This week we sit down with the Founder of ART FOR CHANGE, Jeanne Masel! Jeanne founded ART FOR CHANGE in 2018 as a way to merge her lifelong love for the arts and her commitment to philanthropic initiatives. As a specialist in contemporary art who is also active in philanthropy, she developed ART FOR CHANGE as a way to offer fine art to socially conscious art collectors. AFC sells limited edition prints with a percentage of proceeds supporting non-profits and artists. AFC also offers art advisory services.
What was your first job in the Arts?
My first job was an internship during college at the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha, NE. Being surrounded by master works of art was an ‘aha moment,’ a pivotal moment that shaped the trajectory of my career.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
Being able to see behind the scenes of an art museum and see the evolution of an exhibition from concept to completion at such a young age showed me the long vision of exhibition planning and how many different jobs were behind the scenes. And, I had to be very proactive in getting that job–I learned early on that you can’t wait around for people to call you, if you want something you have to keep pushing!
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
Really with that first job and in my college art history classes. I started off as a business major at the University of Iowa. After taking several art history courses, I decided that it was more important for me to choose a career in something that I was passionate about rather than choose a “safe” major.
What do you do now?
I am the founder and lead art advisor at ART FOR CHANGE. We bring together artists and non-profits to offer limited edition and original artworks. AFC donates 20% of the net proceeds to relevant non-profits to affect positive change in the world and the partnering artists retain a significant portion of net proceeds of each print sold. We also offer art advisory services helping clients build meaningful art collections.
Where are you from?
I grew up in a small town in Iowa and then lived in Chicago for many years before moving to NYC.
What is the arts community like there?
My hometown didn’t have much to offer in terms of art history and an arts community so my art history classes in college were a rich experience. Of course, living in Chicago and then New York was like a door being flung open, both cities are unparalleled in their arts communities.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
My husband and I started getting involved in philanthropy about 6 years ago. It was my work in philanthropy coupled with my background in the art world that shaped my current business, ART FOR CHANGE. Coming from a small town without a significant arts community and then seeing the thriving arts communities in New York and Chicago was instrumental in recognizing how important it is to foster the arts at both the large institutional level and at the community level. AFC supports this symbiotic link between artists and organizations which is vital to a thriving cultural ecosystem.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Be true to yourself and follow your passion.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Starting ART FOR CHANGE! In 2020, our artist-initiatives raised over $30,000 for When We All Vote and provided over 50,000 meals to City Harvest, a NYC food bank. As a result of these initiatives we also raised tens of thousands of dollars for the participating artists.