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Meet the Woman Attempting to Democratize the Art World

Patton Hindle is #girlpowergoals as she discovers and empowers artists through her role as the Director of Arts at Kickstarter, the global crowdsourcing platform the New York Times calls “The People’s National Endowment of the Arts.”


Much of her success can be attributed to passion fueled by her background in the arts. The longtime gallerist, and current partner at NYC-based gallery yours mine & ours, saw an opportunity at Kickstarter to overturn the idea that art commerce shapes cultural output. By soliciting artists to use the platform and help them realize ideas they might not otherwise, Patton pioneers art into the world that doesn’t have to kowtow to the demands of the art market, or the exclusionary realities of the art world.


Patton executes this strategy at Kickstarter through storytelling. Her team works with artists to help best communicate their work, project, and vision in a way that invites an audience in and makes the artist and their work accessible. Beyond that, she also helps artists find confidence in both their voice and their community.


For example, at Kickstarter, she spearheaded a collaborative project for social justice with artist Glenn Kaino and the Olympian Tommie Smith—who famously raised his fist in silent protest in 1968. It raised $81,000 from the public to re-up his story through art, hosting drawing workshops with the artist and the Olympian with kids all over America. This is a classic example of the kind of project Patton facilitates – art that is intimate and community driven, but with less tangible resale value than a gallery would demand.


Art Zealous was thrilled to catch up with Patton about how she strategizes with artists to find ways to connect with the community at large and pursue projects without economic constraints.


Art Zealous: Art background?
Patton Hindle: I studied Art History and English at university, during which time I interned at Sotheby’s both in Boston and New York. It didn’t take long to realize I enjoyed the business side of the art world. Upon graduation, I took my first position at a gallery in Boston that primarily worked with emerging artists coming out of local art schools.


After two years I moved to NYC to help open and run DODGEgallery on the Lower East Side. When Kristen Dodge decided to close the space, I moved to Artspace where I was the Director of Gallery and Institutional Partnerships. During my time there, I founded yours mine & ours, my gallery in Chinatown. I joined Kickstarter in August of 2018 and still am actively a partner at my gallery.


AZ: Hometown?
PH: London, UK. But, I was born in Nashville, TN. Disappointingly, I have neither accent.


AZ: Favorite art spot in New York?
PH: You have to know I’m going to be biased on this one—my gallery, yours mine & ours.


AZ: Phone background?
PH: An Ellsworth Kelly sculpture from the Fondation Beyeler gardens I shot in 2016.


AZ: Astrological sign?
PH: Cancer.


AZ: We hear you have an Agnes Martin tattoo! Does her work inspire you?
PH: I do! I have a tattoo of the last drawing Agnes made, of a plant. I find her work to be spiritual and calming. I saw her retrospective twice in London and seven times here in NYC, and thought of it as “going to church.” She was an artist who did whatever she wanted, moving to New Mexico and not worrying about the market or industry—she simply made the work she wanted to make. It’s worth reading her short note, “Advice to Young Women Artists.”

AZ: How do you explore ways in which Kickstarter can collaborate with artists to help them have an experiential or less commercial aspect to an exhibition within the gallery model?
PH: My work begins with many, many conversations. I speak with artists about what they want to do and what their exhibition opportunities are, then I talk to gallerists. Owning a space in the Lower East Side and having a background in the business side of the gallery world, I know the challenges first hand of wanting to show an artist who may not have the most “commercial” of practices.


As the market is tightening, certain distinct projects make sense for Kickstarter. Gallerists often know of the things their artists want to make, and they often facilitate meetings with me. From there, it’s helping them tell the most accessible and compelling story possible, and getting that story into the world to garner support for their ideas.

Ai Weiwei; photo // Timothy Schneck


AZ: You spearheaded a project for social justice with artist Glenn Kaino and the Olympian Tommie Smith, which is incredible. How did that project come about and how did you strategize the execution of such an important message? How has the engagement been with young people?
PH: When you work with someone like Glenn, you know that you’re going to receive is an idea that is serious and professional. He came to New York in late August and showed us his already built project page that was designed almost to perfection. We helped to craft and hone his message to really lift the story of Tommie, and tie his experiences in with the present day. The project launched right after the NFL’s #TakeAKnee movement began, making it incredibly prescient.


The school engagement with youth has been wonderful! Tommie and Glenn are traveling around the country, and making a documentary about the process, too. So there is plenty more ahead for the art world, and beyond to see from this project in the future.


Tommie Smith Salute


Glenn Kaino Studio: With Drawn Arms.


Glenn Kaino Studio: With Drawn Arms.


AZ: Please tell us about your involvement at your the Lower East Side gallery yours mine & ours.
We opened yours mine & ours in 2016 as a space to support emerging artists and offer them a platform to exhibit. My partners RJ, Nick Rymer, and I work closely on selecting artists, shaping our calendar, and reaching out to collectors, curators, and press about their work. This process is in many ways my own creative output and you can find me there at least one day of every weekend.


AZ: Who would be your ideal artist collaboration/partnership?
Ha! That’s too hard to narrow down. So I think I’ll be a little vague here and say that right now, I’m specifically interested in working with female artists at Kickstarter. While we’ve historically had several female artists run projects, they seem to approach us less frequently. Whatever it may be, I’ve dedicated a lot of 2018 to seeking out opportunities to support women artists.


AZ: Currently working on?

PH: We have a few excellent live projects right now. In New Orlean’s, Airlift’s music box village—a public art project comprised of interactive “musical houses”—is fundraising for their first national tour. Swedish choreographer and dancer Pontus Lidberg is making a feature-length dance film. Artist Rebecca Mwase has choreographed a performance that reexamines the history of song on slave ships. Photographer Corine Vermeulen is investigating Detroit through on-the-ground portraiture.

photography by Corine Vermeulen


AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
PH: I have some very exciting forthcoming projects that are engaging with the midterm election cycle and the 2020 presidential election on a national level seeking civic and youth engagement. So… watch for more!


You can follow Patton Hindle on Instagram.


top image // courtesy of Kickstarter