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The Art Show and our Sustainability 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 has achieved thus far include:

  • Removal of single-use carpeting in the Drill Hall aisles.
  • Transition from printed program to a digital program, paperless tickets, and digital signage.
  • Switch from cut flower arrangements to live trees and plants that were planted post-fair in the tri-state area.
  • Switch to all LED lights in the Drill Hall.
  • Provide 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 include:

  • Reduction of food waste in café during run of show, and implementation of composting.
  • Use of certified compostable food containers in the café and for exhibitor hospitality (coffee, meals, etc.).
  • Pre-sorting of recyclable material to ensure greater accuracy of waste management.
  • Resourcing locally: where cut flowers are necessary, they will be sustainably harvested from the florist’s local garden and composted post-fair.
  • Reduction of the number of decorative scrims in the front-of-house.
  • Continued re-use of the decorative carpet in front-of-house and exhibitor lounge.
  • Planned donation from The Art Show to Art to Acres.
  • Development of an ADAA members webinar, hosted by LHL Consulting, to guide members in the creation of a climate action plan for their gallery.
  • An expansion of the CIR initiative. To date, over 50 exhibitors have agreed to participate.

Interested in learning more? Here are some helpful links: