Donna Davies Spotlight: An Interview with Donna Davies, Vice President, Art Group | Director, SOFA CHICAGO

Donna Davies is the Vice President of Art for Urban Expositions, and the director of SOFA Chicago (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair), the premier art show in the country dedicated primarily to sculpture. Before joining SOFA, Davies was the Director of the Marx-Saunders Gallery in Chicago for more than six years; and Assistant Director of Contemporary Art for Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., for four years.

 Donna Davies runs the Art Group’s annual shows including the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. The fifth edition of the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair debuts on Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Palm Springs Convention Center with its Black Card/VIP receptions and preview sale. PSFAF is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 14 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets for Palm Springs Fine Art Fair are available at

Kate Buckley: Donna, tell me about being VP of Art for Urban Expositions. Sounds like a fascinating job! And you’re based in Chicago?

Donna Davies: I do have a fascinating and fun position. I am based in Chicago and oversee all 5 art fairs for Urban Expositions, so I am constantly working on new challenges, initiatives, and working with great people—my team and galleries alike.

KB: Why the decision to include Palm Springs in the Art Group’s annual shows?

DD: Palm Springs offers our galleries access to knowledgeable art collectors and a passionate arts audience in the city and surrounding area. Adding Palm Springs to our art fair portfolio was a logical choice for us.

KB: Over its short five years, PSFAF has become one of the must-see art collectors markets in the world, attracting more than 14,000 guests from galleries, museum and private collectors from around the world to purchase works by notable artists. How do you select your artists, and do your artist for PSAF differ from those curated for other markets?

DD: We only work with galleries and we choose the galleries based on the artists they represent. We curate the gallery participation so that we can offer an art fair where collectors will see work by seasoned galleries showing the best in their various genres. Our Palm Springs fair has a focus on post-war and contemporary art, whereas some of our other markets have a focus on contemporary art only. There have been so many artists who have focused their subject matter on the Desert or have spent time here, so this genre has an audience in Palm Springs.

KB: This is the fifth edition of the PSAF. How will this year be different from previous years?

DD: You will see a number of new galleries from all over the country at this year’s fair. Galleries such as Evoke Contemporary from Santa Fe, Lyons Wier Gallery from New York, and Scott White Contemporary from San Diego returns to the fair this year. This year’s edition of the fair will offer truly something for everyone in all materials—painting, sculpture, mixed-media, and ceramics.

KB: Which artists are you the most excited about this year and why?

DD: We are excited about all of the artists and galleries presenting at this year’s fair!

>KB: Tell me about the private Black Card Reception and Preview Sale (to be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, pictured at right). That sounds intriguing!

DD: The Black Card Reception offers a “First Look” at the Fair from 6-7:30pm. This will give Black Card attendees a sneak peek and first chance to acquire works from participating galleries.

KB: Where do you stay when you come to Palm Springs?

DD: I stay at the official “sanctuary” hotel of the fair, the Hilton Palm Springs Resort.

KB: Donna Davies, what is it you love most about the community of Palm Springs? 

DD: As a Chicagoan, the weather in Palm Springs cannot be beat in February! But aside from that, I love the diversity of the city, its passion and commitment to the arts, and of course, the mid-century modern architecture.

Please see below for a sneak peak at the fabulous art featured at this year’s PSAF!

About David J Castello

David J Castello is the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer for the Castello Cities Internet Network (,,, etc). His debut novel, The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) was published in 2016.

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