Navigating Boston's Art Fairs

Navigating Boston's Art Fairs

From the broad, winding streets of the Back Bay to the hip corners of Somerville, Boston's art scene unravels itself in the vibrant colors, bold strokes and textured materials of art fair exhibits, where artists, collectors and enthusiasts meet. Knowing how to navigate the dynamic and sometimes overwhelming milieu of Boston's art fairs can take your artistic journey from good to great. Read on for a quick guide on how to take full advantage of the rich tapestry of art fairs this breathtaking city offers.

A Tour Through Boston's Art Fairs

Whether you're drawn towards contemporary pieces, folk art, fine art photography or something else entirely, Boston's art fairs have something to fuel every creative flame. Here’s a comprehensive directory of art fairs to set you on your way.

SoWa Art + Design District

The South of Washington Street district, affectionately nicknamed SoWa, is the heart of Boston’s artist community. The open market held here during the summer months is rich with one-of-a-kind pieces from emerging and established local artists. As you traverse through the market, you will have a unique opportunity to engage with the artisans in real-time, bearing witness to their creative process directly. This shared experience is truly what differentiates SoWa from other art fairs in the city.

Boston International Fine Art Show (BIFAS)

For those interested in high-end pieces, the Boston International Fine Art Show is the place to be. This premier show operates under the mantra of "Art for everyone" in hopes of breaking down barriers, eliminating any stereotypes that fine art is exclusive or unapproachable. There's something inherently social about the fair’s atmosphere, promoting conversation and contemplation, fostering a community of art enthusiasts.

How To Navigate Art Fairs

Boasting a different theme and atmosphere, each art fair in Boston offers a unique experience. Here are some vital tips for making the most of your gallery outings.

Plan Your Visit

The first step towards art fair exploration requires a well-thought-out roadmap. Check the websites of the art fairs or events you're interested in to get the lay of the land. Understand the scheduling, the artists, and galleries that are featured, and what their rules of conduct are. With this information at hand, you'll be better equipped to time your visit strategically.

Engage With the Art World

Art fairs are about more than just the physical pieces of art - they represent an opportunity to immerse yourself in the art world. Make sure to have an open discussion with gallery representatives, other patrons, and even the artists themselves. Ask questions, share commentary, and make connections. The more engaged you are, the richer your experience will be.

Combine Leisure With Learning

Strive for a healthy balance between enjoyment and learning. These art fairs provide educational components such as talks, panel discussions, and guided tours. Consider supplementing your fair visit with these activities for a well-rounded experience in the art world.

Soak Up and Share the Experience

Enjoy the fairs at your own leisure. Immerse yourself in the charismatic charm that is the Boston art scene. Keep track of artists or styles that resonate with you, potentially laying the groundwork for a burgeoning art collection. Share the experience –- bring a friend, take some photographs or jot down some notes; do what it takes to create a memorable experience.


With Boston's bustling arts scene, the amount of art fairs and festivals might seem overwhelming at first glance. However, with a bit of preparation and an open mind, they can be an enriching exploration of all things creative. Whether you're a seasoned art critic or a novice just looking to appreciate a new craft, time spent at Boston’s art fairs can be an unforgettable experience. It's more than about just visiting an art fair; it's about becoming part of the art world itself.