Art@Work: Why Art in the Worplace is a Must in the Creative Economy
Exceptional companies spend millions on installing art in their offices. Here’s the secret why…
Art makes people feel productive, creative and fulfilled: thanks to magnetic resonance and CT scan research, we know that art can and will lift the mood and boost the morale of people sitting near it. Art affects the dopamine centres in a positive way, much the same as hearing a favourite song or unexpectedly running into an old friend.
1. Art in a public place has the capacity to attract, educate, enlighten and inspire visitors, especially clients (both prospective and returning).
2. Art installed throughout healthcare facilities makes everyone feel better! Art in hospitals, clinics, examining rooms and offices is widely recognised as a valuable asset to healing and a testament to the quality of care being provided.
3. Art pays for itself! Art is the only investment that gives you a little bit of return every time that you look at it. If that isn’t reason enough, you’ll probably find at the end of the fiscal year that your purchase of Canadian Art was fully tax deductible. Fine Art is an equitable investment in people - yours.
4. Thoughtfully placed art can do a lot to help enhance your brand. It tells visitors to your office something about you as soon as they enter; they leave knowing something synergistic happens at your company. Art in your office is indoor signage communicating your style, aesthetic, regional interests and national identity.
5. Art Screams at you. It sends a message without you having to say a word. Your art collection tells the public that you care deeply about your corporate culture. Not only that, it’s a hard copy receipt for your dedication to the arts.
6. Fine Art makes the working environment more pleasant. When Art is placed in public areas, people tend to gather, communicate, and share ideas. It gets people interested, curious and thinking creatively.
7. It improves productivity. Art is a gift to the people around you. The installation of new art invokes pride and inspires dialogue between people who normally don’t have an opportunity to communicate.
8. Fine Art has a profound effect on Public Relations; it reinforces investor and client confidence by conveying your pride in your organization.
9. It promotes cohesion. Companies with Art Committees work better together. Earmark 1% of your budget this year and watch your people collaborate as never before!
Sound Advice for Starting or Building your Workplace Art Collection
1. You absolutely do not need a vast disposable income to begin or continue collecting art. If you don't believe me, try googling my heroes Herb and Dorothy Vogel!
"Approximately 85 per cent of art sold in Canada at auction sells for less than $5,000," So says Raphaela Dunlap, the Canadian arts specialist with Joyner Waddington's Fine Art Auction House in Toronto. If you dedicate yourself to collecting art from emerging talent, you could get away with spending half that amount on each acquisition.
2. Do your research. Join the collector's circle of your local museum. Ask questions. Get the help of a good consultant-advisor. Ask a friend whose collection or aesthetic you admire for guidance or to accompany you on gallery hops. Visit galleries and museums, take notes and ask to be added to their mailing lists. Visit auction websites and sign up for their newsletters.
3. Have a mission. It helps at the planning stages to formulate and out down in words some sort of goal or mission statement. Don't worry, it will evolve and rewrite itself with the passage of time. Whether you want to concentrate on art of a particular region, a medium, photography, abstracts, or simply find a piece to enhance and improve each room I your home or office, try to ask yourself each time you consider buying something whether and how the potential buy will contribute to the collection as a whole. You don't necessarily have to have a steadfast policy on what and not to buy, but it will help in the long term cohesiveness of your collecting to decide what you want to concentrate on.
4. Visit the graduation shows of graduation exhibitions of local colleges and universities. Go to the openings of local collectives. You don't necessarily need to buy something at every visit, but do keep notes of artists whose work you admire.
5. Buy a piece annually. Most of us spend upwards of $3,000 every year on vacations, so you might put yours off this year in order to buy a piece to kickstart your collecting in the right direction. Consider taking along a second pair of eyes, either to advise you, hold your wallet if you are a spendthrift or play devil's advocate. There doesn't necessarily need to be anything impulsive about your early purchases.
6. Go against the grain. Photography is still an affordable option if you want to collect and stay within your budget. You can find some incredible bargains at Toronto's CONTACT, touted as the largest photography festival in the world.
7. Never, ever, under any circumstances buy what a dealer, gallerist or website tells you is a good investment opportunity. Just look at how many would-be collectors and so-called art investors lost in buying fake and forged works by Picasso, Miro, Dali, Chagall, Erte, Rockwell and others. There really should be only one guideline when it comes to what you buy. If upon seeing something for the first time your heart skips a beat or you think you can't live without seeing it every day, it's a good chance that you are making the right decision. Buy it because you think it will make you happy every time you walk past it and thus enhance your life; not because you think that it will appreciate.
8. Never attempt to negotiate unless you know what you are doing and really want to make a purchase on the spot. You also never want to circumvent a dealer, gallery or consultant as nothing will get you blacklisted faster.
9. Subscribe to a good contemporary art magazine; consult your public or reference library for books on areas that you engage with.
10. Consider collecting against the grain. What this means is that you will get more art for your dollar if you buy what is not currently in vogue, whether it be folk art, quilts or textile art, decorative pieces that aren't fashionable right now, outside art or the work of self taught artists.
11. Don't forget about sculpture, ceramics, pottery and glass art. They play a huge role in enhancing the interior world, especially art glass.
12. Unless you know precisely what you're buying (or have hired someone who does) think twice before buying antiquities, especially Egyptian, Greek and Roman pieces as you may not be the legal owner of the piece, regardless of how much you paid!
13. Enjoy yourself and carry cash!
Below are some contemporary artists who are still relatively affordable, collectible and highly desirable:
Jon Barlow Hudson
Joanie Gagnon san Chirico
Ye Rin Mok
Finally, some useful websites:
Learn more about the author, Antonio Arch.
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