Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Adopt some art in your life

Three years ago, artist Adam Simon started the Fine Art Adoption Network, a web-based service that brings together artists and a different breed of collector: an adopter, not a purchaser. Below Simon answers some questions about FAAN.

1) When and why did you start the Fine Art Adoption Network? FAAN launched in April, 2006. I had received a commission a year earlier from Art in General, which came as a huge surprise to me. An artist friend came up to me on the street with a flyer announcing the New Commissions program. I had two days to get the application in. I had been kicking the idea around ever since my father died a year before that. After he died my mother decided to leave their house in Boston for an apartment in New York and couldn't take a couple of big early paintings of mine. That led to the idea. This story is on the site, "The Story Behind FAAN."

2) How is FAAN financially supported? Altogether Art in General committed about $12,000 to the design and creation of the site and various other things. That money is used up. The server doesn't cost much but we have no money to make improvements.

3) Do you have a selection process for the artists? There's not a selection process but artists have to be invited by participating artists or institutions. This allows for the site to maintain its own flavor and keeps the level of the work higher than it would be otherwise.

4) Why would artists want to donate their art, rather than get paid for it? I think that most of the artists on FAAN realize that they became artists for reasons in addition to the one of making a living doing what you most like to do. Artists have the desire to connect to other people and FAAN gives them a way to connect to people that appreciate what they are doing. Apparently the email exchanges around the adoptions are gratifying to the artists. Many of them continue to put new work on FAAN.

5) What has been the response by artist and adopters since you started? It's been amazing. I think everyone is delighted to discover that the art market is not the only way to get art to its public.

6) How does the adoption process work? Anyone can email any of the artists through the site if they see an artwork on FAAN that they would like to own. The artist may just say great, you can have it or they may want to wait and choose an adopter from a number of people that solicit a given work. The adopter pays for any transfer costs. Often this involves the adopter going to the artist's studio and picking up the work. There are now over 250 artists on FAAN and all the adoption stories are great in one way or another. There's a book being published by Art in General that will include a lot of emails that were sent to the artists and the artworks that were adopted as a result.

7) What are the future plans for FAAN? There's a lot of things I would like to do. Someone has suggested we include the estates of deceased artists. I would make this a separate section of the site. I have long wanted to increase FAAN's presence in other countries, most of the artists so far are American although adopters have been coming to the site from other countries. I would like to implement various improvements to the site that promote community, like a bulletin board. All of this requires money and we have none.

(I would be interested in knowing about programs bringing artists and collectors together using a similar model. Email me.)


  1. This is a great idea. But I would say the collectors part should also have credentials. Otherwise, the quality of appreciation will not be guaranteed.

  2. The artists get to choose who they want to adopt their art, so some selection takes place.