When the International Art Fair of Bogotá (ARTBO) launched 14 years ago, one of the leading objectives of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce was to promote Colombia’s capital as an international art destination.

As ARTBO gears up for its latest edition, launching on October 25, the fair has consolidated itself as one of the most important art events in the Americas, and this year, 70 galleries from 19 countries are participating. A newcomer to the fair that will cover 13,000-square meters of exhibition space is Turkey, represented by the Zilberman Gallery.

During four intensive days, ARTBO becomes the business platform for artists to establish contact with national and international buyers. But, beyond the networking aspect, director María Paz Gaviria believes that this fair differentiates itself from others because, “it is fundamentally connected to Bogotá’s urban vibe.”

With thousands of works on display, covering all formats, artistic movements and concepts, ARTBO continues to strengthen the development of the capital as a hub for the cultural industries by welcoming gallery owners, curators, collectors and some 35,000 visitors.

As part of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce’s commitment to making Bogotá an innovative – and invigorating – arts destination, the business entity also hosts ARTBO Fin de Semana during the mid-year, in which the city becomes a walkable art circuit, divided into neighborhoods, from the bustling city center to La Macarena, and edgy San Felipe.

ARTBO Weekend is the summer prelude for the much-anticipated October fair, and while its role is quintessentially business-to-business, ARTBO engages the public with eight categories, including the free lecture series Foro. Curator Sara Hermann, visual arts advisor to the Cultural Center Eduardo León Jimenes in Santiago, Dominican Republic, will moderate the talks relating to how territorial identity and agriculture impact the art process.

In Artecámara, ARTBO enthusiasts will admire the works of up-and-coming national talents who may not have artistic representation, yet have been selected by the Chamber’s appointed curator. For this year’s edition, Carolina Ponce de León was chosen to select works based on the theme: Todo lo tengo, todo me falta – or loosely translated: I have everything, I lack everything.

The international participation in ARTBO covers a berth of experience and well-heeled locations, as galleries from Spain, Germany, Denmark, United States, France, United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal, to name a few, descend on Bogotá. Joining this list are galleries based in the Caribbean and those representing every South American country.

The global art circuit is highly-competitive, and there is no shortage of industry real estate for showing contemporary art, from the Miami-Art Basel to ARCOmadrid, London’s Scope and The Armory in New York. But, what has cemented ARTBO’s reputation as an obligatory stop can largely be attributed to its core objective: to be the creative epicenter for a slate of other art related events taking place the same week across the city, many in small, alternative cultural spaces, such as Feria Odeón, Feria del Millón and the community-driven Barcú.

“ARTBO has democratized the art scene in Bogotá with a business model that is closely integrated with the social fabric,” claims María Paz Gaviria. “It’s about generating visibility for artists, not just those participating in ARTBO. Employment has to include everyone across the value chain, even our picture framers.”

Corferias’ main pavilion will house the 70 participating galleries, a first encounter for many with what is the most contemporary in contemporary art. At the main entrance, ARTBO commissioned an installation by Venezuela’s Carlos Cruz-Diez, one of the founding fathers of the Op Art movement in which color and optical illusion meld to create a multi-dimensional experience.

While representatives from the art world meander through the stalls striking deals with members from top-tier galleries Niels Stærk, Leon Tovar, Mor Charpentier, and Jérome Poggi, others are lured to a section called 21m2, set aside for emerging venues that have been in business for less than six years. In a space of 21-square meters are some of the most avant-guard, surreal and eye-catching proposals of ARTBO. In the section titled Sitio are the installations and sculptures that require even more space, a thought-provoking area enjoyed by all, regardless of age.

Book lovers also have space at ARTBO with the section Libro de Artista (Artist Book) in which editorial projects from national and international publishers showcase editions as artistic objects and platforms for creative experimentation. For those who enjoy making historical associations, Referentes (References) aims to establish a dialogue with the past, and curator Pilar Tompkins of the Los Angeles-based Vincent Price Art Museum will examine works that have transformed art history.

In Proyectos, commercially represented artists get recognition for their work, and for this edition, the selection has been curated by Guatemalan Emiliano Valdés. Projects is another example of ARTBO’s ethos, or in the words of Gaviria “how to be truly international, one must go local.”

While the fair offers a grounded perspective on where art is heading in Latin America, it also focuses on the expansion of the domestic market, such as drawing in new collectors. For this years showcase, ARTBO will publish a catalog in which works ranging from COP$1 million pesos to COP$6 million are featured. “We want to continue promoting an active participation by the public in all things cultural,” claims the director, adding that ARTBO 2018 will not just showcase a diverse palette of talent, but also show why Colombia maintains a privileged place in the world of art.

For complete program listing visit: www.artbo.co and follow the event on social media @feriaARTBO (Twitter), @feriaartbo (Instagram), ARTBO (Facebook).