The Other Places Art Fair: For those who ‘don’t care about selling art’

By Zoie Matthew

An installation by Niche Gallery appears at the Other Places Art Fair in 2021. Photo courtesy of the Other Places Art Fair.

The art world can be hard to navigate — high prices, its own lingo, fancy galleries that don’t always feel welcoming. That’s where Other Places Art Fair comes in. It’s a free, public, pop-up fair with an egalitarian flair, and it takes place this weekend in San Pedro. 

K Knittel, who founded the fair in 2018, says their 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 their 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 just looking at you like you're insane,” says Knittel. “I think you can either be dismissive of those moments, or you can lean into them and just say … this thing I do needs to be a little more clear, it needs to be a little more open, and needs to be a little more friendly.”

The Other Places Art Fair is meant to be an alternative to traditional gallery spaces, which are often driven by profit and art world politics. 

“You will see paintings, you will see sculpture, you will see books and things that you recognize as art objects,” says Knittel. “But the hope is that also then you are having an experience, because then you’re stumbling upon something else.” 

There are experimental endeavors too, like a project that features mealworms eating styrofoam over the course of several days. 

The fair also intentionally affordable for artists to participate in. 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, were taught is the core reason why you make art, which is, it's a creative endeavor that is how you speak,” 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 organized by two of the participants. Kites crafted by more than 20 artists will be shown and flown at the dramatic cliffside park. 

It will be a day filled with contemporary art, conversation, and community building.

“It's in this setting where it's outside, it's near the ocean, and it's a beautiful day in the park,” says Knittel. “And you can enter into that space because you're not feeling like it's being presented in this way that you need to speak the language to understand it.”