In 2013, in honor of Art Assets’ 21st year, we held 21 events that celebrated, investigated, and debated the role of art in real estate and in the built environment.

We hosted events with leaders in commercial real estate, creative placemaking, cultural economic development, the sharing economy, and other industries for a series of salons, teas, and good old-fashioned parties.

Some of the presentations included:

Street Art in Afghanistan

Proving that where there is a will, there can be art, Mountain2Mountain founder Shannon Galpin delighted an audience of over 40 people with a presentation on The Streets of Afghanistan, a group exhibition of life-size photographs from Afghan and American artists that was staged in five public locations in Afghanistan, including Darulamon Palace, Barbur Gardens in Kabul, Massoud’s Tomb in Panjshir, and the Kabul Zoo.

Real Estate Innovation

This panel discussion featured three real estate innovators who are creating new ways to think about development and the built environment:

Riggs Kubiak Co-Founder & CEO, Honest Buildings

Riggs’s vision is for the Honest Buildings platform to accelerate the adoption of high performance buildings all over the world. He believes that data, transparency, and engaged users will bring previously disconnected people together and speed innovation. Riggs has over 10 years of real estate experience, including the most recent five years with commercial real estate titan Tishman Speyer. As Global Head of Sustainability, Riggs found the disaggregation of information and understanding across the industry was hurting the pace of adoption. In this problem, he saw a clear opportunity to harness the global reach of the internet to connect the ecosystem of users within the built environment. He’s most excited about having an impact and streamlining the real estate industry.

Honest Building’s mission is to connect and empower the real estate industry to make better decisions, more efficiently. Honest Buildings is a centralized network to showcase and discover the best building solutions and providers.  They call it “building meritocracy,” enabling a new era of idea exchange and transparency in the real estate industry.


Ben Miller, Founder, Fundrise; Co-Founder, Popularise

Benjamin Miller is a founder of Fundrise and also co-founder of Popularise, a real estate crowdsourcing website. With 15 years of experience in real estate and finance, Ben has acquired, developed, and financed more than $500 million of property in his time as Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corporation. Ben also started US Nordic Ventures, a cross-Atlantic private equity and operating company. Ben has worked as an analyst for Lubert-Adler, a private equity real estate fund. Ben was part of the founding staff of Democracy Alliance, a progressive investment collaborative. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Fundrise is the leading investment platform for commercial real estate. Operating in the top major metropolitan markets, Fundrise gives individuals the ability to invest directly in local properties without the unnecessary fees and middlemen of conventional real estate equity finance. With Fundrise, people now have the power to earn financial returns while building the city they want to live in.


Popularise is the online platform that shares the power to build new places in your neighborhood with local residents like you. How often have you thought, “Why doesn’t someone turn that vacant building down the street into a bakery, bar, or restaurant?” Now you have the ability to be directly involved in transforming your neighborhood, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. By joining other people in your area on Popularise, you can create the kind of cool, authentic places you want in your neighborhood. Submit your own ideas, and vote for what to build on projects posted by real estate developers and local business operators.


Dave Eisenberg Co-Founder & CEO, Floored

Dave entered the corporate world at Bain and soon joined the startup world as Bonobo’s first hire. Years later, he flew westward to build the next great retail data platform at TellApart. In 2012, Dave founded Floored while an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Accel Partners. He has a BA from Harvard, which he uses to handle business stuff and fetch things for Floored engineers.

Floored is a new 3D real estate visualization platform for mobile and web. From Pando Daily: “Floored’s software also collects data, such as dimensions or window space, and begins to draw insights based on that. It answers questions such as, ‘How much additional foot traffic do retail stores with five additional square feet of window space have?’ Perhaps most importantly, the models are viewable to real estate professionals and clients in an iPad app.”


Sunday Coffeehouse

Do changing landscapes—from geographical, physical spaces to metaphorical, inner spaces—impact an artist’s work? In this program in our 21 ’til 21 Salon Series, we spoke to four international artists about wandering:

Matti Kovler, Composer

Matti Kovler’s compositions have been performed by the Israel Philharmonic, the Fox Studios Symphony, at Carnegie Hall, and at Tanglewood. Kovler has mastered a range of styles, from folk and jazz to those steeped in the classical tradition, and brings these together in works of considerable dramatic scope, by turns comic, mystical, warm, and searing. Following the premiere of his opera Here Comes Messiah! (commissioned by Carnegie Hall), Matti founded JMT, a performance company specializing in creating new works in this vein.

For more information:

Jacqueline Nicholls, Visual Artist

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London-based visual artist, who uses art to explore and challenge traditional Jewish ideas. Initially trained as an architect and educated in Talmudic studies, Nicholls uses an amalgam of media—including drawing, print, embroidery, tailoring, paper-cutting, and more—to expand the activity of study beyond its textual origins.

For more information:

Tirtzah Bassel, Visual Artist

Tirtzah Bassel is an Israeli visual artist based in New York. Her drawings, paintings, and site-responsive duct tape installations explore the permeable borders separating public and private domains, specifically in subways, barbershops, and airport security zones.

For more information:

Nino Biniashvili, Visual Artist

Nino is a graduate of Bezalel (BFA) and Konstfack (MFA), and currently she is conducting research at the Center for Jewish History, New York, as part of the Prins Foundation for Artists and Writers.

For more information:

Katherine Behar

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York, whose videos, performances, and interactive installations explore issues in contemporary digital culture. Katherine’s work appears at festivals, galleries, performance spaces, screenings, and art centers worldwide, in Dresden, Amsterdam, Moscow, Leeds, Rome, Poznan, Mooste, Cluj-Napoca, New York City, Chicago, Miami, and numerous cities throughout the U.S., and is held in private collections. She is Assistant Professor of New Media at Baruch College.

Created for Water Street POPS, Katherine Behar’s Street.s/ is a new site-specific performance about architectural memory and traumas in the urban environment. Dancers will inhabit colored shapes derived from transient urban architectural forms, animating and exploring the exterior of 32 Old Slip in Manhattan’s Wall Street neighborhood. Street.s/ will be performed in conjunction with Water Street POPS, curated by Ombretta Agro and Art Assets. The project is supported by a residency at LaunchPad in Brooklyn.

Water Street POPS | Artist: Katherine Behar

Shantala Shivalingappa

Jacob’s Pillow, the venerable Berkshire dance center, hosted a series of performances by Shantala Shivalingappa. Shantala is a world-renowned performer of Kuchipudi, a style of classical Indian dancing. (Image above: Shantala Shivalingappa in Akasha. Photo: Elian Bachini)

Here is an excerpt of Shantala’s performance at Jacob’s Pillow:

Art Assets was delighted to host a brunch in the Berkshires for Shantala and her mother following the performance as part of our 21 ’til 21 Salon Series.


Sharon Chen Lin

Art Assets was thrilled to present a series of performances by Sharon Chen Lin at Water Street POPS. Sharon’s interactive pieces explore a return to a time before phones and internet. How do people meet and maintain friendships?

During the week of “Happy Hour,” participants were invited to explore and have fun at an oversizes playground for adults. During the week of “Your Wish’s Day,” participants were invited to give their deepest hopes and wishes to the artist. During the week of “Holiday Special,” participants collectively celebrated the birthdays of strangers and peers.

Water Street POPS | Artist: Sharon Chen Lin

An Evening at Chesterwood

Art Assets was delighted to hold a program at Chesterwood, the country home, studio, and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French. Guests were treated to an evening tour through the gardens to view the annual outdoor contemporary sculpture exhibition, as well as a tour of French’s studio.

From the Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood 2013 Press Release:

Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood 2013, on view June 22 through October 31, is a juried outdoor contemporary sculpture exhibition hosted by Chesterwood, A National Trust Historic Site, on its verdant 122-acre expanse, replete with formal gardens and woodland walks. Chesterwood is the country home and studio of iconic American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), and the site where he did much of the work on his best-known sculpture, Abraham Lincoln, for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. During French’s 35-year residency at Chesterwood, he worked outdoors on his own monumental sculptures and installed art by his friends along the woodland walks in a tradition that is continued today.

Over 500 emerging and established sculptors have exhibited at Chesterwood since 1978, including well-known artists such as George Rickey, Sol LeWitt, Richard Stankiewicz, and Glenda Goodacre, representing one of the earliest venues in this country to showcase large-scale abstract, conceptual, and figurative works in an outdoor setting. Chesterwood’s annual sculpture exhibition commemorates French’s distinguished life and career and provides an important showcase for contemporary American sculptors.

Learn more about Chesterwood:


Aliya Rose Bonar

Aliya Rose Bonar’s PowerSuit Boutique performance produces custom, hand-made garments based on personal Life Consultations about dreams, passions, personal histories, bodies, and everyday life patterns. The opportunity is to engage with strangers about innermost passions and dreams, and then realize those ephemeral wishes into wearable art: PowerSuits. The “client” wears their PowerSuit out into their everyday life, physical reminders of their biggest dreams.

In collaboration with Lindsey McCord, Bonar presented the consultation portion of the project—producing personalized talismen based on the consultation—at Water Street POPS. Participants sat for 20-minute consultations, which Bonar recorded, along with a photo of the interviewees. Over the week, Bonar and McCord produced personalized talismen based on each interview, which were later presented to the interviewees. An informal installation of the interviewees’ photographs was also presented.

PowerSuit Boutique had never been presented previously. However, the project evolved out of a body of “PowerSuit” work Bonar had been developing for the past year. Your PowerSuit is the costume your most powerful self wears, generating courage and self-confidence to pursue your passions. In previous iterations, produced at Flux Factory in February 2013 and at the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute in Summer 2012, Bonar used PowerSuits as a concept to guide a group through realizing their own passions and steps needed to carry them out. Participants engaged through participating in a set of facilitated curriculum. The emphasis is on the group experience and not the physical product.

Water Street POPS | Artists: Aliya Rose Bonar & Lindsey Mccord

Wendy Whelan

Wendy Whelan

Our 21 ’til 21 Salon Series hit another high note with an afternoon brunch in honor of Wendy Whelan. Wendy is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, but it was a performance titled Restless Creature that inspired our gathering.

Restless Creature is a modern dance performance in four parts, each part a duet of sorts between Wendy and four male choreographers: Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo.

Read the New York Times review: Ballerina Leaves Her Comfort Zone: Wendy Whelan Embraces Modern Dance at Jacob’s Pillow