Inaugural ARTlanta Fair highlights local talent

Photo courtesy of ARTlanta Gallery

Looking to eat a funnel cake while looking at innovative paintings? Or ride a Ferris wheel after watching a local artist perform? The upcoming ARTlanta Fair combines the typical components of an art show and a fair: visual art, performance art,
music, amusement rides, games, fried food.

This event aims to fill a void in the Atlanta creative community by highlighting local art. “We’re in the habit of going to other places to show off our talent, like we’ll go to Art Basel, we’ll go to LA or New York. But there’s really nothing here for us, by us, so I’m trying to create that,” said Tyree Smith, founder of the ARTlanta Gallery.

Smith and the Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) are debuting the ARTlanta Fair on April 12 through 15 and will feature over 50 local artists, including Miya Bailey, Fabian Williams and Ebo Haze.

The four-day event will have activities for youth from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; evening events from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. are for an 18 and over audience. Adult events include a “Music. Arts. Drinks. (MAD)” event on Thursday, April 12 and an ‘80s-themed party on Saturday, April 14. Both events run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 for all ages and can be bought in advance at

The Fair embodies the ARTlanta Gallery’s goal of creating a platform for young creatives. By putting on non-traditional arts events, the gallery tries to “get the youth to swallow the pill of art a lot easier,” Smith explained, comparing their process to the “Spoonful of Sugar” song in “Mary Poppins.”

Smith himself was fascinated with fairs since childhood, even dreaming of running away with the circus. Now he is excited to “have everybody run away to the circus for four days” and build an inclusive community for the arts in this fun atmosphere.

The festivities on Sunday will also benefit a good cause. During an art drive from 12 to 5 p.m., art supplies can be donated in lieu of buying a ticket, and The Book Bank Foundation will redistribute the collected supplies to local schools. The nonprofit promotes literacy and also combats hunger, homelessness and abuse.

Serving as the Vice Chair of the Fort McPherson Public Art Council, on the MARTA En Route Art Council and as a Jury Panelist for Art on the Beltline, Smith’s involvement in the arts community goes far beyond curating.

“Recognizing that we need to bring some positive awareness and attention to Fort McPherson, we’re trying to create a nexus for creatives here,” Smith said. This historic military community in southwestern Atlanta is undergoing revitalization, and Smith noted that the local government has been helpful in making this “safe haven for creatives” possible.

While the ARTlanta Gallery is currently focused on managing the Fair, they hope to expand with locations throughout the metro area in the future.

As for the Atlanta arts scene and its competition with established cities, Smith sees the future as bright so long as avenues that other global cities and arts hubs have, like public funding and sponsorships, are developed.

“It’s a game of catch up right now, but I think we’re going to get there sooner than everybody expects,” Smith predicted. Catch a glimpse of the artists who will lead Atlanta into this future on April 12 through 15.