The art world can be difficult to navigate – high prices, its own lingo, fancy galleries that don’t always feel welcoming. This is where Other Places Art Fair comes in. It’s a free, public, pop-up fair with an egalitarian twist, and it’s taking place this weekend in San Pedro.
K Knittel, who founded the fair in 2018, says his goal was to create a space where everyone feels comfortable engaging with art. Knittel, who is a practicing artist, was inspired by conversations they had with family members, who don’t always understand art world terminology.
“You’ll use a word you use all the time in these art conversations, and you’ll see your family looking at you like you’re crazy,” says Knittel. “I think you can either dismiss those moments or lean into them and just say…this thing that I’m doing needs to be a little clearer, it needs to be a little more open and needs to be a little friendlier.”
The Other Places art fair aims to be an alternative to traditional gallery spaces, often driven by profit and the politics of the art world.
“You’ll see paintings, you’ll see sculptures, you’ll see books and things that you recognize as art,” says Knittel. “But the hope is that then too you have an experience, because then you come across something else.”
There are also experimental efforts, such as a project that features mealworms eating Styrofoam for several days.
The fair is also intentionally affordable for artists. The goal, says Knitel, is “an art fair where people don’t care about selling art.”
“You take the stress of being a business out of the equation, and you get back to…what we as artists have learned is the main reason you make art, which is to say it’s a creative business that’s the way you talk,” says Knittel.
This weekend’s fair, which will take place in and around San Pedro’s Angels Gate Cultural Center, will also feature a special kite show hosted by two of the attendees. Kites made by more than 20 artists will be displayed and flown in the spectacular cliffside park.
It will be a day filled with contemporary art, conversation and community building.
“It’s in that setting where it’s outdoors, it’s by the ocean, and it’s a beautiful day in the park,” says Knittel. “And you can walk into that space because you don’t feel like it’s laid out in that way that you have to speak the language to understand it.”