Postmasters Gallery in New York is now accepting donations via Patreon, an online platform used for funding creative projects, saying in a statement that it wants to pursue “a new model—a radical hybrid combining the strength of the market with the support of the community.”
“We know that in over 30 years we accumulated support for our program beyond just the market,” Magdalena Sawon, Postmasters co-founder, told ARTnews. “We realized this is a contemporary way for people to express that support. We’re hoping that a good part of our operating expenses will be funded so we can continue to bring in ambitious projects that are not immediately profit-producing.”
Postmasters patrons will receive rewards commensurate with their monthly donation sizes, which start at $3. Perks range from access to the gallery’s bi-weekly podcast to a two-hour, biannual lunch or a Skype session with gallery staff members. The first four levels of patronage are named for the four New York City neighborhoods where the gallery has operated since its founding in 1984—the East Village ($3 per month), SoHo ($6), Chelsea ($25), and Tribeca ($100). The fifth, highest level is called “The World,” for donors who give $500 or more monthly.
The gallery, in its statement on Patreon, pointed to economic factors that breed inequality in the art world as reasons for adopting an unconventional mode of fundraising.
“We continue to advocate for vital cultural engagement and strong, inclusive institutions beyond the limits of the art world’s luxury consumption paradigm,” the statement reads in part, adding later, “So, we are instead choosing to rely on the community at large, which has given us support over the years, and we hope to reach and build a new community, too.”