CLARION Arts, the owners and organisers of the three annual Olympia fairs in West London, have reaffirmed their commitment to the Spring Olympia and appointed a dedicated show manager for that troubled event.

Ruth Minchin has joined Clarion to oversee next year’s relaunch of Spring Olympia as an art and design fair, but she will be answerable to Freya Simms, who is show director of all three fairs.

Ms Minchin comes from the ideal background for her new task having spent the past 10 years working in the Contemporary art and design market, most recently for Tom Dixon, who is head of design at Habitat.

Launched 12 years ago, the Spring Olympia is the most recent of the three fairs and has struggled to find an identity and its place in the market. Clarion tackled the problem by introducing more and more contemporary and modern design into this fair and in 2005 reinvented the event with a new look and a new name Fine Art, Design and Antiques.

The fair still failed to impress and after a particularly unsatisfactory staging this year, Clarion again had a complete rethink and in May announced that from next year it would cease to be an antiques fair and would be given over to art and design.

Clarion will issue details of the fair’s brand identity and, most eagerly awaited, its new name, next month. But they have revealed the event, which will run from March 1-4, will comprise contemporary art, photography, ceramics, sculpture and design and will be marketed specifically to young and new collectors eager to buy works from all genres.

The new show manager told ATG: “This 20th and 21st century fair will focus on unique pieces, offering new and established buyers the opportunity to grow their collections in a dynamic environment that is driven by current market needs.”

She added: “This new concept has met with much enthusiasm from the trade”.

By David Moss