|SOFA CHICAGO Celebrates 20th Annual Fair
at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall
Debut of CONNECT — Design Environments Created by
Top Art and Design Schools
CHICAGO – The 20th annual SOFA CHICAGO, the world’s foremost fair devoted to Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design, will be on view at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall from November 1 – Sunday, November 3, 2013. The three-day event kicks off with an Opening Night Preview on Thursday, October 31 from 5 to 9 p.m., celebrating SOFA CHICAGO’s landmark 20 years with a first look at cutting-edge art and design presented by galleries from across the U.S. and around the world.
SOFA CHICAGO is one of the longest-running art fairs in the U.S. and the oldest in Chicago. When it opened at Chicago’s Sheraton Hotel and Towers in 1994, the fair drew 58 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors. Located at Navy Pier since 1995, today SOFA CHICAGO attracts almost 100 exhibitors each year and its average attendance is close to 34,000—an increase of more than 100%.
SOFA CHICAGO’s distinguished dealers exhibit glass, ceramics, textiles, wood and metalwork by artists at every stage of their careers, including late masters like Sam Maloof and Ruth Duckworth, noteworthy luminaries such as Dutch ceramicist Henk Wolvers and Australia-based glass artist Klaus Moje and established artists such as Wendell Castle and Jun Kaneko, whose large-scale sculptures are now on view in his Chicago solo exhibition Legends, Myths and Truths in Millennium Park through November 3, 2013.
For 2013, SOFA CHICAGO will debut CONNECT, a special student design competition featuring up to six prestigious art and design schools including Pratt Institute (New York) and Edinburgh College of Art (Scotland), as well as several others to be announced later this summer. Each institution will create a lounge environment showcasing students’ seating elements, lighting and art. In addition, students from three participating schools will be chosen to work with The Corning Museum of Glass on glass design prototypes as part of CONNECT. The chosen designs will be created in glass by Corning Museum artists and one school’s design will be created at The Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Roadshow during SOFA CHICAGO.
While SOFA CHICAGO has longstanding relationships with museums, top collectors, and professional associations such as the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the American Craft Council, the fair welcomes newcomers. “It’s a great place to start your collection,” says cofounder Anne Meszko. Visitors
can buy works from emerging artists, meet hundreds of artists in person, and learn about their work at SOFA’s signature lectures and special exhibits—included with admission—which approximately
3,000 people attended in 2012.
Additional support is provided by CS, the Exclusive Luxury Media Partner of SOFA CHICAGO. CS magazine is the premier luxury lifestyle magazine in Chicago, acting as the local authority on topics like high-end retail, dining hot spots, design trends, and Chicago’s top tastemakers and personalities. As part of the award-winning Modern Luxury network of regional publications, CS is able to deliver cutting-edge fashion spreads, international travel features and revealing celebrity profiles, ensuring its content consistently engages the cultured reader.
CS Marketing Director Allison Cooke added that “As the Exclusive Media Partner of SOFA CHICAGO, CS is proud to support the 20th annual international art and design fair, as it celebrates the masterworks of contemporary and modern arts and design, sculpture and visionary art and as it continues to excel in being the largest and longest continually running art fair in Chicago. CS and SOFA CHICAGO will work together in capturing Chicago’s attention and will attract Chicago’s most influential and affluent for the 20th anniversary of the fair.”
When he’s asked what enabled SOFA CHICAGO to survive for a remarkable 20 years, Lyman credits the fair’s distinctive focus, unique educational programs and convivial spirit: “I have had people say, ‘I have finished collecting. My house is full. I have been telling myself all year that I need to not buy anything. But I come to SOFA because it’s a great place to get together with artists, with dealers, with friends. I also want to learn, and there are such extraordinary educational opportunities, I just can’t miss the show.’ And, lo and behold—sometimes they end up buying something.”