February 2, 2024
“To empower female and non-binary groups in art, I decided to make the shift from venture capital to venture philanthropy,” Irene Ailin Wang says about her non-profit Waave Foundation. We are sitting together amidst her inaugural exhibition “D’Est” on the ground floor of an appointed townhouse on 17 East 63rd Street, one block from Central Park, which serves as the foundation’s headquarters. “Venture philanthropy adopts practices from venture capital, encouraging non-profits to apply methods such as due diligence, risk and performance measurement, and strategic support to enhance the growth and social impact of the projects they fund,” Wang explains. “I am using business strategies to innovate philanthropy in the arts,” she says. The interior is sleekly renovated. The main room with a fireplace has French doors that open to a small outside space—inside everything is white, except for the black stone floor. It is fully dedicated to the works of Traci Johnson, claudie yeejae kim, Zahra Nazari, Megan Nugroho, Jingyi Wang—the six female artists on view. Wang receives me wearing a chic all-white outfit with wide-legged pants. After we tour the exhibition, I am certain that she is an excellent conduit and this luxurious but serene and welcoming space is formidable to celebrate women in the arts.