Following an initial foray in the print sector, fair director Andy McDougall started his career in the art business in 1990 stretching and framing canvases for a local Fine Art Dealer and Auctioneer.
He quickly worked his way up to sales and event manager covering weekly UK exhibitions and fine art auctions and was responsible for booking venues and events marketing.
In 2001 he set up arte in europa, a company primarily concerned with promoting artists living and working in Italy.
After exhibiting at many exhibitions and art fairs in the UK, Ireland and France it became obvious that there was nothing in his home town on the same scale as some of the events he had exhibited at, so in 2004 he and arte in europa began work on Edinburgh’s first ever international contemporary art fair.
Contemporary Art Fair Edinburgh (Cafe) opened its doors in November 2005 with 50 galleries from the UK, Ireland, and Spain exhibiting.
It was decided that for 2006 the fair should be renamed the Edinburgh Art Fair to appeal to a wider audience and it proved to be a wise decision as it was a huge success.
The fair attracted exhibitors, visitors and artists from all four corners of the globe and has now firmly established itself as Scotland's largest annual art show.
Further fairs and exhibitions have been organised since Cafe in 2005 including Cambridge Art Fair, Devon Art Fair, Art Cheshire and the Glasgow Art Show, although the Edinburgh Art Fair remains the flagship event.
arte in europa, to date, have worked with over 200 galleries and around 4000 artists from around the world. Their events have been viewed by over 100,000 enthusiastic visitors and have achieved art sales in excess of £8 million.
The secret to the success of their events is that they lack pretence and red carpet snobbery, and are intentionally open, inclusive and accessible to all who have an interest in art, whether as a prospective first time buyer, an avid collector, or simply, an eager spectator.