January 14, 2005
The Art of the Office
(article written by Art Bank Art Consultant, Amy Jenkins as it appears in the magazine "BOMA Ottawa Commercial Space Directory 2004/2005
Strategically placed original fine art can be beneficial in so many ways. It can provide visual relief and quiet contemplation in a cluttered, kinetic environment. It can be used to reflect dynamism, encourage communication, or evoke tranquility. Art adds dimension, reflects different points of view, and is necessary to humanize a work place.
If you have been thinking about using original fine art throughout your building or company offices but don’t know where to start, here are some simple guidelines that will assist you with the process of selecting the appropriate artwork for your organization. Establishing a set of parameters, considering leasing vs. purchasing and enlisting the help of a professional art consultant are three very useful ways to ensure success.
At the initial stage it is important to establish what your motivation is for considering artwork for the office and to set the parameters for your artwork requirements. You may wish to create a theme throughout the office, initiate an employee wellness campaign, work on creating a unique identity for your company or support the work of practicing visual artists. Whatever your interest, it is helpful to stay focused on a specific goal.
It is also important to develop your budget parameters. Whether you want to earmark a percentage of your overall operating budget, use part of a renovation budget, or consider it an employee benefit from an HR perspective, being clear on how much you want to spend is helpful.
Another important factor involves deciding who will make the selection on behalf of the organization. In many cases, companies put together an art committee to make a selection for the entire office. Over time, the committee members rotate in an effort to give employees the opportunity to participate. This often works well in large organizations and encourages participation by people with a variety of tastes. In some cases however, it is simpler and faster if one person makes the decision.
When deciding whether to lease or purchase artworks, it is essential to consider which option is best for your organization. Leasing allows you to the flexibility to change your artworks from time to time, usually for a minimal fee. The start up cost is typically lower relative to purchasing and the value of the contract is tax deductible for private companies. Installation and maintenance of the artworks is generally included in the services provided by the leasing organization. Leasing is a hassle free and flexible means of having original art on the walls however it is not a way to build a collection.
Selecting artwork with the intention of creating a collection that may (not guaranteed) appreciate over time is one advantage to purchasing vs. leasing. The prestige associated with having a distinguished collection is another good reason. Often companies are interested in supporting practicing artists which is of benefit to both the artists and the Canadian art market. One of the biggest drawbacks to purchasing however is the inability to exchange your artwork if it no longer meets the organizational needs. Selling original works of art on the secondary market is often a difficult process to navigate and requires a high level of expertise on the part of the seller.
If you are unsure if acquiring a collection is the right decision for your company, leasing artworks is often the safest way to introduce you to the excitement of having original art in the workplace. Combining both is another alternative. Both options are often surprisingly less expensive than you may think.
In either case, whether leasing or buying, enlisting the help of a professional art consultant will assist you with both the appropriate artwork selection as well as the suitable placement of the works throughout the organization and their proper installation. An art consultant has an expert knowledge base of artists and mediums to choose from. In most cases, the art consultant will prepare an artwork selection based on the motivation and parameters set out by the client and the existing aesthetics of the office. He or she will work within a budget framework and as with all professionals ensure ongoing satisfaction, safety of the artworks within the environment and value added service. An art consultant will also determine what mediums are best suited for the environment taking into consideration lighting and humidity levels, the level of traffic and potential risk for damage, as well as the proper hanging height and placement of the artworks to create a harmonious atmosphere.
Creating a unique identity for your company by using original works of art is quickly becoming an important way to express the level of creativity of the organization. Original art in the office says to the visitor, and to the staff, “we are a dynamic and creative organization”. Placing original work in the office is not that difficult to do and is always an enjoyable and exciting process.
Please click on our home page to see photographs of offices before and after Art Bank art works were installed in an office, hallway and foyer.