OAF 2021

A case study in co-ordinating a distributed multi venue art fair.

OAF 2021

Running any fair is no easy task but keeping things organised when the fair is distributed across multiple venues is something for only the brave hearted.

Outside Art Fair, known for supporting self taught artists, was one of the first fairs to opt to return to an IRL fair format after a year online but with one major difference to previous editions: the fair would take place across multiple galleries and venues in New York.

With the fair scheduled for the first week of February 2021 and with large events off the table OAF2021 decided to harness the collective resources of participating galleries and offer it's audience something different.

Managing a distributed fair wasn't an entirely novel idea but with the additional challenges of managing capacity at a variety of venues and capturing contact tracing details being imperative, OAF came to ARTSVP to help handle the bookings.

How OAF managed bookings across multiple venues

OAF decided that after visitors bought a pass, they could then book times for each of the participating galleries. As the individual gallery booking pages could be shared it was important to use clear messaging when bookings were made that a pass was also required and links made it easy to book one.

With bookings coming in throughout the fair it was important that the gallerists on the doors had up to date guest-lists. This is where ARTSVP's access feature came into play. OAF could provide access to each gallery to see the live guest list for their booking page. All the participating galleries had to do was sign up on a free ARTSVP account and accept the invite to manage bookings for their venue.

This access feature allowed the galleries to check in guests whilst OAF remind in control of the booking data, while growing their mailing list and understand attendance rates across all venues.

Handling Walk-ins

It was also important that the galleries could record the details of walk in visitors. Although pass holders were encouraged to book ahead to guarantee entry and avoid queuing, visitors could visit galleries if there was space.

With ARTSVP it was easy for each venue to add details of walk in guests directly to the same guest-list they were using to check people in.

Marketing (harnessing the exhibitors audiences)

One interesting opportunity that arose from having the fair distributed across multiple galleries was that they would each be incentivised to promote their own show.

Each gallery could therefor share their own booking link and when a booking was made, as well as visitors being asked to buy a pass, they could also easily click to see and book the other shows.

Using this collective outreach helped all participating galleries increase footfall.

In Summary

Fair owner Andrew Edlin sums it up best in this message he recorded at the end of the fair:


If you are running a distributed fair or gallery weekend and want to take bookings or handle guest-lists please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help. Get in touch here