Are you a steward of the arts? Protecting and preserving art for future generations.

Posted on June 1, 2015 · Posted in Blog

Are you a steward of the arts? Protecting and preserving art for future generations.I recently attended an event in Washington DC hosted by the National Gallery of Art in collaboration with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. The panel’s discussion topic was on what it means to be a “Citizen of the Arts.” The panel was extraordinary with the likes of Yo Yo Ma, Theaster Gates and Darren Walker. What caught my attention the most was the broad view taken of being a good citizen or steward. We don’t just want to protect and preserve art for its market value, but for a host of other reasons. Artists, galleries, collectors, and the public all have interests in wanting art to be cared for both in the present and so future generations can enjoy and be inspired by it.

Public stewardship

What is a citizen of the arts? For the panel, it is someone who not only promotes the arts worldwide but tries to educate and instill a desire in the next generation to expand their views of what defines art. As citizens we want to protect art and ensure that society as a whole can enjoy it and learn from it. But since a lot of art is in private hands, how can the public do that? Can a case be made that significant art belongs to the world? What responsibilities do citizens have to do everything possible to ensure its well-being so that the art and its message are not forgotten?

Private stewardship

In my own work with clients, art presents many challenges. Art often has special meaning to us or our families. We want to pass on art’s monetary value as well as its personal value. The question is how best to preserve that value. Who is the proper person or entity we should designate to care for and preserve it in the manner we want? And what provisions can we make to ensure they have the means to protect it far into the future?

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing my own view of good stewardship as it applies to art and other precious assets. My hope is to guide you in finding experts who can help you be a better steward today and select others to take on this important role going forward.

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