Rachel Felder 2017-11-29 12:48:23
Miami native Sarah Arison is the new face of art philanthropy, but her dedication and impact go far beyond chairing benefits and writing checks. Sarah Arison’s support of the arts involves much more than passionate patronage. Her endless commitment is the equivalent of juggling several full-time jobs at once and is vital to many of the country’s most respected cultural institutions. She serves on the boards of two of Miami’s most impactful arts organizations— the National YoungArts Foundation and the New World Symphony—as well as those of New York City’s esteemed Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, American Ballet Theatre, Americans for the Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum. She’s also president of the Arison Arts Foundation, a private organization that provides grants to support both emerging artists and the institutions that exhibit and foster their work. “Everybody says, ‘That’s so many things at once,’ but I find there are lots of synergies between what I do at all of these different organizations,” Arison says. “I truly believe that they all really help each other and that I learn so much from each that I’m then able to bring into other organizations.” Supporting the arts is nothing new for Arison; it’s practically part of her DNA. In 1981, her grandparents Ted and Lin Arison transformed Miami’s cultural landscape by founding YoungArts (a nonprofit that identifies promising artists, 15 to 18 years old, in dance, music, visual arts, theater and writing, then supports their career advancement), and several years later they co-founded the New World Symphony. “I think about all of our interactions and the time that we spent together, and art was always a part of it,” Arison says. “It was only later in life that I realized how unusual and special that was, to grow up surrounded by art. Instead of it being a luxury, it was just a part of our lives. I’m thankful every day to them for that.” Raised in Miami, Arison is still based here but also spends ample time in New York City and Aspen, Colorado, where she and her husband, Thomas Wilhelm, have homes. “Miami is super interesting because it’s very international,” she says. “You get this procession of so many different nationalities. And it’s a younger city—it has fewer very established cultural institutions, so you can go into Miami and do something really different and make an impact. In Miami, you can make a bigger splash because there’s not as much going on.” Of course, the city is arguably at its most vibrant now, during Art Basel. “It’s really an incredible concentration of artists, collectors and patrons from all over the world,” says Arison, who is particularly excited about Young- Arts’ current exhibition, “Imagination Land: Fantastical Narrative,” spotlighting a group of foundation alumni whose work explores consumerism, gender roles, the environment and ritual. “I love having Art Basel in Miami Beach. The art that you see, the programs that you see, the discussions that you go to, the people that you interact with—it’s amazing.”
Published by Modern Luxury. View All Articles.