Acclaimed artist Saya Woolfalk and Yieldstreet’s inaugural ARTSPARK

Key Takeaways

  • Yieldstreet’s inaugural ARTSPARK at Frieze Los Angeles is part of a committment to support emerging artists.
  • James Beard-nominated chef, Jeffrey Nimer catered the private guests only event.
  • Woolfalk unveiled her 40-foot “Cloud Mural” and guests were each able to take home one of its 196 tiles.

It had been two years since the last Frieze Los Angeles transpired, a span of time in which the entire art landscape had shifted. Art collectors and investors adapted to experiencing works of art through digital mediums. Gone were the art fairs. Gone was the freedom to stand before a work of art in person and just absorb it. But on February 18, Yieldstreet made up for lost time. During our inaugural ARTSPARK event, which was hosted with the support of Phillips de Pury, an intimate group of investors was invited to not only experience the work of emerging artist Saya Woolfalk—they also got to hear her speak and then took home a piece of the art. 

The event began with cocktails and food prepared by the James Beard-nominated chef, Jeffrey Nimer, in a lush open-air garden that cascaded with ferns, succulents, and the violet hues that comprised the centerfold of Woolfalk’s installation. “When we first considered this opportunity,” Yieldstreet CMO Wittney Rachlin explained to guests in the garden, “It occurred to us that we could share with people like you, what we’ve built in a very tangible and innovative way. The ability to bring art to life is something no other firm is doing in this way.” 

15 years to imagine’

Moments later, guests watched as a massive gallery door was pulled up and Woolfalk’s 40-foot mural—her largest textile creation to date—was revealed as the artist herself stood before it. Entitled “Cloud Mural,” the piece was comprised of 196 tiles, each digitally printed and stretched across a wood panel.

Guests attending Yieldstreet’s ARTSPARK admire Saya Woolfalk’s “Cloud Mural.”

It drew from the archives of Woolfalk’s ongoing series, The Empathics. “It may have taken two months to make [this mural],” Woolfalk explained to the audience. “But it actually took 15 years to imagine [it], and I feel incredibly blessed and honored that Yieldstreet wanted to make with me something that was an enormous textile piece.” 

For an artist whose installations tend to involve immersive environments, Woolfalk’s “Cloud Mural” proved particularly interactive. As she spoke to the crowd, Woolfalk walked over to one of the panels on the wall and removed it while the crowd broke into applause. “Tonight you’ll get to touch and feel something, and that’s really important to me,” she said. In the spirit of Yieldstreet’s belief in democratizing art equity, guests were able to sign up for a time slot during the event to select a panel for themselves.

The activation followed Yieldstreet’s inaugural Art Equity Fund, which focused on Post War & Contemporary artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s circle of friends including George Condo, Keith Haring, and Kenny Sharf. It also dovetailed into the female artists—including Faith Ringgold and Alice Neel—who were spotlighted in the second Art Equity Fund, “Artists of Harlem,” which launched in January. 

“I recognize the really strong impact that art has on people and communities across the globe,” Rebecca Fine, Yieldstreet’s Head of Art Finance, said to the audience. “I understand really deeply how an artist’s interpretation of reality can shape the way the world functions. It guides our conversations and ultimately it can change someone’s life forever.” 

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