“We recognize the power of connecting emerging artists and arts entrepreneurs to their counterparts in the art world,” art advisor Emily McElwreath says about her new initiative, The Art Career. “This sidesteps the current market cycles, which separates young professionals from establishing their brand and connecting with their collector base,” she continues. Also known under its acronym TAC, it is an interactive ecosystem providing educational content – like its new podcast – and career opportunities to emerging artists and professionals.
In April, TAC released its first episode, “Pleasure, Beauty Standards, and Social Change,” a conversation between founder Emily McElwreath and artist Marilyn Minter. The discussion covers a lot of ground, including Minter’s long-term support of Planned Parenthood and her LGBTQ+ advocacy. “Activism is necessary, always. However, people fight back in different ways and this does not necessarily have to exist within your practice,” says McElwreath, who does not want Minter’s artistic practice to be a single perspective for emerging artists. Instead, the conversation serves as an entry point into understanding the trajectory of the artist’s career or a deeper look into her practice for those who might not be looking for career advice.
McElwreath is a New York-based art advisor with her feet in two worlds: the blue-chip art market and the world of practicing artists. She is an active member of Wassaic Project community, an artist residency program in the Hudson Valley. Being involved in the residency program allows her to stay connected to emerging artists throughout the year. McElwreath has decamped to Wassaic for the winter and spring season, taking a break from the city. “I have found balance in splitting my time between Brooklyn and upstate New York,” she tells me.
The podcast reflects its host’s character: a frank but warm no-frills approach. She grew up between Greenwich, Connecticut, and New York City and has been engaged with the art world since a young age. She tells it like it is, both in our interview and in the podcast itself, sharing tidbits from her own journey in the arts, which brings an off-the-cuff air to her conversations.
I connect with McElwreath over Zoom together with her co-founder and producer of the show Morgan Everhart, who is a painter. They are in Everhart’s studio; behind them, paintings hang from floor to ceiling. McElwreath involved Everhart in order for TAC to have an authentic voice. “I’m astonished about how eager our guests are for artist feedback,” says Everhart. “I’m starting to believe that the most successful art professionals truly are grounded by rising generations,” she continues.
“The Art Career will ensure that young professionals invest in themselves, and in turn, the art market will profit,” McElwreath says while describing TAC. Through online courses, a podcast, and memberships, The Art Career aims to teach artists and arts entrepreneurs how to contextualize their work through a business lens. “This multifaceted online art platform will cater to the individual needs of its varied participants ranging from artists to collectors,” says McEwreath.
“There is a certain amount of mystery in the art world that keeps it sexy. That is OK. What is not OK is a select group of people dominating this system due to money or class,” McElwreath says about elitism in the art world. “Art is what makes us understand one another. It is one of the basic forms of human connection,” she continues. This sentiment is at the core of her aim to make participating in the art world more accessible.
“We are trying to map out clearer paths to sustainable art careers,” Everhart chimes in. “In Episode 5, Dana Prussian, the Bank of America’s Senior Vice President of Art Lending, speaks about NFTs as a new segment in the art world,” she explains. .“I learned from Prussian that NFTs haven’t diverted people’s interest in physical art. Instead, NFTs are diversifying collectors’ portfolios and inspiring a new audience of collectors,” Everhart continues.
Throughout the episodes that TAC has launched, listeners are privy to parallel and interweaving career paths. Leo Fitzpatrick, who famously played Telly in Larry Clarke’s iconic 90’s film “Kids” and who now runs an art gallery, admits that contrary to what many believe, art sales are not what sustains him. While he started out working as a director at Marlborough Contemporary gallery in Chelsea, his involvement in the skate scene led to working collaborations with Supreme. By contrast, Max Kendrick, CEO of Fairchain, is interested in bringing more data-driven structures to the art world to make the art market more transparent and investing in it more accessible for everyone.
“When I was director of education at The Brant Foundation, I was exposed to blue-chip blockbuster exhibitions and artists as well as to a huge community of MFA students,” says McElwreath, which explains her interest in presenting varied perspectives in the podcast.
Everhart and McElwreath are already mapping out Season 2 of the podcast, which will coincide with the launch of their Contemporary Art Market 101 Guide. About the guide they say: “We will overview the spectrum of roles in art, tell you who operates the contemporary art world, then provide you with a cheat sheet and resources. After reviewing this guide, you will have a high-level understanding of how the art world operates and a library of updated resources to reference along your art journey.” They are also planning on launching membership, which will include coaching sessions, Q&As with experts, and exhibition opportunities. In short, a one-stop shop for those looking to embark on or further develop their career in the arts.
Season 1 episodes of The Art Career’s podcast launch weekly. Listen to them here, or where you listen to your podcasts.