Now a new network space for art collectors

New Delhi: Art collectors in India, unlike in the west, are still a fledgling tribe. Now a new initiative by the India Art Fair, formerly known as the India Art Summit, is helping collectors hone their knowledge and stay in the loop round the year.

The Collectors` Circle aims to increase awareness and nurture younger collectors through a series of talks, conferences, workshops and networking events to connect new buyers and institutional collectors in India with global art centres like London, New York, Dubai and Colombo, said Neha Kirpal, director of the India Art Fair.

Institutions like Tate Modern in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York will help Collectors` Circle cast its net across the globe and host "education seminars", Kirpal said.

At least 30 museums, reputed art houses and institutions have confirmed their patronage of the initiative, Kirpal said.

"The Collectors` Circle is basically a yearlong membership programme that will bring the collecting community together and establish linkages with social networking events that will give buyers and collectors an idea of the market and the kind of art to buy. We will also put them on to the international community of artists, galleries, institutions, art critics and market experts for greater exchange and knowhow," Kirpal told reporters.

The circle of collectors will sustain the momentum of art education and keep the information network running in the build-up to the fourth edition of the India Art Fair from Jan 25 to 29 in 2012, Kirpal said.

"The circle will technically become operational next month with its first meeting and a media interface. Admission to the Collectors` Circle is chargeable with a membership fee of nearly Rs 7,000 per person (for individual and couples)," Kirpal said.

"We have also moved institutions like the British Council, Max Mueller and Art Asia to help structure content of the symposiums every quarter - so that we have something new to offer to the members by way of knowledge," Kirpal said.

One of the objectives of the initiative is to increase the quantum of foreign participation at the India Art Fair, Kirpal said.

"For example, the government of Spain is offering a subsidy of 6,000 euros to galleries in Madrid to participate at the India Art Fair. The Collectors` Circle will be able to liaise with art houses in the Spanish capital to ensure the presence of more galleries with government subsidy," Kirpal said.

The initiative will also include participation of the numerous private archives that have sprung up across the country and government platforms like the Lalit Kala Akademi.

"India does not have a platform for collectors and art education where buyers, collectors, artists, institutions and art scholars and market honchos can exchange under one umbrella," Kirpal said, citing the need for the initiative. Each member of the Collectors` Circle will be provided a VIP pass (entry permit) to the fair in January.

The India Art Fair, which has re-christened itself to highlight its orientation to business, along with art awareness, has also restructured its functioning.

"I have brought in two new partners as co-owners of the fair this year, Will Ramsey, the founder of Ramsey Fairs , Pulse Art Fairs and Affordable Art Fairs, and Sandy Angus, the chairman of Montgomery Worldwide. Ramsey hosts art fairs in eight countries in four continents and both are the co-founders of Art Hong Kong," Kirpal said.

The fair is getting bigger and needs more aggressive management and promotion, she added.

"Last year 84 galleries from 24 countries exhibited at the fair and footfalls crossed 100,000 in four days. The last three editions of the fair together drew nearly 178,000 visitors," the director of the India Art Fair said.


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