The Annual International Expositions of Sculpture Objects & Functional Art: SOFA CHICAGO, SOFA NEW YORK
Atlanta?based show management company Urban Expositions has acquired the international Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design Fair (SOFA) from The Art Fair Company. Celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, SOFA is the largest and longest continually running art fair in Chicago.
Urban Expositions plans to build a division specializing in art fairs and SOFA is their first such acquisition. The Art Fair Company will continue to run the fair during a transition period and Urban Expositions will take over at the completion of the upcoming 2013 event. SOFA will take place at the Navy Pier’s Festival Hall in Chicago, October 31 – November 3, 2013.
Mark Lyman, SOFA CHICAGO founder and president of The Art Fair Company, will continue his involvement in a consulting capacity. Donna Davies, SOFA CHICAGO’s long-?time Fair Director, will join Urban Expositions and maintain her current position. Continuity will also be maintained as The Art Fair Company will continue to provide operational services and their walls and lights used for the fair’s construction.
“We are thrilled to take ownership of an event that is so well known and respected by galleries, collectors, museum curators, artists, dealers and countless other members of the international art and design communities,” says Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions. “With the expert guidance and invaluable industry insight of Mark Lyman, Donna Davies and the entire SOFA team, we will initiate a seamless transition process through to the 2013 fair that builds upon the event’s solid foundation and impressive reputation by continuing to grow its exhibit, educational, and networking opportunities.”
“Urban Expositions is the perfect management team to take over the ownership of SOFA,” explains Mark Lyman. “Urban partners Doug Miller and Tim von Gal have built their own company through a hands-on management style and keen desire to truly understand and serve the specialized needs and business goals of their customers. When we began talking about the acquisition opportunity, they instantly understood that this fair’s distinctive focus, unique educational programming and sense of community were the underlying keys to its longevity. I have every confidence they will continue to enhance the SOFA experience for the international art community.”
Lyman launched SOFA CHICAGO at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in 1994. The first edition drew 58 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors. Located at Navy Pier since 1995, today SOFA CHICAGO attracts around 80 exhibitors each year and its average attendance is close to 34,000.
The artwork exhibits are presented from dealers around the world in a host of media, including glass, ceramics, textiles, wood and metalwork by artists at every stage of their careers. SOFA CHICAGO features a signature lecture series, including presentations by renowned artists, collectors, curators, critics and designers. In addition, a number of special exhibits, tours and live demonstrations further enhance the educational outreach of the fair.