Dejha Carrington and Rebekah Monson are co- founders of Commissioner, a company building a community of arts patrons to support them.
I believe imagination is a radical act of freedom.
Commissioner is an art membership program that introduces emerging collectors to emerging artists here in Miami. Our members receive limited edition artworks on a quarterly basis, and attend compelling events that build community around local artists and the spaces and stories that make Miami unique.
THE BIG IDEA:
Commissioner is closing the information gap between new collectors and the art market, artists and collecting. Our membership program helps emerging patrons learn about the artists working in their community and breaks down perceived barriers to collecting. The idea came to mind when Rebekah and I were discussing her reticence to pursue art collecting. Talking about the lack of access and knowledge planted the seed to try new ways to connect emerging artists with Miami locals.
ON GROWING UP/LIVING IN MIAMI:
Miami can be a place of experimentation and reinvention. As a home to many artists and those who are interested in not only the artworks but also the stories and experiences of artists, this city is an exciting place to start this business. Also Miami has great organizations like the Knight Foundation, Radical Partners, and Commissioner collaborators such as PRIMARY, The New Tropic and Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator that actively support new ideas and understand the importance of art as a component of community. These are just a few of the many advantages of running a business that is powered by curiosity and community support.
ON GENDER DISPARITY:
Women can thrive despite the patriarchy by working with each other. It is an ongoing effort to find and work with women who do not let their proximity to power via their privilege or fealty to male supremacy subvert their best interest of dismantling existing structures and thriving with like minded women.
ON BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR:
Managing time and raising money are mainstay challenges of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs are great listeners who know how to run the right experiments and change course when necessary. For women who want to start companies, my advice is to be bold, measure everything, and surround yourself with expertise.
ON WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT:
The language around women empowerment seems played out. We shouldn’t align ourselves with the patriarchy to succeed or wait for someone to give us power. I work with like-minded women and let the rest fall in place.
Commissioner is in its second season. We’re learning more about what our members want from us and how to contribute to a thriving arts ecosystem. What’s become evident in this process is that many communities around this country are facing the same challenges and present similar opportunities to Miami. The next step for Commissioner is securing a national partner to help us scale and expand this movement nationwide.