International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE) Founders David & Lee Ann Lester have historically opened many new markets for international dealers. They pioneered the Miami Beach market with Art Miami in 1991, Hong Kong with Art Asia Hong Kong in 1992, Palm Beach with the Palm Beach International Art & Antique Fair in 1997 and Art Palm Beach, Beverly Hills with the Beverly Hills International Art & Antique Fair in 1998, and Dallas with the Dallas International Art & Antique Fair in 2000. All have subsequently become major, permanent art fair markets.
In 2011, IFAE will open the untapped, highly affluent Naples (Collier County) market – known as Florida's "Platinum Coast" – to international dealers with the Naples International Art & Antique Fair (February 24- March 1, 2011) and Art Naples (March 17 – 21, 2011). These exciting new fairs will round out IFAE's "Florida Art Season," following the two Palm Beach fairs and the Miami International Art Fair.
Why Naples? The area is one of the most affluent in the United States and is an ideal venue for major international art fairs, as Naples:
- Ranks sixth nationally in a recent study of the wealthiest areas of the U.S.
- Boasts The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, a premier cultural hub featuring the Naples Museum of Art, the nationally recognized Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, a large concert hall which hosts major shows and sells 550,000 seats per year, and an intimate theatre.
- Supports more than 100 local art galleries.
- Hosts the highest profile food & wine event in the U.S., which in the last eight years has raised $69-million for the Naples Children & Educational Foundation.
- Has a rapidly growing population – up 25% over the past decade – with literally hundreds of new high profile shops, restaurants and designer boutiques.
- Hosts a population base made up of affluent winter residents of the U.S. Midwest and Europe, in contrast to Florida's East Coast.
- Has daily international flights to Germany and more than 50 non-stop flights in season to major U.S. cities.
- Has never hosted a major international art fair.
IFAE is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this underserved art market. Its headquarters are located in nearby Bonita Springs, and the Lesters make their home in Naples. Though the city is currently without a convention center or larger exhibition area for events, IFAE has acquired use of a well-located, major fixed facility which is presently being converted into a permanent exhibition pavilion for 2011.
The fairs will be under the patronage of The Philharmonic Center for the Arts – and its legendary founder Myra Janco Daniels – which will be the beneficiary of the opening Vernissage evenings of each fair. The Center has a large, loyal and affluent membership base. The fair openings will be major social events in the city.