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Artsy: 2012 American Made Honoree

Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Carter Cleveland

Carter Cleveland


New York, New York


Carter Cleveland talks about art the way the way most of us talk about childhood toys. “Charles Melville Dewey’s art was in my bedroom growing up,” recalls Cleveland of the American tonalist painter. Soon after his senior year at Princeton, the now 25-year-old founded, a website that curates art for users based on their artistic preferences and “favorites.” Borrowing language and programming from the music site Pandora (whose CEO is an adviser), calls these revealing choices “genes.” It’s a fitting term, given that cleveland inherited art appreciation from his arts-writer father and a love of science from physicists on his maternal side. “To my knowledge, it’s the first time there’s been such a deep collaboration between computer scientists and art historians in the name of furthering art education,” says Cleveland, whose endgame is making the world’s art freely available through the internet. The site also lists art- work for sale. Specialists are assigned to users upon account activation to help facilitate purchases from galleries or artists, while famous not-for-sale works can be viewed online as part of the same visual database. Just about to launch its public beta stage, already has more than 50,000 registered users. Cleveland remembers the day his company received its first wire transfer from an investor: The bank balance for the account was a “surreal” six figures, while his personal account had just $4 in it. “I live and work in this wonderful country, experiencing art and technology through the best people in the world,” he says. “I would do it even if it paid nothing.”

Carter Cleveland walking across street

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