Passing the torch to the next generation of societal leaders

Bold Future Award Winner: Meet Florence Derck

The second edition of the Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot has awarded the Bold Future Award to Florence Derck and Diane Van Impe, founders of DEMAIN Art. Meet Florence, an Autumn Fellow of Belgium’s 40 under 40, and Bold Future Award Winner.

Florence and Diane receiving their Bold Future Award
Florence Derck (left) and her co-founder, Diane Van Impe (right) at the Bold Awards.

1. What is your journey and how did it lead to the Bold Future Awards?

My name is Florence Derck, I am 29 years old and I come from Ghent. My journey started with studies in management engineering in Leuven and Solvay, before I decided to return to my true passion for contemporary art.

After five years in management engineering, I decided to combine my studies with my passion by working in auction houses. I quickly found a job at Christie’s in London, where I worked for two years. After receiving the Prince Albert Fund, I was searching for a sponsor, when I joined the Gladstone Gallery in Brussels.

Then came the pandemic. During the lockdown, I went for walks in the forest with my friend Diane van Impe. At one point, we ended up talking about artist friends who did not have a fixed gallery and were trying to make a name for themselves, but also about friends who wanted to buy art for their interior. And that’s when the idea of Demain Art was born: to connect local artists with private individuals who want to buy art but don’t know how to start.

2. What is your ambition for the project?

First of all, with Demain, we want to support young artists who are not yet represented by galleries, by giving them visibility to curators, gallery owners, but also directly to collectors. 

Our objective is also to create a connection between buyers and artists that goes beyond the artwork itself. We regularly invite the client to the artist’s studio to allow a dialogue with the artist. This is one of the reasons why we work with local artists who live in Belgium: to support the local art scene.

In short, our mission is twofold: on the one hand, to open up a complex and often closed art world and, on the other, to create opportunities for emerging artists. We want to make quality art accessible to everyone and try to bridge the gap between art lovers and artists.

Our long-term aim is to become the go-to place in Belgium to find contemporary artworks within an accessible price setting and with a more human dimension.

3. How does 40u40 help you in your professional project?

Being part of Belgium’s 40 under 40 has helped me on many different levels. First of all, it has been an incredible confidence boost. During the program, I was able to meet so many ambitious women from different generations who didn’t need to sacrifice their family life. 


I realised that being a woman, being ambitious, and having a fulfilling family life were not incompatible

Being part of 40u40 made me reflect much deeper on the societal impact I want to have with my company as well as the legacy I want to leave.

A concept that I have kept with me is the “unique brilliance”. In other words, every individual has something special to add, something that makes them unique, that defines their individuality. This has helped me, for example, to increase my understanding of the artists we work with and their artistic worlds. Therefore, I was able to better accompany them on their career path within Demain Art.

Lastly, as a 40u40 Fellow, I’ve been greatly inspired by the energy, talent, and drive of all participants. This made me very hopeful about the future of Belgium!

4. Do you have any advice for young women who want to develop projects and have an impact?

This is a more difficult question than it sounds. I don’t think that saying “Go for it, jump” is necessarily the best advice to give to people who want to start a project. 

My first piece of advice would be to take your time and get into the project gradually. On the one hand, this limits many risks. On the other hand, it allows you to test the project, further grow the idea, and recalibrate your goals.

My second piece of advice is to work on your network. Being a young entrepreneur has its ups and downs. It is therefore very important to be surrounded and supported throughout the project, especially in moments of doubt and uncertainty. 

Finally, my last piece of advice is to be optimistic and persevere! The life of a societal entrepreneur is not always a piece of cake, but you have to follow your passion, your desires, and, above all, your instinct!


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