There has long been a ruling class of patronage in museums and as that gala-going, ladies who lunch crowd ages out of museum boards, many museums have been left wondering, who has been designated to take their place?
Programs tailored to suit this problem have been growing in popularity across North America. Offering bonus benefits like reduced admission rates, networking cocktail hours, and gala tickets, emerging patronage organizations are already beginning to fill the gap that art-loving baby boomers are leaving behind.
Below, where to get a glass of bubbly while getting involved—our favorite programs for young collectors across North America.
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
Farmboy Fine Arts has had the privilege of working with our own local emerging collectors program, Young Patrons at the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) here in Vancouver. Offered to 19 to 40-year-olds, the event-based group brings together budding collectors and art interested folks to meet with artists and curators and other creatives in the city. “We tailor the program to young lawyers, young accountants, people who don’t normally have access to the art world because it can be quite difficult to be involved in,” says Helen Wong, development assistant at the CAG. Wong, who spearheads the Young Patrons program, puts on events that bring not just the CAG’s own artists, but events with Ballet BC and other creative organizations in the city.
As part of the program’s multi-disciplinary approach, FBFA CEO and founder Todd Towers took the Young Patrons through one of our favorite local projects, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. “The tour of the Rosewood was one of the first exclusive events that we did for the Young Patrons program,” Wong says. “It’s to form relationships with each other and get the opportunity to take a tour with Todd and learn more about the Rosewood project and learn more about collections management.” Cocktail hours, artist talks, are the kind of atypical mixers that encourage mingling and create meaningful conversations about art.
Private exhibition tour lead by CAG curatorial team at a CAG Young Patrons event. Image courtesy of the CAG.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The tech-hub of San Francisco has been flagged as one of the most promising new regions of art buyers. Peach-fuzzed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, along with entire fleets of high-net-worth tech workers have made the art world take notice.
In response to the growing community of young individuals interested in collecting and supporting artistic organizations, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently began its initiative Contemporaries, dedicated to serving those interested in supporting the museum but not quite have the monetary means for full sponsorship. More focused on connecting young people with other collectors in the city, the group is led by art insiders Katie Paige and Sabrina Buell and is part of the museum’s new focus on bringing contemporary work into the museum. Certainly, new media work will be a key medium.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) Avant-Garde group, like any good L.A. institution, is all about a good party. Designed for young professionals 21 to 40, the group is full of perks. Access to art fairs, LACMA passes for friends and family, film screenings, and reciprocal free admission to museums across America, it’s a true L.A.-style swag bag. Pop the champagne and get photographed on the art red carpet, totally So-Cal.
LACMA Avant-Garde. Image via LACMA.
Art Institute of Chicago
Another party-focused patronage program is the Art Institute of Chicago’s Evening Associates group. The cornerstone event is After Dark an ongoing late-night party that corresponds with new exhibitions at the gallery space. For just $30 per year, 21 to 40-year-olds can get involved and gain access to exclusive events. In typical Chicago style, events such as Night Heist goes late with custom themed cocktails and, of course, a designated after party.
Those who are more interested in getting involved and not just in on the party can join the board of directors which is responsible for engaging emerging artists and producing new and innovative events for the institute. Work late, play late—it’s something of a Chicago motto.