Building Be My Medici – An Open Letter to Artists


Dear Artists,

You may be wondering what we have been up to lately. And if you are one of the artists who applied to our Artist Call earlier this year, you may particularly want to know where things stand on the selection of artists for the platform.

As you may know, our Artist Call ended with success. We received nearly 700 applications from all over the world and more than 450 artists took our Artist Survey. A great number of messages of support were sent by artists, many as comments in our Artist Survey (you can find a sampling of these messages in our latest newsletter). This warm reception by the artist community gave us the final go-ahead we needed to charge ahead.

Having the artists’ enthusiastic support, we addressed the curator community with our Open Call to Curators. Talented and devoted professionals from different parts of the world applied, showing interest in the patronage model we propose and in joining the Be My Medici Curator Team that stands behind it.

Right now we are in the middle of a productive exchange with the prospective Be My Medici curators. Their contribution as to how we can make this model achieve its maximum potential is both necessary and valuable. Our Curator Team will soon be in place. Once it is, the curators will review the applications and select artists to join the platform, which is expected to launch in Q4 2016 / Q1 2017.

We are also in the process of building the Be My Medici website. The focus of the project is on creating an experience that is pleasurable for both art lovers/collectors and the artists who use the site.

Our primary objective is to create an effective tool for artists to support their practice in a sustainable way, by drawing on the noble tradition of art patronage and bringing it into the digital era.

If you applied to our Artist Call and want to know what is happening with your application, we ask for your patience. We promise that the groundwork we are putting in now will worth the wait. Successful applicants will be contacted by email this fall, at which time we will also announce through our newsletter that the artists for the platform have been selected. If at that point you are not among the artists selected, please know that our portfolio of artists, severely limited initially, will be expanded to keep pace with the growing patron base.

The small, focused portfolio of artists is just one of the aspects by which Be My Medici aspires to set itself apart from the other online art platforms out there: We want to provide discoverability and secure patrons for all participating artists, and not for the lucky few. We are interested in pioneering a new online patronage model for the visual arts that supports quality rather than quantity, for the sake of patrons and artists alike.

If you share this vision with us, here is something you can do to help make it a reality: You can introduce art lovers and collectors in your circle to Be My Medici and invite them to join the Be My Medici Patron Mailing List. On launch, they will be the first to know, and will receive a discount code as thanks for their early adoption. By helping Be My Medici get off the ground, not only may you benefit your own practice, but you will have a hand in the emergence of a new artist-focused model of patronage that can grow and go on to great things.

More exciting news coming soon.


What makes this platform an opportunity for modern-day patrons of the arts

Lorenzo di Medici

Dear art lovers, collectors and modern-day patrons of the arts,

You may already be acquainted with the patronage model proposed by Be My Medici.

In this post I hope to convince you that the patronage platform we are creating will not only be an innovative mechanism for supporting art and artists, but also a destination that can bring art into your everyday life.

Let’s start with the artist’s perspective. The model of patronage we propose is a response to an increasingly acute phenomenon: More and more artists are unable to make ends meet, regardless of the quality of their work and their productivity. In art, more than in most other professions, an individual can excel in what they do and still be unable to cover their basic needs.

Now let’s try to see things from your perspective, that of the art lover and collector: Even though you find pleasure in art, it’s hard for you to make it an integral part of your day to day. Your fast-paced life makes it difficult to devote the time needed to follow and support artists you like by navigating the gallery system. What’s more, the current gallery model can be rather alienating, and in some cases incompatible with your tastes. This difficulty robs you of the pleasure of acquiring original works, not to mention the satisfaction of creating a collection all your own.

The model we propose aspires to bridge the gap between excellent artists who find it difficult to sustain their practice and art lovers looking for an approachable outlet for their appreciation of original art under the current paradigm.

Be My Medici will make finding and supporting artists easy, simple and fun. This is how:

  • An easily navigated platform will let you browse a curated portfolio of artists. This will not be just another chaotic and incoherent database of artists. Curation will ensure high-quality content and coherence of vision.
  • By using filters you will be able to choose artists whose work matches your tastes.
  • By supporting one or more artists from the platform, you will be able to grow your collection of originals: As a token of thanks for their support, patrons will receive small-scale original artworks in the mail. If you don’t have a collection yet, Be My Medici will be a perfect way to start.
  • This will be an affordable model of patronage.
  • The postal mail you receive will suddenly become interesting: Instead of just bills and promotions, you will start receiving correspondence; Not just any correspondence, but original artworks.
  • The collection you create will be totally unique: The monthly artwork sent by the artist will be a surprise. This will allow you to create an idiosyncratic collection of originals while reviving the excitement of old fashioned correspondence.
  • The platform will add value to your experience as patron in yet another way: You will have the option of making your activity as patron and collector visible on the platform and of sharing your views and comments on the artworks you receive.

If you aren’t yet convinced of how what we are creating can bring art into your everyday life, we leave it to our Patron Survey to finish the job. Completing the survey will give you more details about the platform and will offer you a chance to contribute your own thoughts and ideas. We would love your help in making Be My Medici great.

Featured image: Girolamo Macchietti’s painting of Lorenzo (the Magnificent) de’ Medici (1449-1492)