Sarah Arison at home in New York – photo by Caroline Tompkins

PHOTOFAIRS New York Advisory Committee member Sarah Arison answers our questions in the second installment of our PHOTOFAIRS IN FOCUS interview series. A huge advocate of the arts and artists, Arison is President of the Arison Arts Foundation, a private grant-making organization that supports emerging artists and the institutions that foster them. Here she shares her love for collecting and the arts. 

PHOTOFAIRS NEW YORK: How did you start collecting?

SARAH ARISON: I was inspired by my grandparents.

PNY: What was the first artwork you experienced that made an impact?

SA: When I was 16 I did a trip with my grandmother starting at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and then on to Giverny, Aix, Auvers sur Oise. Following the lives of the Impressionists had a huge impact, and my grandmother gave me a Eugène Boudin painting that was the first in my collection.

PNY: Tell us about a favorite work in your collection.

SA: When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I started collecting for her. I wanted her to be surrounded by art from the moment she was born! As I was designing her nursery, I bought a Jeppe Hein balloon from Frieze Los Angeles for her and it’s such a fun and special piece that she will be able to enjoy for the rest of her life!

PNY: How do you think the increasing interest in new technologies (such as NFTs and AI) will affect, or has already affected, the process of collecting?

SA: I’m always going to collect from artists who I know and work with and support them in whatever way I can.

PNY: What artists or exhibitors are you looking forward to seeing at PHOTOFAIRS New York? 

SA: I love everything from Gordon Parks so am so happy to see his work at Howard Greenberg Gallery!

About Sarah Arison

Born and raised in Miami, Sarah Arison is President of the Arison Arts Foundation, a private grant-making organization that supports emerging artists and the institutions that foster them. She was immersed in the arts from a young age by her grandparents, visionary philanthropists Ted and Lin Arison, who founded Arison Arts Foundation, YoungArts, and the New World Symphony, among their many philanthropic endeavors.

Arison is active across a broad cross-section of national arts organizations. She is Chair of the Board of YoungArts, where she has developed strategic partnerships with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Jacob’s Pillow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sundance Film Festival and more to provide aspiring talent with presentation and mentorship opportunities.

Arison is also the Chair of the board of MoMA PS1; a trustee of MoMA; Board President of American Ballet Theatre; a trustee of Lincoln Center; a trustee of the Brooklyn Museum and Chair of the Education Committee; a trustee at New World Symphony; a member of the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts; a trustee of Aspen Art Museum, and a trustee of the Americas Foundation of the Serpentine Galleries.

Arison has also ventured into film producing, supporting projects that shed light on lesser known aspects of the arts. In 2015, she produced her first feature film, Desert Dancer, starring Freida Pinto. She later went on to co-produce The First Monday in May, a documentary film chronicling the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute blockbuster exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass. She co-produced The Price of Everything which was acquired by HBO and she most recently served as an executive producer for the film Aggie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival