Renegade altruist Adrienne Arsht leads the revolution with a $5 million pledge to The Met to support paid internships and MetLiveArts Programming focused on themes of resilience. We checked in on her latest philanthropic power move.
What drives your passion so deeply? Our time on earth is a gift. The rent we pay for that gift is how we give back to make the world a better place. I live in a high-rent district. The arts define our civilization, and a world without the arts is unimaginable. Preserving the arts is preserving our civilization for generations to come.
How are you passing on these values to the next generation? Showing women they must give in order to have a place at the table to gain name recognition. It is not just about the amount. It’s the giving that you do. There are many things that one can do. Understanding that philanthropy is giving where there is a need in any way you can. I encourage people to get involved in what they believe no matter how much they can give. Women, especially, shy away from recognition for their philanthropy. I want to set an example for women so they know it’s OK to give. I hope that my actions are respected and in turn will inspire them to give.
Why was funding paid internships important to you? Paid internships are an important step toward increasing opportunities and supporting equity in the art field. Unpaid internships are barriers for low-income students and people of color who may not be able to afford to work for free. With my gift, the Met is now the single largest art museum in the country to offer 100% paid internships to its nearly 120 undergraduate and graduate interns, enhancing access and removing financial barriers to student participation in the program.
Why is funding the MetLiveArts initiative so vital? Now more than ever, the focus on themes of resilience, lifting up artists from a variety of backgrounds, will champion resilience through the museum’s performance programming.
What is your hope for how the world emerges from the current challenges? As a society, we become wiser from learning how to survive. Learning to be stronger and more resilient gives us courage and confidence to go on.
Photography by: Courtesy of Adrienne Arsht