SEATTLE -- Friday marks the start of a busy weekend in Seattle. Not only is Seafair in full swing, the inaugural Seattle Art Fair opens to the public at CenturyLink Field Event Center Friday, showcasing art from around the world.

Members of the local art community are calling the event a "big deal." There are more than 60 galleries on site backed by support from major art collector Paul Allen.

The art will be in Seattle for the next three days. Contemporary and modern art has traveled hundreds and thousands of miles for a visit to the Emerald City.

"It's really important for the work to get out of the region in which it was conceived," said San Francisco art historian Catharine Clark.

Clark has been running a gallery for 25 years. Her gallery exhibit includes work from the West Coast and Asia. She's anxious to show off her gallery and to learn what Seattle has to offer.

"What the art fair allows is for you to reach a completely new audience, a generally new audience in a different location with often a cross-section of one's gallery," Clark said.

A big focus for founder Paul Allen is to draw attention to the art of the Northwest.

"There's a great dialogue between the artists in Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle," said Vulcan senior curator Greg Bell.

Bell says this weekend allows emerging artists in Seattle to have a chance to be seen on a wider basis -- an opportunity to promote Seattle's dynamic art community.

"It's a great way to bring international and national galleries in to have a dialogue with local galleries," said Mary Ann Prior, Vulcan's director of art collections.

That dialogue extends to the public. Experts at the fair want to hear from you. The public is invited to walk the aisles and ask questions.

The fair runs 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon – 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 for one day or $30 for a three-day pass.