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This article lists 6 reasons to incorporate art into your real estate development. But they all come down to this: Art differentiates your property. In today’s commercial real estate market, tenants and customers want an experience they can’t get anywhere else. Art is the way to consistently deliver that experience. Whether you want to stand out with a bold statement piece, increase foot traffic, or brand your development as a wellness-forward property, there’s an art strategy to do it. So, if you’re a developer or other related professional, read on for six reasons you should incorporate art into your next commercial real estate project.

6 Reasons to Put Art in Commercial Real Estate

Image: “Artwork within our buildings represents the final punctuation mark of quality and helps establish the soul and character of our spaces,” says Nick Summerville, managing partner for Kaizen Development, developers of The Link at Uptown, a 25-story, class AA office tower in the heart of uptown Dallas, Texas.

In today’s post-COVID world, people need to be enticed out of their homes. Creating the right environment is key. Whether you’re going for luxury, a hospitality feel, creativity, or anything else, art is the visual cue that sets the stage. The right statement piece provides color, texture, dimension, and character to differentiate your property. In all sectors, landlords who value tenants as customers will have an easier time leasing up their properties by adding a heightened level of visual thoughtfulness to client-facing space. Successful office building and multifamily developers are taking some cues from hospitality, an industry that understands the power of art to sell their brand. European luxury hotel management company Kempinski Hotels often collaborates with artists to facilitate engagements for their guests. “Hotel culture is inexplicably linked to the brand,” Aimée DuBrule, director of corporate communications at Kempinski Hotels said in an interview with CoStar. “It is about the guest experience … offering something memorable in every little detail of the hotel.”

2. Art Generates Publicity

6 Reasons to Incorporate Art into Your Real Estate Development

Image: With 3 million Instagram followers, British artist Mr. Doodle knows how to draw a crowd. He chose to install a public mural at this office building in downtown Austin to promote the premiere of his new documentary at SXSW.

The right piece of art can draw attention from the press and on social media, attracting photo-hungry visitors and creating a self-sustaining publicity loop. When top-selling British artist Mr. Doodle wanted to generate publicity for the 2024 premiere of his new documentary at SXSW, we coordinated his biggest US mural installation to date. We found a wall space just around the corner from the State Theater where the movie premiere took place. Within hours, Mr. Doodle’s Instagram posts about the mural installation had over 20,000 likes with followers vowing to come see the work in person.

“We are thrilled Mr. Doodle chose downtown Austin to create an iconic mural that will add to the vibrancy and vitality of our city center,” De Peart, president and CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. “Mr. Doodle’s international recognition as a muralist will not only draw locals and tourists alike to experience art—and all our downtown has to offer—but it will also raise Austin’s reputation as a creative destination and cultural hub that prioritizes free, public art.”


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A post shared by Mr Doodle (@mrdoodle)

3. Art Generates Foot Traffic

Image: We helped Curative install this mural at their offices in downtown Austin.

If you need more concrete proof that people flock to places with eye-catching art, consider a recent study conducted by the University of Cincinnati. Researchers found that the average weekend foot traffic in areas of Cincinnati with murals is 30% higher than areas without murals. And when the murals were located in a district with restaurants, cafes, or bars,  foot traffic was even higher, at five times the city average.


Foot Traffic
in areas with murals.

Source: Jeong, H.,University of Cincinnati, Office of Research Cultural Placemaking & Street Art: The Role of Street Art in Pedestrian Activity, Local Economy, and Crime Prevention in Cincinnati

6 reasons to incorporate art into your real estate development.

Image: An abstract mural on our client’s mixed-use development in downtown Austin makes the building pop. A study by the University of Cincinnati found that murals surrounded by mixed-use properties help deter violent crime.

The same University of Cincinnati study also found that violent crime decreased 28% in the areas of Cincinnati where murals are surrounded by mixed-use properties. This was during the same time period that crime increased in most areas of Cincinnati. Some researchers theorize criminals are deterred from operating in areas with public art because they believe a community so invested in their environment will challenge them. Another theory is that public art provides a sense of exposure, or a feeling that people are watching. Whatever the reason, the data gives strong support for incorporating art into your real estate project.

5. Art Unites the Community Behind Your Vision

Image: At this mixed-use building in downtown Austin, art inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding greenbelt and local music history appeals to long-time Austinites while giving newcomers a sense of place.

Our clients Greystar and Ivanhoé Cambridge utilized art to appeal to long-time Austinites while giving newcomers a sense of place at their development, 1121 at Symphony Square, located in the Red River music district of downtown Austin, Texas. Original murals and mosaics adorn lobbies and exteriors, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of nearby Waller Creek Greenbelt trail and the neighborhood’s musical history. From afar, an abstract mural on the building’s exterior makes the building pop while, up close, a story unfolds with details that come to life. Mosaics are comprised of handmade, custom tiles with so many Waller Creek, Red River District, and local history “Easter eggs” to find. The colors and textures enliven the diverse landscaping and perfectly marry the built environments of rich azure blue and copper-colored paneling, wood accents, and cream-colored local Austin limestone.

Image: Art in the lobby of Christus headquarters in Irving, Texas greets visitors with a feeling of spiritual connection.

Science has proven that art inspires, energizes, and transforms our mood and wellbeing. A fact hospitals already know. Our clients at Christus use art in the lobby of their headquarters in Irving, Texas to inspire visitors with a feeling of spiritual connection. “Celestial Beams of Unity” is a modern interpretation of Christ as the light of the world. It’s composed of monofilament pillars that appear to shift and dance as you move around them. This optical illusion transforms them into metaphorical celestial beams, linking the viewer to the heavens. The three colors represent the three founding congregations of Christus healthcare, joining together in devotion. But art as medicine isn’t just a spiritual notion. The International WELL Building Institute recognizes art as an effective strategy for supporting human health and wellness through the built environment. Developers seeking WELL certification for their projects can earn a point through thoughtful incorporation of art. Which can help a development stand out from competition.


In today’s commercial real estate market, tenants and customers want an experience they can’t get anywhere else. Art is the way to consistently deliver that experience. Whether your goal is to attract publicity, increase foot traffic, or brand your development as a wellness-forward property, art can help you do it. With a comprehensive database of thousands of vetted artists, Art + Artisans can help you find the right art for your space, timeline, budget, and specified surfaces. Contact us to put our skills to work for your next commercial project.

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