Q&A with Stephanie Manasseh, Founder and CEO of (ACAF) Accessible Art Fair Brussels and Co-director of ACAFNY
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I am a Canadian curator and entrepreneur in the arts. I completed my studies at McGill University in Montreal and continued at Sotheby’s and Goldsmiths. I left my native Canada to settle in Europe in 1997. My passion has always been to elevate the status of unrepresented artists and offer them a high-end platform in which to showcase their works and to network with people who are responsive to buying art. I started the ACAF in 2006 in Brussels and set out to do just that and for the last 13 years I have had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary people in the arts. In 2015 and 2016 I had a wonderful opportunity to act as curator for BMW and implement their Art & Design Sessions. I had the chance to work with the late Marc Lagrange, Xavier Lust and the legendary Terry O’Neill. I really enjoy linking brands to art as I think that both benefit greatly by working together. Other examples of these professional and artistic partnerships have included American Express, BMW, Montblanc, Tiffany, Alfa Romeo and recently with The Bicester Shopping Collection. I have had several speaking engagements which I also enjoy which have included, The New York Times ‘Art For Tomorrow’ conference in Qatar, a Ted X talk and Central St Martins in London. I also recently directed a documentary about ACAF.
When was the Accessible Art Fair founded and what is its ethos?
I founded ACAF in 2006 and the ethos has always been to give a high end platform to artists without gallery representation and offer a place to exhibit, once chosen by the jury. All artwork is priced below 20,000 euro and many works are significantly lower. I also strive to offer visitors the opportunity to see the art in great venues that don’t necessarily fit what people would expect from an art fair. I have run the fair in hotels, private members’ clubs housed in a mid-century building, Jewish museum to celebrate our 10 year anniversary to re-open the museum after the shootings in Brussels, and for the last 3 years at Bozar, one of Brussels’ leading art institutions and a magnificent Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta.
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