50 years ago, a group of parent volunteers from the Parent Teacher Association got together to organize the very first Art Fair. Harriet Austin, Lola García and Jeannette Martínez asked the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Robert McBride, for help in organizing an art exhibit. Mr. McBride offered to host the event at the U.S. Embassy residence.
This first Art Fair was the beginning of a long tradition for the ASF community. Every year, the second Saturday in November, families get together to enjoy a day of fun, art and community-building activities.
One of the most important aspects of the Art Fair is that it has always been a major fundraiser for the PA, formerly known as the PTA. All proceeds from the Art Fair fund educational and cultural projects for the School, including student scholarships, even before ASF had an official Endowment Fund for Financial Aid.
Up until 1982, the event was held in the gardens of the U.S. Embassy Residence and during this time, the Art Fair became a renowned event and some of the artists who participated include José Luis Cuevas, Francisco Toledo, Feliciano Béjar and Pedro Friedeberg.
1983 was a turning point for the Art Fair, because it was the first time that it was held on campus, which allowed it to become an even bigger event and more families got involved in its organization.
In September 1985, Mexico City suffered a devastating earthquake. The city was chaotic but the Art Fair committee worked hard and still managed to organize the event. The ASF community has always been committed to helping those in need, and that year, all funds raised during the Art Fair were donated to help rebuild the Alberto Correa School in the Colonia Roma, which was destroyed by the earthquake.
It was around this time that a K-12 student art exhibition was included in the Art Fair, and when the IB Program was introduced in ASF, the Art Fair committee decided to select a senior from the IB Arts Program to be recognized as “Student Artist of the Year”, providing the student with a stand to display his or her work at the Art Fair. The students who have received this award are: Jennifer Troice (2006), Francisco Cordero (2007), Bum Joo Kim (2008), Matías Armendariz (2009), Sharon Moon (2010), Gosbinda Vizarretea (2011), Bernardo Berruga (2012), Natalia García Clark (2013), Lucía Ocejo and Fiona Käch (2014), Alia Suhaimi and Michel Gantous (2015), Majo Robles (2016), Erik Daniels (2017) and Thalassa Kariya (2018). This year, the talented Manuela Cosío (2019).
Other community groups who participate in the fair are the Upper School Clubs, who raise money for their different causes, as well as some renowned restaurants who provide the Art Fair guests with delicious food for every taste.
Not only the visual arts are portrayed at the Art Fair; we have a full schedule of performing artists from the community. Students, teachers, and now our community choir get together to provide entertainment for our guests.
Every year ASF art teachers select a theme for the Art Fair and the students K-12 create artwork based on this theme. Heritage, Self, Utopia and Dreams have been some of the themes that have served as a guideline for the student exhibition. “Transform” is this year’s theme, and we want to reflect on how this event has transformed over the course of 50 years, even though, with great pride we can say that there is something that has never changed. The guiding principle all along has been the hard work, enthusiasm and love that the volunteers have put forth towards the Art Fair, making it a huge success year after year. Today we are celebrating 50 years and looking forward to many more to come!