The Affordable Art Fair

The Affordable Art Fair

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Earlier this year, we were invited to be the Official Charity Partner of the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, which culminated in an opportunity to spend the week at the fair this month. We caught up with our Development team who have spent the past few weeks working on this project, and asked them for a debrief on the event.

How did Koestler Arts become the Official Charity Partner for this year’s Affordable Art Fair Spring?

A few month’s ago we were approached by the fair, who encouraged us to put forward an application to be the Charity Partner. When we found out we had been selected we were, as you can imagine, very excited – we knew this would be a great opportunity to showcase artwork from across the UK’s criminal justice system to a whole new audience. We later found out from one of our former Trustees that Koestler Arts (then the Koestler Trust) had actually been the first Charity Partner of the fair around 15 years ago, so it felt very full circle to be asked to return!

Tell us about your week at the Affordable Art Fair – what presence did Koestler Arts have there?

The fair organisers gave us a booth where we could display artwork and information about our work, so we spent our first few days in Hampstead preparing our stand – we were surrounded by over 100 professional galleries, so we knew it had to be up to scratch to stand out! We chose to display a selection of work from our permanent collection – Koestler Awards artwork from past years that has been donated to us – and visual artwork made by current and former artists from our mentoring scheme.

We were also asked to join the programme of talks at the Private View, so our Trustee Gary Mansfield and Development Director, Mali Clements, presented an interesting Q&A and discussion about the impact of creativity on the lives of people in secure settings. We were later told our talk had the biggest audience!

What was the highlight for you?

As a fundraiser it was great, with artwork sales and donations from the week raising over £5,000 which will go towards supporting our Arts Mentoring scheme as it enters its 11th year, providing support for even more people leaving prison this year. It was also fantastic to share the work with a completely new audience, and see people’s reactions and how they connected with the pieces. We look forward to returning to the fair next year, as visitors!