital Marketplace: Buy Art, Join in on Studio Visits, and More at “Culture Place”

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In recent months, the contemporary art market has largely adapted to the new conditions brought about by the pandemic, creating innovative virtual viewing rooms, lecture series via Zoom, and online marketplaces. One of the most notable platforms comes from the Dallas Art Fair. In their pursuits to pioneer their own digital marketplace, called Culture Place, they have engineered an environment where collectors and enthusiasts from Texas and beyond can connect, explore, and purchase art virtually.


Sarah Blagden, Head of VIP Relations at Dallas Art Fair, shares her insightful thoughts into the launch of Culture Place, the future of the contemporary art market, student-friendly events, and gives advice for those who may be graduating soon.

EH: What was the inspiration for the Dallas Art Fair to create Culture Place?

SB: The launch of Culture Place came on the heels of the first-ever online Dallas Art Fair, which ran in April after the physical fair was postponed due to the pandemic. The quick transition to a fully digital fair proved highly successful, resulting in nearly $3 million in sales for participating galleries during the course of the 10-day venture. During such uncertain times, we must innovate and create our place in this mostly fully online moment.

EH: What are your goals with this digital marketplace?

SB: Our goal is to enable dealers to connect with our audience of collectors on an ongoing basis during a time when physical engagement has evaporated. Through engaging in conversations, webinars, and virtual studio visits, we hope to reach an even broader audience. The digital exchange will facilitate sales through meaningful relationships and exciting programs that showcase our gallery’s artists to the world. Currently, Culture Place highlights the best contemporary galleries of our region, with the possibility of expansion.

EH: Where do you personally see the future of the art industry heading, especially in these next few years?

SB: I think the art world is forever changed in relation to its online presence. Nothing can replace physically engaging with art, but online platforms will continue to be an important avenue. We are already seeing more partnerships and joining of forces in an effort to innovate and survive these times. It is a difficult question, as so much is uncertain, but one could say that we need art more than ever right now to understand, escape, encourage, reflect, uplift, and see the world in new ways.

EH: Are there any exciting events, either in person or virtually, coming up in the future at Culture Place? Can students attend?

SB: On Friday, August 7 at 12:00 pm CST there will be a Q&A with art advisor Jennifer Klos and artists Jules Buck Jones and Billy Hassell. Inspired by nature, both artists capture the flora and fauna of Texas in different ways, reflecting landscape as a recognizable subject matter but with a unique approach to the pictorial space. In September there will be a fresh rotation of art and programming. I recommend joining our mailing list to receive the most up to date schedules, as well as written artist and gallery interviews. We love for students to attend, and events are open to all! The “Explore More” section on our website also offers recordings of past events and artist interviews and is a great resource and wealth of information. Visit our website for all upcoming events!

EH: What can people expect to see as Culture Place continues to grow?

SB: They can expect to see an expanded art program and exciting rotations of content and galleries. Launching something new always brings challenges, so we are learning as we go. It has the potential to expand to other cultural lifestyle categories such as design, as well as welcome galleries from across the country and beyond.

EH: What advice would you give to college students who are just now starting their careers in the art industry?

SB: I won’t sugar coat it: you’re graduating in a difficult moment. But as a result, you’re in a unique position to help grow the art world in new directions. Stay open to global opportunities and opportunities that you may have not originally considered, talk to as many people as possible, and if graduate school is an aspiration, now could be a good time.

Make sure to follow @thecultureplace to stay up to date on all of the upcoming webinars, guest speaker series, virtual artist conversations, and many more student-friendly events! Learn more about the Dallas Art Fair or Culture Place by visiting their website.

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