Corporate Art and Art Consultation. Is it Worth it?

Restaurant art

Most healthcare providers, financial institutions, and large corporations of any kind hire an art consultant when it comes time to purchase large quantities of art for a new building, or office, or to replace what they already have. For established businesses that already have wall art, their current art may be outdated, they may be changing their look and image, or they may like to support local artists by changing their inventory on a regular basis. There are some hard-core and very valid reasons to go with an art consultant in both situations. 

Lack of Art Knowledge:

Most business people are not fluent in art whatsoever. They have no knowledge of art style, the different genres of art, or art purchasing, and thus do not know where to begin to look for corporate art. Enter the art consultant, who knows art like the back of their hand: where to find it, how to judge it, what style best suits a particular business and style of building, what message it will send, and where to find local artists and national big-name contacts.

Lack of Time:

Business owners, all business owners, are far too busy running a business to find the time to do the required research for the art that would best suit their building, their business, and their clients. Art Consultants do all the legwork involved in researching the art and artists to best suit your taste, budget, and viewing space capacity. This can be very time-intensive since there are so many artists and so much art to choose from. Wading through it all to find the pieces that best fit your business can literally take months, especially if you don’t know what you want in the first place. 

Investment Potential:

Large businesses will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on art as part of their interior design, and thus, require a professional to make sure their money is well spent and their art appropriate to the image they want to convey. Art is an investment to some people, not just a pretty picture to hang on the wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, it just depends on your goals for your art investment. If you just want a couple of nice photos to liven up your office space, then you probably won’t require a consultant, you will just choose what you like – more than likely something that is a reflection of you and your personal taste. However, if you have no idea what that is, an art consultant can also help you find out what you like and don’t like, what is available, your options, your budget, and what’s new and upcoming. That is their job. Therefore, if you are a person who does not have a great deal of free time on your hands, an art consultant could still save you some time and money. Most clients have no idea what they like or don’t like or specifically what will send the message they want to until they consult with an art expert. And they certainly have no clue what is currently out there and where to find it.

What an Art Consultant Does:

Cost, time, and lack of art knowledge are the three biggest reasons businesses hire an art consultant. An Art Consultant usually takes a percentage of the total sale as their consulting fee and finder’s fee.  Art Consultants spend years building up their artist inventory and contacts, staying current on art trends, and doing their art research. One of the great things about working with an art consultant is you know you will be dealing with a real person as an artist and not just an assembly line reproduction of cheap art by the thousands that you can buy on Amazon. Supporting local artists, small dealers and galleries is what art consultants specialize in. So if you would rather support local business than an assembly line in China, an art consultant has developed, nurtured, and vetted the best sources of real artists and locals in your area – and a good art consultant – the entire United States or the world. They will have contacts in New York and L.A. that you don’t even know about. They may even be able to find art for your walls that is specific to your industry and adds to the professionalism of your service. Take a real estate office for example. Having photos of high-end corporate buildings and construction sites will give the impression to real estate clients that you handle high-end, impressive, and important clients or that you travel in impressive circles, even if you don’t. Remember, it is the impression they will get when they walk through the door that will continue to hold a great deal of weight while you are handling their needs. Visual impressions are very powerful. More powerful than words. 

Now think about all the veterinary offices you have ever been in. Some have art of animals on their walls, which the average layperson thinks is because that is what they do and it’s so cute to look at. However, the impression that art is portraying is of an office that is an animal lover, a place where the people value animals and surround their lives with them. Therefore, an office that cares a great deal about animals because they adorn their entire atmosphere with them. Now think about the veterinary offices you have been in that have absolutely no art on the walls. They feel cold, calculated, less humane, and like your pet is just part of their assembly line of care. It is an art consultant’s job to know how a piece of art will be interpreted, both objectively and subjectively. 

Before corporate art installation in a restaurant
Bland, sterile restaurant atmosphere before art installation.
After photo of restaurant with corporate art
Notice the difference just a few strategic pieces of art makes. Art doesn’t have to cover every wall, but in a drab restaurant like this one, the sterile look and feel of the surroundings actually accentuates the few pieces of art which livens up the space and gives it a completely different feel. It’s a lot less boring as well.

The Value of an Art Consultant

Art Consultants live, eat and breathe art, and in doing so, they know if a piece of art is worth spending money on or not. They compare art and artists all day long, they know a good piece of art when they see it, and a piece of trash when they see it. They network with the entire art world and they know if a piece of art will increase in value or become valuable at all, or if you should just throw it in the trash when you get tired of looking at it. Some artists sell their work through venues that hang their pieces on their business walls. Artists do not have a lot of patrons or avenues to sell their work through anymore, so every little bit of exposure helps. Some venues will take a commission for this service, and when they sell a piece of art on their walls, it gets replaced right away, thus they can keep their art collection and walls looking fresh at all times. Not to mention, that artist is going to send all of his friends and acquaintances there to buy art. A great many restaurants do this and are like mini art galleries to local artists. This concept in itself speaks to the willingness of that restaurant to not just take the community’s money for their services, but also to support the community by helping out starving artists. Again….impressions can run much deeper, and be much more subtle than the average business person realizes.

Most people do not know art consultants exist unless they work for the marketing department of a large business. They certainly don’t realize the value of an art consultant. Just like you would hire an interior designer if you want your home or office to reflect your taste, judgment, design, and living space, or a marketing company to give your business exposure, you should hire an art consultant for the same valuable reasons.  In fact, your interior designer will hire an art consultant to handle that aspect of your interior design project because they know it’s a full-time job all its own. Even interior designers are not well versed in the arts enough to handle a large or specific art purchase, so they leave it to the professionals.

Now, Let’s Talk About Corporate Art for a Second:

Art is like any other part of office interior design or marketing collateral. The furniture, fixtures and floor covering in your building all speak to the atmosphere, style, mood, and environment your business is trying to set for walk-in clients as well as your employees. I once did some work for a large Biotech company that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their employee offices and space for them to relax and collaborate in because they depend entirely on how productive their employees are for their livelihood. You may think art is a tad bit superfluous but think about a healthcare provider who has clients waiting for hours in their building to see a physician. They want to keep those clients as calm, relaxed and entertained as they can while they wait for so long. Those needs are not going to be met by the carpeting or the furniture. An attorney’s office will want to set a mood in their building that will create an amiable, cooperative feel for their clients. A restaurant will choose art that also gives their waiting customers something to entertain them while they wait for their food, but also to set a comfortable, homey mood and an atmosphere most conducive to their menu.

You’ve heard the sayings, “Art speaks volumes” or “A picture is worth a thousand words”? All true. And those concepts are taken to the fullest extent in the business world. Corporate art is just like any other type of marketing collateral, branding, or advertising for your company. Go wrong with it and you will regret it. You may not know it at the time if you are not aware enough of the image you are portraying to your clientele. Another reason why an art consultant will benefit your business more than you may currently realize.

To view Circkle’s Corporate Art, click here to go to our storefront.