Billed as the longest running art fair west of New York and one of the largest photography-based art fairs in the country, photo l.a. will mark its 20th anniversary Friday through Monday, Jan.14 through 17, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

The festival brings together photography dealers from around the world to display contemporary photography, video and multi-media installations along with masterworks from the 19th century.

This is the 48th art fair produced by Stephen Cohen, the director of photo l.a. 2011.

For this year’s event, photo l.a. is joining with artLA projects to present contemporary art galleries as a prelude to the larger artLA 2011 event, organizers said.

The artLA event was created in 2004 as a public event bringing together a mix of national and international galleries, artists, collectors and curators for a visual dialogue on the current art scene. An artLA spokesperson said this commitment to presenting the most challenging art being produced today has led to the creation of artLA projects, an ongoing citywide program of dynamic and innovative installations, exhibitions, seminars and conversations with established and cutting-edge artists in all media.

photo l.a. 2011 and artLA projects returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with an added 7,000-square foot tented canopy entrance. This space provides for sculpture, installations, book signings and seating. The expansive lobby includes a Phaidon bookstore, seating area, café, and coffee bar. The event also features a new VIP balcony lounge and video viewing area.

For information, to view the schedule of events or to purchase tickets, www.photola.com.

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