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The Art Show and our Sustainability Roadmap Initiative

ADAA commissioned the first-ever Sustainability Roadmap in 2022—a comprehensive guide for The Art Show, which assesses aspects of the fair that might impact climate or general wellness. This initiative aims to chart a course toward analyzing the environmental significance of such events, and by identifying short, mid, and long term goals, to encourage greater sustainability practices going forward, not only for The Art Show, but for art fairs worldwide.


The Sustainability Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the global design and architecture firm Gensler, and ADAA’s thought partners in the initiative: Henry Street Settlement, Sanford L. Smith + Associates, and AXA XL, a division of AXA. Collaboratively, we are acting against the effects of climate change, including its impact in our industry while considering human health and wellbeing.


In 2022, The Art Show asked a pilot group of exhibitors to track their climate impact resulting from participation in the fair, using the Climate Impact Report (CIR) model developed by Artists Commit. These CIRs were tailored by LHL Consulting for exhibitors’ specific participation in our fair. In addition to promoting a practice of self-assessment and building climate-fluency, CIRs submitted for The Art Show will help design more environmentally responsible future fairs. For the 2023 fair, we invited all exhibitors to participate in the CIR process.


Some of the short-term goals The Art Show achieved for the 2022 fair included:

  • Removal of single-use carpeting in the Drill Hall aisles.
  • Transition from printed program to a digital program, paperless tickets, and digital signage.
  • Shift from a reliance on cut flower arrangements throughout the fair to live trees and plants that were planted post-fair in the tri-state area.
  • Switch to all LED lights in the Drill Hall.
  • Provided water stations for exhibitors, and for visitors in the café, to reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles.
  • Ongoing re-use of front-of-house ticketing desks, made from reclaimed lumber.
  • Through the implementation of the above and other initiatives, we reduced waste generated by the 2022 fair by approximately 25%.


Goals for the 2023 fair that were achieved included:

  • Reduced food waste in café during run of show by minimizing the amount of daily pre-prepared food.
  • All packaging used in the café and for exhibitor hospitality (coffee, meals, etc.) was 100% certified compostable.
  • Pre-sorted recyclable material onsite to ensure greater accuracy of waste management.
  • Where used, sustainably harvested cut flowers were resourced locally from the florist’s garden and composted post-fair.
  • Reduced the number of decorative scrims in the front-of-house by 50%.
  • Continued re-use of the decorative carpet in front-of-house and exhibitor lounge.
  • Developed an ADAA members webinar, hosted by LHL Consulting, to guide members in the creation of a climate action plan for their galleries.
  • The Art Show made its first-ever donation, coordinated by Art into Acres, to support the Trout Creek and Pueblos Mountains Preserve, a U.S.-based land conservation project.
  • The CIR initiative was successfully expanded, with more than 30 exhibitors participating. The data compiled in these reports, along with our waste and construction data, is currently being analyzed by Gensler, to help The Art Show build its goal set for the 2024 fair.


Interested in learning more? Here are some helpful links: