Ask any private art gallery owner or artist about the demise of the Glasgow Art Fair in the city's George Square, and you will be hit by a blizzard of differing views.

Art fairs, just like art itself, have a habit of dividing opinion.

The former Glasgow Art Fair ran for 15 consecutive years, from 1996 to 2010, in a temporary tented village over a four-day weekend during spring. Funded to the tune of £80,000 by Glasgow City Council (GCC), it was initially started up in a wave of post-City of Culture optimism, with the aim of providing a showcase for home-grown talent alongside work from outside Scotland.

One of the biggest art fairs in the UK outside London, it was cancelled in 2011 and replaced by Vault in The Briggait. This event received funding of £20,000 from GCC, augmented by £20,000 from Creative Scotland's Own Art scheme. While it was more "cutting-edge" than the Art Fair, it didn't feel, to me at any rate, to be as inclusive. Part of the appeal of the former event was its location in the heart of the city. It was easy to walk in and browse in a way which people perhaps felt intimidated to do in a regular private gallery setting.

Watching from the sidelines was Andy Naismith and his business partner Andy McDougall, whose company, Arte In Europa, had been organising art fairs and related events across Europe for a decade. They are also the duo behind the Edinburgh Art Fair, an annual fixture at Edinburgh's Corn Exchange since 2005, and realised that the lack of a commercial art fair in Glasgow presented a major opportunity. They submitted an unsuccessful tender to GCC in late 2010 to mount the event which eventually became Vault but, according to Naismith, the research they did for that proved invaluable.

"We looked into it in great detail, and we already knew that the Grand Ballroom at the Thistle Hotel was perfect in terms of its dimensions. We decided we would set up our own art fair and, this time last year, started selling space. Within a couple of months we had sold out. There was room for 41 galleries and we handpicked them from those we had worked with in the past so that there would be a wide range of original work from £75 to £60,000. It's a broad mix."

The Glasgow Art Show is not a beauty contest of Scottish galleries. Of those taking part, only 14 are based in Scotland, and long-established galleries such as Compass, Open Eye and The Scottish Gallery are notable by their absence. Naismith does not feel this puts the fair at a disadvantage. "Glasgow is a culturally diverse city and people are very open to see and buy original art," he argues. "We have been able to cherry-pick more with this fair, which has been fun – but at the same time more challenging."

Headline-grabbing artists at the show include Guy Portelli (the former BBC special effects artist who appeared on Dragons Den in 2008 and secured backing for his Pop Icon collection) and body-cast sculptor Louise Giblin (whose sculptures of Olympic hopeful Beth Tweddle and double-gold winner Kelly Holmes form part of her Olympians series). Both artists are appearing with the East Sussex-based Saffron Gallery. Closer to home, Peter Howson has produced a large-scale oil painting of a mother and child especially for the show. He is exhibiting with Glasgow-based Art Exposure. Argyll-based Tighnabruaich Gallery brings a strong portfolio of original artwork, including paintings by Heather Nevay, who has just had a near sell-out show in Miami. Nevay's work, which sells for four-figure sums and features Renaissance-style pre-adolescent children involved in elaborate reenactments of adult life, were a big draw at the former Glasgow Art Fair.

"It's great for a gallery in a rural location such as ours to be able to show the work of our artists at an event such as this," says Tighnabruaich's Penny Graham-Weall. "It's vitally important to bring our artists to a bigger audience."

Glasgow Art Show is at the Grand Ballroom in the Thistle Glasgow, Cambridge Street, Glasgow, from March 23-25, 11am-6pm daily. Tickets £6/£4 concession.