Thursday, May 23, 2024 May 23, 2024
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Art of the City: The Men Behind the Dallas Art Fair

photography by Billy Surface

Behind their suits and fixed smiles, art dealer Chris Byrne (left) and commercial real estate developer John Sughrue are two of Dallas’ biggest cheerleaders. It was their belief in the city’s potential to be an international cultural destination that spawned the inaugural Dallas Art Fair, which takes place February 5 through 8 at Sughrue’s Fashion Industry Gallery downtown. Well, that and wanting something to do on the weekends. “Why do I want an art fair in Dallas? So I can go to it,” Sughrue says. After years of talking about organizing something like this, the longtime friends and fellow East Coast transplants decided it was time to make it happen. “It’s really things aligning in the right way,” Byrne says. “It seems like the right time in Dallas.” He’s alluding to what he calls the “zeitgeist” surrounding the 68-acre Arts District. To him, it’s not only a hub of cultural activity, but also an invaluable marketing tool for attracting dealers and exhibitors to the city’s center. For his part, Sughrue, the man behind the Magnolia Theatre, Stephan Pyles restaurant, and Museum Tower, is happy to build something without bricks and mortar. “I’m every bit as interested in this type of opportunity as I am a built edifice,” he says. “It’s all a part of what I enjoy, which is seeing this city grow and prosper.” Go to for more info.