Tight Budgets, Short Timeline: Frieze Week Heating Up

Frieze Week in Beverly Hills is only two months away, and the city is gearing up to put its best foot forward for the event. Set to take place on Feb. 17-20, the multi-faceted art exhibition is expected to bring in more than 35,000 visitors from around the world.

Enthusiasm is high, although city staff does face some obstacles.

Frieze Los Angeles announced in April that it was moving the acclaimed art fair to Beverly Hills, but by the time partnership efforts with the City of Beverly Hills kicked off, city budgets were already in place for the year. This means funding for city-sponsored activities during the week-long art experience does not technically exist. But city staff told the Courier they are working to find funding, possibly using the existing funds from the Community Services Department special events budget and looking at sponsorship opportunities.

“We’re going to come up with something really fun for the community,” Beverly Hills Director of Community Services Jenny Rogers told the Courier. “We usually figure out how to make something happen. For this February we’re looking at how to best leverage our network and the relationships that we have while being mindful that COVID is still going on and it definitely has economic impacts, and we want to be sensitive to the city’s budget.”

Frieze organizers have faced their own challenges which resulted in tight time constraints. Earlier this year, Frieze Los Angeles 2021 was first postponed until July and later canceled entirely due to COVID-19 social distance guidelines. Frieze was also forced to quickly find a new venue after learning its previous location at Paramount Studios would not be available in 2022. These challenges meant Frieze organizers and the city have had to act fast to make the event possible in February.

“With COVID cases rising, we’re all just mindful that we don’t know what mid-February is going to look like, and I think everybody is just kind of praying that we are able to do the event and have people gather,” said Rogers.

So far, the city is planning a welcome event for Frieze Week in Beverly Hills, though details have not been finalized for that event. The Arts and Culture Commission is also working with Frieze to host city-sponsored docent tours of an outdoor sculpture garden called Frieze Sculpture Beverly Hills.

“We may not be able to do all the things we want to do, but everything we’ve planned out so far seems to be happening,” Arts and Culture Commission Chair Deborah Frank told the Courier.

Frieze Sculpture is a temporary public sculpture exhibit expected for installation in Beverly Gardens Park as a key part of the city’s partnership with Frieze. It has been a popular feature of the fair in cities like London and New York and this will be the first time it has appeared on the West Coast.

The lineup for Frieze Sculpture Beverly Hills remains under wraps as event organizers and the City of Beverly Hills finalize logistics for the outdoor sculpture garden. City staff told the Courier that several artists have been enlisted for the free installation which is expected to have about 15 large-scale sculptures at Beverly Gardens Park.

“Many of the artists will be folks that people recognize and are super excited about,” said Rogers.

Frieze released its gallery line-up and program highlights for its signature tent exhibition Dec. 9. More than 90 galleries from around the world have been named as exhibitors including several Los Angeles-based Galleries.

“This is our first time participating in an art fair actually,” said Zachary Korol-Gold, who co-owns LA’s The Garden art gallery with his fiance?e Britte Geijer. “So, it’s exciting to be invited to Frieze and it’s a really great way to show what we’re about and to show Sarah Rosalena Brady’s work who is an amazing artist.”

The Garden is included as part of Frieze’s Focus Los Angeles program which highlights local galleries that are less than 15 years old.

“For me it was quite important to participate in Frieze LA which is where Baert Gallery is,” gallery owner Christian Baert told the Courier. He will show embroidery art from Iliodora Margellos and watercolor from Paolo Colombo at Frieze. “It’s a new location, so I’m really excited to discover it, and I think it’s going to be great.”

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