Founded in 1983, FotoFest International was established to promote international awareness of museum-quality photo and mixed-media art from around the world. The first FotoFest Biennial was held in 1986. It is the first and longest running photographic arts festival in the United States, and is considered to be one of the leading international photography Biennials in the world.
As an international platform for serious photographic arts exhibitions, the FotoFest Biennial has become known as a
showcase for the discovery and presentation of important new work and new talent from around the world. The Biennial takes place citywide in Houston with participation from the leading art museums, art galleries, non-profit art spaces, universities and civic spaces. The FotoFest Biennial has an audience of 275,000 people from 34 countries. This audience includes a select group of 150 museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, photography collectors, directors of non-profit art spaces and international festivals from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States.