The art world is a very social environment that includes a diverse group of individuals who come together because they love art. Relationships between artists, curators, collectors and writers are built on professional interests but often move into the social realm. Art openings, collector groups and studio visits are important networking opportunities for collectors to build relationships and share information with gallerists, artists and other collectors.
In addition to general memberships, most museums have affiliate groups that encourage members to be active participants at the museum and support the museum's programs. These programs help members gain a deeper appreciation of a specific area in the museum and foster relationships with curators and other museum members with similar interests. Programs include lectures, behind-the-scenes tours, invitations to museum openings, trips to public and private collections, collecting seminars, presentations by artists, curators or writers and other educational and social functions. There are usually annual dues associated with these special interest groups that range from $100 to $5,000. Sometimes membership is by invitation only. Members of these groups often help shape the museum through contributions to curatorial departments and programs.
Gallery openings are generally free, open to the public and offer collectors a great opportunity to be among the first viewers of an art exhibition. Here you can meet featured artists, friends of the gallery and other art enthusiasts in a casual and social environment.
Studio visits are an important way to meet and talk with artists in their own surroundings. Gallerists and art consultants can arrange studio visits for interested collectors. Museums, non-profits and other community art organizations also arrange open studio tours for groups of people to visit several studios during one tour. Lastly, artist residency programs often invite the public to visit the artist studios.