Photograph: Simon Townsley

Sarah Lee Elson developed Launch Pad out of a desire to support emerging artists directly, develop her collection, commission new work, and participate in the creative process. With Launch Pad, she has aimed to foster dialog about commissioning and collecting new art by exposing the process to the public. Through this process, she offers an alternative model of art philanthropy.

Elson is an art historian and collector with professional expertise as an advisor to private and corporate collections. Since 2008, she has devoted herself to the cultivation of not-for-profit arts organisations that she supports. Sarah’s philanthropic activity includes writing and curating as well as fundraising and strategic development. She established an International Artist Residency at Princeton University where she serves on the Advisory Council of the museum, and a fellowship for UK-based craft artists at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she served on the board. Her collection includes specially commissioned works by both fine and applied artists, and ranges from ceramic to video, photography to furniture. Sarah received her BA in Art History from Princeton University and her MPhil from Columbia University.