Each year, Observer takes a moment to consider the people impacting the arts, releasing our list of leaders who are driving trends forward and creating new strategies to make the art world more viable, more accessible and more equitable. In 2020, that meant something different.
Every industry has been impacted by the change and disruption this year has wrought. An art world that once relied on in-person gatherings now must deliver art to the masses when the masses are stuck at home. Power players and institutions were forced to recognize the ways in which they benefited from and participated in structural racism. As leaders envisioned their new business models in the wake of a pandemic, so too did they have to confront racial inequality and commit to remaking the sector from the ground up.
Many of the most influential in the industry have risen to these challenges; many others have not. True leaders have emerged to set a strong example of how large and small entities can move the needle powered by good ideas and a moral imperative. In this third iteration of the Arts Power 50, Observer presents the people who hold much of the responsibility for ensuring that art’s vibrance is not diminished by allowing some challenges to prove insurmountable, and those who have taken the lead in pioneering new strategies, technologies and methods of creating that show the industry at its best.