September 5, 2012
I spend a lot of time thinking about how to define corporate art. Better yet, I spend a lot of time thinking about how corporate art defines us: what do corporation’s art investments say about our culture at large? Are corporations concerned with making a statement about their success and mission through art, or simply making their business spaces more pleasant for their employees and customers? When the time comes to purchase art, do businesses set aside part of their budget to invest in unique, meaningful and well-placed options, creating dialogue and sparking creativity? Or do they save their money by stocking up on mass reproductions sold by internet providers for an instant gratification solution?
There are an abundance of talented artists working daily to produce diverse and quality portfolios, in the off chance that they might eventually reap the rewards of both recognition and financial stability. But there is a disconnect between these artists and the businesses that could potentially host their work and help to support their creativity, because art takes a significant financial commitment, and businesses have to be smart about their investments. In the last 4 years, it has become even more challenging to convince businesses to put their money back into the community, but it is more important than ever.
Young entrepreneurs fill me with great hope. Corporate Art Co’s office islocated in the Mastercraft Building in North Downtown Omaha, a mixed use office building brimming with fresh start-ups and creative companies. I consistently see the creative culture working with the accountants to figure out how to invest in real art while maintaining a balanced budget sheet. It’s about priorities, because these young business people know that when they support their community, their community will return that support. We all have to be accountable to help our local businesses thrive.
At Corporate Art Co, we spend a lot of time figuring out budgets for businesses; the most you could spend, the minimum to spend without sacrificing impact and quality. Here are a few tips on how we reach those numbers.
Put your money where people are.
Visualize how people will interact in your space, and focus in on the areas with the most use. Do you have a lobby? A hallway that everyone walks through to get to your office? A frequently used conference room? These are the areas to place original art. Restrooms, employee-only hallways, and break rooms are spaces that can be filled with less expensive art.
As much as I detest math, formulas are the easiest way to determine how much money you could spend by purchasing all original art. The Corporate Art Co consultants review the floor plan, figure the square footage based on the areas of use, then average in the cost for original art times the square footage.
Avoid stage fright.
There’s no need to purchase everything at once. If you know that you want an art collection, budget for a new acquisition every six months, a year, or as frequently as you see fit. If you are unsure of how to proceed with all the possibilities, consider using Corporate Art Co’s art consultants to steer you in the best direction and give you the facts.
Know what you don’t know.
Ask for help when you lack expertise. In the long run, you’re going to save time, money, and energy if you consult with a specialist. You wouldn’t sit down and sew your own outfit for a special occasion if you had never sewn before, so why would you attempt to fill an office full of art if you lack experience in design or art?